The second installment of wines in this series comes from Pikes Vintners of South Australia.
I was initially amused by the names of these wines, as the pike resembles our local alligator gar, a prehistoric monster that can grow to 10 feet/300 lbs. and take off your hand. OK, so maybe all the stories about injured fishermen are myths, but most folks I know will cut the line rather than take a chance with one of those beasts. The second fish related amusement comes from the mullet wines. Obviously this is a common fish around the world, but around here it's a popular rural hairstyle. As the saying goes: business in the front, party in the back.
Neither of those associations are meant to criticize the winery or the wines; I find branding and design fascinating, as well as the various paths that the English language has followed once it escaped the shores of Dear Old Blighty. Australia gets a lot of teasing for its colloquialisms, but can you believe that we in the American South get the same treatment? Fair dinkum, y'all.
2009 Pikes Traditionale Dry Riesling, 12% abv. This Riesling is really amazing. It doesn't smell or taste like your stereotypical Riesling--it's more like a Sauvignon Blanc. Perfectly dry and crisp, with apricot aromas and a main flavor of green apples. Great crisp acidity. This was my favorite out of the Pikes lineup, and a really enjoyable surprise. I'd love to try it again with grilled fish and mango salsa.
2008 Pikes The White Mullet, 12% abv. 60% Riesling, 16% Viognier, 16% Sauvignon Blanc, 8% Chenin Blanc. A full fruit, full-bodied white blend. Pears, a touch of floral notes, and low acidity. I think there's a little too much going on with this blend, too many different grapes competing for attention. It could do well with a cheese platter, because you've got a lot of different elements working with all the different grapes involved.
2007 Pikes The Red Mullet, 14.5% abv. 68% Shiraz, 13% Tempranillo, 11% Grenache, 8% Mourvèdre. Raspberries, black tea, black pepper, firm tannins. Better balanced than the white version, and enough interesting stuff going on to keep you thinking. This would be a great pizza and burger wine.
2006 Pikes Shiraz, 14.5% abv. Nice and dry, with red berry aromas, red cherry flavors, firm tannins. A solid, standard Australian Shiraz. While on its own it's a bit strong, I feel that paired with grilled meat this would be a real winner. Even better, a nice Greek kebab would be delightful.
In accordance with the new regulations imposed by the Federal Trade Commission, I publicly disclose that these wines were received as samples from The Country Vintner. No additional gifts or compensation were provided.