Coming into this tasting the group had high hopes for experiencing big, flavorful wines.  But overall, we agreed with Andy R's assessment of them as "disappointing children" -- wines that often showed too much alcohol, and lacked sufficient balance.
First Place:  The Lucky Country Shiraz 2009 (McLaren Vale).  Tasters found complex scents of acetone, peat, mushrooms, forest floor, dodge ball, chocolate, smoke, bacon, burnt sugar, and black olives.  Has lots of fruit, plus cherry cola and spice notes.  Round in texture.  Andy R felt that it was "sophomoric", and "too eager", but also gave it 4 points.  Resa and Andy P's favorite of the tasting.  Received a total of 25 points.  Resa's bottle.  A steal at about $15.

Second Place:  d'Arenberg Shiraz The Stump Jump 2010 (McLaren Vale).  Aromas of beets, minerals, cherries, espresso, meat fat, rose petals, and cinnamon.  Nice evolution in the mouth, with a longer finish, featuring blackberry, sourdough bread, and coffee flavors.  Kristin, Ali, and Andy R's favorite.  22 points.  Ali's bottle.  The best value, at only $12.

Third Place:  Mitolo Shiraz G.A.M. 2005 (McLaren Vale).  Meat, dust, Elmer's glue, mushrooms, wet earth/leaves, nutmeg, and sandwich bag on the nose.  David initially felt that it was "not inviting" but really improves with air, offering flavors of black pepper, then the cherry flavors show up, along with flowers.  Ali was reminded of "something good and brown".  Good velvety texture.  No first place votes, but everyone gave this at least one point, for a total of 16.  David's bottle.  About $45.

Shingleback Shiraz The Davey Estate 2010 (McLaren Vale).  Hints of blue color.  Soap, burnt ember, sweet onion, buttered toast, cinnamon, and rubber scents.  Ali was reminded of "blueberry Bubblicious gum", while Andy R found "fishbowl".  Lot of blueberry flavors, with a caressing texture.  Kristin noted some "children's chewable aspirin".  David's favorite.  Received 14 points.  Andy P's bottle.  About $20.

Two Hands Shiraz Angels' Share 2010 (McLarenVale).  Dark briary fruit on the nose, with some tartness, plus acetone, chocolate milk, coffee, licorice, caramel, and granite.  Front-loaded in flavor, offering green pepper, lemon rind, berry, and ashtray notes.  Ali felt it was reminiscent of "bong water", while David felt that the alcohol on the finish stood out too much.  Received 6 points.  Andy R's bottle.  About $38.

R Wines Marquis Philips Shiraz 2008 (McLaren Vale).  Tasters were reminded of burning rubber, cough syrup, cranberry, acetone, plastic toy, black cherry, motor oil, celery, and creme brulee scents.  Andy P noted "burned jam" on the palate, while Andy R found "flavored chocolates". Port-like in texture and and flavor, with prune and cigarette smoke notes.  Andy R also found "Jolly Rancher green apple".  One point.  Kristin's bottle.  About $18.

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