2005 Winner's Tank Shiraz, Langhorne Creek, Australia... and the Future of Science

I've mentioned before how fantastic the 2005 Aussie Shirazes are, especially from the Barossa valley and McClaren Vale (e.g. The Maverick).  Here's a review of the wine that got me started on them, in the form of an email I send to Michael Nielsen a few  years back, when I first tasted this wine.  The 2006 was also good, but like many of the '06 Australians, less balanced and suave, and a bit thinner and sharper, than the the '05 incarnation.  I've added a few links.   Maybe soon I'll post more on the '05 and '06 Shirazes from Oz.

Hi Michael---

I opened a wine tonight that in several ways reminded me of you.  So I'm suggesting you try a bottle
or six before you depart your native land for the greener (?), but certainly colder (except in the summer when you'll be sweating buckets) pastures of Ontario.  It's "The Winner's Tank" 2005 Aussie Shiraz, Langhorne Creek.  I was dubious about this puppy because its label is a photo of some big square concrete tank in the middle of pasture, behind a barbed-wire fence, with "Hawks '05" inscribed, along with some shtick about how the local tradition is for the winners of the annual Aussie Rules football tournament to gather in the vineyard and paint their names on the tank.



Clearly just a bunch of hooey from some canny Aussie businessmen-winemakers to sucker some of us ever-gullible yanks into spending twelve bucks on a bottle---to be consumed, no doubt, with the shrimp we've got going on our barbie.  But having allowed myself to be suckered into it by a salesman at the Santa Fe Cost Plus---or else at Kokoman, our local Pojoaque-pueblo based purveyor of cheap beer to the masses and expensive Bordeaux to the Santa Fe/Los Alamos crowd--I opened it tonight.  Well, it was excellent.  Probably shouldn't talk it up too much for that promotes disappointment (it's just wine, for crissake) but, what the heck.  One of the better wines I've ever had---starting out kind of velvety, and also fruity  but not with the enjoyable but somewhat tacky blueberries-'n-bubble-gum taste of some of the cheaper-but-still-decent Australian shirazes.  Nope, this also had a hint of darkness, maybe even veering towards an off-taste, rubbery or rotty but opening out with air into a kind of stony complexity you get with the best Rhone Valley syrahs of France (or one I had from the Santa Barbara area).  Of course the 15.5 percent alcohol could be influencing my perceptions too.  (But more often it's hard for the flavors to stand up to that alcohol level.)

Anyway, recalling the tasty bottle of Jacob's Creek Cabernet you once bought me for my birthday, or my dissertation submission or wedding or something, and the fact that you're probably the first person I ever heard about Aussie Rules football from, I thought you might enjoy this recommendation, that is if you indulge in wine on occasion.

Sorry I cheesed out on QIP this year... I can't recall if it's because of some confusion about abstract submission and the international date line, or just not getting my paperwork in at LANL with the ever-lengthing lead time required.  Possibly I was even doing some research at the time I needed to be paying attention to registration or paperwork.  I got into the staying-up-late-at-night-trying-to-prove-stuff mode about extending the no-broadcasting theorem to a general ordered vector spaces context, with Jon Barrett, Matt Leifer, and Alex Wilce (cf. our quant-ph), and kind of let everything else go to hell.  It was great, and I have a few other similarly abstract things in the pipeline as a side benefit.  I'll bet QIP07 was great too, though.

Anyway, if you run into this wine, try a bottle.  You might even stop by your local wine store and see if they have it.  If you don't like it, complain to me and I'll reimburse you.



P.S. By the way, I just saw for the first time your 2004 blog post on effective research and  really enjoyed it.  It encapsulates some things I've been realizing.  (You may see me next writing a book on information-processing in categories of ordered linear spaces, and hoping to reap some dividends in cool theorems along the way.)

I don't think Mike ever tried the wine.  There are a lot of Aussie wines, and not all are available everywhere, especially not in Ontario, where I've learned to my chagrin that there is only one source---the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (well, there are some wineries you can buy from, too, but their stuff is well represnted at LCBO).  I'm now in Ontario myself---at Perimeter institute, in part to work on the book referred to in the e-mail I quoted; Mike is still in Waterloo, but now instead of working at Perimeter on quantum information, he's writing his next book, The Future of Science, on how the internet will transform scientific research.   We invited him to give the after-banquet talk at QIP 2009 in Santa Fe, and I found it inspiring; one of several things that led to me start this blog.  For those of you who don't know, here's Michael Nielsen's first book (coauthored with Ike Chuang).