Hubby and I were in New York City this week staying in the Rockefeller Center area. Our hotel was just across the street at The Jewel, which I recommend for location, location and location – making it a snap to have dinner at Del Frisco’s Grille – twice. I tried a two wines on two occasions – like them both, but a real stand-out for me was Oliverhill Red Silk Shiraz 2010. From McLaren Vale in Southern Australia, this dark-ruby-in-the-glass was a treat along with sliced strip steak with tomato salsa and balsamic reduction. This is the year for strip steak for me – probably haven’t had more than two or three in my entire life until this year. I think I’m up to four since New Year’s Day.
The strip steak comes with herbed and parmesan-crusted pomme frites, which I’m not generally drawn to, but these were crispy and delicious. The steak was pretty much fork tender. Del Frisco’s is a popular happy hour spot that lingers into dinner. I saw a lot of flatbread served.
The Red Silk is long on everything I love to find in this price range of under $20 (I see it on the InterTubes from about $14-18). Juicy plum and abundant black fruits are apparent in the nose. Ripe black cherry, blackberries and a blush of black pepper are apparent with anise and lots of richness in the finish with soft, palate-caressing tannins, good to the very last luscious sip. A few days later I had the opportunity to taste the 2011 vintage and found it equally attractive.
A point of interest about Shiraz:
…a related cluster of varieties that frequently cause confusion because of their similar sounding names: Syrah, Shiraz, and Petite Sirah.
The first point of clarification is that Syrah and Shiraz are the same grape. In Europe the grape has always been called Syrah, but for some reason the Australians decided to call it Shiraz, after the city in Iran where the grape is supposed to have originated. To confuse things a bit further, there are Australian wine makers who call their products Syrah, and some American versions of Shiraz.
There also is debate on the proper pronunciation of Shiraz. The Australians tend to say “sher-AS,” but most other people soften the second syllable into “sher-AHZ.” It’s sort of like the I say to-MA-toe, you say to-MAH-toe debate, or FLUT-ist vs FLAUT-ist. It really doesn’t make any difference how you pronounce it, but when Americans use the “sher-AS” form it sounds kind of snobbish to me…
According to the international wine expert, Oz Clark, Australia produces three distinctly different types of Shiraz. The Hunter Valley in the Southeast region of New South Wales produces earthy, tarry, and velvety wines with aromas of barnyard and “sweaty saddle.” (Yee-Haw! Sounds like a real man’s wine. Give me a big glass of that!) Some of these wines will mature and smooth out into more socially acceptable treats over a period of up to 20 years.
In the cooler regions of South Australia and Victoria the wines tend to be a little lighter with spicy, peppery qualities, and which are drinkable at a much younger age. Wines from the Barossa, Clare, and Eden Valleys around Adelaide tend to be deep, rich and fruity as illustrated by the ultimate Australian wine called Grange ($175 – $200 a bottle)…Source: The Wine Lovers Page – read more about Shiraz
For the record, I say she-razz.
Another word about The Jewel Hotel. The rooms are tiny compared to what I’m used to, but it’s NYC we’re talking about here. Upscale modern, very efficient, sparkling clean and friendly staff. If you book their car to LaGuardia expect to pay more than quoted as tolls, taxes and tip are not included. The hotel has a Spanish Tapas restaurant with a Flamingo Dancer(s) on Friday nights. We didn’t have a chance to dine there but noticed a lot of traffic in and out. I wouldn’t hesitate to book The Jewel again.
It’s my lucky day. Parkhill’s Liquors and Wine Warehouse here in Tulsa has the 2010 in stock and I have a few bottles waiting for me. See my review of an East Village restaurant on this trip and a wonderful Verdicchio here.
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