A friend of mine posted on Facebook about her love of the South Australian d'Arenberg Stump Jump Shiraz a few months back, so I recognized the name when I saw the lable. But, while Shiraz is pretty much my favorite red, I opted for a red blend of 42% Grenache/ 36% Shiraz/ 22% Mourvedre because of the sticker on it that read "Wine Spectator 90 Points Best Value". You might think that this is contrary to what I posted about the purpose of this blog, but while I do maintain that experts don't know everything, I also find it helpful on occasion to attempt to understand WHY some low-cost wines are rated so highly.
Initial Impression: I have to admit that this wine was a bit of a turn-off upon first whiff because the pepper and VERY ripe fruit aromas were so strong. After I let it breathe a bit (I forgot, of course, that this blend is now a few years old - always breathe wines when you have the opportunity because more often than not, they open up), the aroma mellowed and I got a nice earthy/fruity nose.
Verdict: I am SO glad I selected this wine. Also a cheapy, it is a tiny bit spicy and definitely sweeter than a straight Shiraz (likely because of the Grenache). The tannins are fairly smooth and even though the alcohol is 14%, there is little heat on the palate, which adds to the balance of this wine. Some strong flavors I get are dark red fruits (cherry/plum/cassis) and even a little floral note (maybe rose or violet?). There an undercurrent of licorice and pepper which adds to the complexity and the finish is lovely, if not a bit earthy.
Pairing: This is a great red for someone who doesn't love red wine! Lighter than a traditional Shiraz, this would go very nicely with meats and smokier cheeses (I had a bit of aged Wisconsin cheddar with it and it was heavenly!). I would also pair it with pasta and red sauce - the acidity in the wine will balance the acidity in tomato sauce quite nicely.
Wine: d'Arenberg Stump Jump Red Blend, Vintage 2008
Place Purchased: Town & Country Liquors, Easton, MD
For more d'Arengberg wines, check out their vineyard sites at: d'Arenberg vineyard.