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May 20, 2013 | by  | in Opinion |
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Bacchus Knows Best: Liquid Money

Social lubricant; consciousness-expanding nectar; plonk; what you bring to a BYO at Café Istanbul. These are some of the things most of us think about when talking about wine, but to others, wine means dollar signs and investment commodities. In our part of the world there are only really a handful of wines that pull this off, with the main rockstar being Penfolds Grange, which sells in New Zealand at $750 for its current 2008 vintage.

Why am I telling you, poor students, this? Well, for the future lawyers, doctors and ballers out there, it’s the perfect wine they say—100/100 points. Which is all well and good, except it’s not going to be ready to drink for probably another 20 years, in which time it will probably be about $3000 if not more, so actually not a bad investment. And given that in 20 years it will be just about the time y’all will be makin’ it rain, just remember who sparked your love of all things vino and invite me around for a glass.

But if you’ve already blown your course-related costs on something other than the Penfolds Grange 2008, you’re probably looking a little lower on the shelf when it comes to shopping for wine. With that in mind I thought I would see how a cask of wine would go over the week, two glasses a night while cooking dinner…

Even though it’s the only one I tasted, I could tell straight away that the Yalumba 2012 Shiraz ($19.99 for 2 L) was going to be vastly superior to its contemporaries on the shelves of New World Chaffers. It bears the name of a real and reputable producer, and has an alcohol level about two per cent higher than the rest—not only does this get you where you want to be when you’re drinking cask wine (i.e. drunk), but the extra alcohol also adds structure and body to the wine itself.

Day 1: Okay, so this stuff was surprisingly good; red cherries, vanilla and some soft tannins made it extremely quaffable. At a comparable price of $7.68 for 750 mL it would be worth a look against some of the $8.99 New Zealand cabernet/merlot blends on offer in the bottle.

Day 5: I think by this point it had lost the freshness that the back of the box promised, but up until Day 3 it had been going down really well. I’ve also found myself getting slightly bored of the same tipple every night, but for a flat of three or four, have this with a pizza night and you’re good to go!

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