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Friday, February 22, 2008

Ballast Stone Cabernet Sauvignon 2004

Ballast StoneA few nights ago a friend opened a bottle of Ballast Stone Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 from Southeastern Australia (McLaren Vale and Currency Creek), and was amazed at the wet end of the cork. And it was quite a sight — inky black, with tartrate crystals clinging to it. When wiped on a white napkin it left a black streak, not a wine-colored one.

I decided this wine needed more investigation, so I took a bottle home and pulled the cork, which looked much like the other one. The wine went into a decanter for about half an hour, while I puttered around making pizza dough in the kitchen. When I finally poured a glass and sampled the wine, I found it every bit as big as I expected, with a rich nose of blackberry and powdered cocoa and a mouthfilling, full-bodied palate dominated by blackberry and cassis. While almost chewy, the wine was quite smooth, and its finish was dry and fairly long. It did just fine with my pizza (garlicky bison, pepperoni, onion and kalamata olives), and would no doubt stand up to any red meat you might want to pair it with. If you like big Aussie Cabs, give this $15 inky monster a try!
J. Silverheels Gray, 11:27 AM


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