Tag Archives: Australia

Drinking Tonight: Benefactor Cabernet

This is the sister bottling to the Chardonnay and Shiraz from this label that I’ve tried earlier this year. Another Trader Joe’s exclusive – I’m drinking this with a spicy meatball pizza, while I also prepare mini chicken pot pies for the freezer. A busy day in the kitchen!

Benefactor Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon (2012) South Eastern Australia – $6

Photo0289Color: dark, velvety purple – almost black towards the center, but not opaque or cloudy.

Aroma: ayep, a little bit of that Aussie eucalyptus and mint, plus tar and chocolate-covered cherries. This will probably be a nice mouthful.

Taste: not big right off the bat, but just wait one second and it fill up your mouth nicely – more of those spice and earth notes, plus some black cherry, dark plum, and blueberry fruit. Just a touch of heat on the very end – it’s over 14% alcohol.

I think of the three, the Chardonnay is still my favorite, but I can recommend this as a nice, fun, big Cabernet to have on hand. It’s a steal at the price.



Drinking Tonight: Benefactor Shiraz

This is an Australian label imported by Trader Joe’s – they also have a Cab and a Chardonnay, all at the $6 price point, that I’ll be reviewing shortly. I’m having this with grilled pork, rubbed with adobo and lime.

Benefactor Shiraz (2012) South Eastern Australia – $6.

Photo0236Color: garnet red, shading to red-black in the center.

Aroma: very Australian – eucalyptus, mint, black pepper, and tar. Some raspberry and rose petal notes too. A big nose.

Taste: Good fruit-spice balance up at the front. Warm and chewy, but a little thin towards the finish. Pepper does come out on the very end, with good length. With air I get additional berry fruit notes. I think this would be better with a less spicy meal.

Decent wine, and an appealing price. This is not a keeper for the cellar, but it’s something to consider for parties. And with the creepy label, it’s a nice choice for a Halloween party!


Drinking Tonight: The Executioner

Since I discovered this wine a few years ago, I’ve been a huge fan. I sold nearly 10% of their US production at the wine shop I used to manage.  This is the 2008 vintage – 55% Shiraz, 43% Cabernet, and 2% Viognier from Victoria, Australia.

The owner, George Shinas, is a judge in Australia, and all his labels are judicial-themed, with great sepia-toned labels. He reserves the best few barrels of his varietal Shiraz and Cabernet for his flagship blend.

Color: This is a dark garnet red with a clear, clean edge.

Aroma: Very Australian – mint, oak, spice, hot fruit underneath. I opened this straight from the cellar (58 Fahrenheit) and the 15% alcohol is noticeable.

Taste: The alcohol does not come through on the palate: big, chewy, jammy fruit with moderate spice – the oaky vanilla notes come through on the finish, along with a return of the mint and eucalyptus.

$30 in Ohio, but totally worth it. For the money, this is one of the best Australian wines you can find. There were only a few hundred cases shipped to the US, so ask your wine shop to contact the importers, Vine Street.