Wine Review: Gentlemen’s Collection (Lindeman’s)
GENTLEMEN’S COLLECTION (LINDEMAN’S) — AUSTRALIA
Here’s a departure for me. A detour. I feel like stepping out of my old-world comfort zone, so let’s head down under, to Australia.
My relationship with Aussie wines is rocky. I don’t like them. However, I haven’t tried many in the last ten years. It’s kinda’ like mushrooms or green peas, for me. I just got it inside my head for some reason that I don’t like mushrooms, green peas, or Aussie wines — so I avoid them. I know, how terribly unfair that is.
My first exposure to Australian wine was about 40 years ago. In college, I worked as a bartender in an Australian-themed bar with booze and bands, called The Outback Pub. The couple who owned it were from Adelaide. One day, they introduced a new wine from Australia. Back then, hardly anybody in the U.S. had ever heard of Aussie wines, let alone Lindeman’s. We started pouring Lindeman’s and even gave away free samples (before anti-drinking laws became stiffer). The Lindeman’s ended up selling pretty well, over time. I wasn’t into wines much back then, but I enjoyed them.
Over time, I developed my own wine tastes, Australia wasn’t even on the map. Anything I tried from Australia was simply too raw and fruity. Think grape juice.
Then, around ten years ago, my eccentric pal Gareth “Gaz” Edwards invited me to a fancy dinner. We were at the Wynn Steakhouse. But Gareth doesn’t mix with the masses. He hired a private VIP dining room, and even had some decanters for his wines. Gaz was determined to school me, and he did exactly that. Like a nun with a ruler slapping my wrists. Gaz ordered a few bottles of Penfolds Grange, which I later found out were about $800 a cork pop. Penfolds is one of the premier Australian wineries, so this was a rare treat. I don’t recall many details in my wine notes, but let’s just say the Penfolds didn’t taste at all like mushrooms and green peas. I could definitely get into Aussie Penfolds, especially poured out of that crystal decanter. It was like being in being in an episode of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.
I like to tell these stories because wine isn’t just about drinking, it’s about the experiences. The people. The memories. So, where was I going with this? Oh yeah. I’ve got some street cred with Aussie wines, but they’re still not my thing.
Some time ago, Marieta and I went to one of our wine dinners here in Las Vegas. They usually give away a few bottles and we were pleasantly surprised to win something called GENTLEMEN’S COLLECTION, a Cabernet Sauvignon from Australia (Retail Price — $16). Surprise — it’s also made by the Lindeman’s vineyard, which brings back those fond memories from all those years ago.
As far as a “review,” I’m sipping it now. Hmm, let me take a few more sips. I may need another glass. Yep, it’s everything I remember about the typical characteristics of many Australian wines. Yeah, it’s a fruit bomb.
This isn’t my top choice for red wine, nor anywhere close to it. Maybe if Gaz shipped me a Penfolds, I might join the “Aussie Wine Religion.” But for now, I’m still a non-believer.