As seems to be happening a lot lately, I was a bit behind on my blogging and blog-related activities this week. What makes this particularly sad is that I was almost left without a wine to drink for my own brainchild, Wine Blogging Wednesday. Viv at Seattle Bon Vivant his this month’s host…choosing Aussie Shiraz as the theme.

Luckily…I had purchased a bottle of Little Penguin Shiraz a couple of weeks ago. It received 85 points and was featured as a “Best Buy” in August’s Wine Spectator. WS had it listed as $7 I think…but I got it for $4.99 at Costoc.

I actually bought it because we’re heading to Philly next weekend and we’re doing a Syrah/Shiraz tasting with our friends Paul and Sarah. Each couple is buying a bargain wine and a 20+ dollar wine…for a blind tasting.

Anyway…I’ll have to replace my bargain bottle…because this was it!

The Little Penguin website describes this red as:

Hold this hefty red to the light and marvel at the dense, bright magenta hues. Savor the splashes of chocolate, spice and juicy strawberries on the nose. The flavor has equally impressive dark sweet fruit, closing with an impressive length. This Australian Shiraz wine holds its own with hard cheeses and anything on the barbie, from red meats to blackened fish.

And…my own thoughts:

I wouldn’t use words like “dense” to describe the appearance, but it definitely has a bright magenta hue. I actually expected it would be a bit darker given some of the other Aussie value Shirazes I’ve had before this one.

The nose on this little penguin was pleasant but not all that strong, complex or impressive. I picked up on the berry fruit and just the slightest hints of spice…but I didn’t get any chocolate at all. At this price point, you really can’t expect a great nose…at least in my experience.

Quite fruity and light, this is a gulpable vino to be sure. Blueberries and blackberry are what I get…but, regardless of their marketing, the finish doesn’t offer “impressive length.” With a bit more linger, this wine would have been much better.

I actually slurped this wine on it’s own and while I was cooking for Nena’s surprise dinner party last night. But I’d definitely serve this with grilled burgers and wings…or serve it as a “house red” at a large party that isn’t filled with wine lovers. I would definitely not bother pairing this wine with cheese though…not if you’re serious about either.

Yellow Tail has the kangaroo…and this wine has the penguin. It’s label is fun and approachable…much like I found the wine to be. I think it’s a slight step up from Yellow Tail…but not the best value Shiraz I’ve had. That would be the Columbia Crest Two Vines Shiraz, which offered much stronger fruit on the nose and a much longer finish.

Would I buy it again?
Yeah…I would….but not if I’m looking for a serious, interesting wine to enjoy with fellow wine lovers.