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The World Goblet Round 3: Australia vs. United States

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While scanning the World Cup groups in order to plan our daytime drinking over the next month, Gut Check noticed that most of the great wine-producing nations are represented in the tournament field, including all of those with a reputation for crafting good, value-priced wines. Because Gut Check never saw a value we didn't like, we resolved to stage our own tournament to determine the 2010 World Goblet Champion.

Round three gets under way with a match that may determine our first semifinalist; a win by either nation and it will be in. The U.S. takes the field with a zinfandel that made our price cut by virtue of the fact that the winery was sold (not for the first time) and the new overlords decided that zinfandel no longer fit their business model. So they've dropped the price until it's all gone. Australia counters with a blend of grenache, syrah (known Down Under as shiraz) and mourvèdre that's a perennial top value in the wine mags.

To view all 2010 World Goblet matches to date, click here...

Next: Pull one cork, twist one screwcap.

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Dave Nelson
2007 Simi Zinfandel, Sonoma County ($10)
The color's a clear purple, the aroma very oaky, with a slight caramel edge. The fruit finally emerges, carrying zinfandel's characteristic spicy profile, but it's still mostly obliterated by the oak. Take a sip and it's more of the same, oak fighting fruit to a standoff.

If there were a wine marketed to lumberjacks, this would be it.

2008 d'Arenberg The Stump Jump South Australia ($10)
Dull, slightly hazy burgundy. Ripe raspberries, strawberries and blackberries come to mind when you swirl and sniff, but subtly, not at all cloying. Or oaky. The flavor is clean and fruity, but without any complexity, which is disappointing.

Still, there's something to be said for the absence of offensive characteristics. No shame in having this around the house.

Result: Australia

This qualifies as a minor upset -- not just this match, but Australia winning the group. There's an ocean of wine imported from Down Under, and it's nice to see good efforts at the value end of the spectrum. Tough luck for the Yanks, but there just wasn't enough oomph behind all that American oak.

All that's left for Group C is to see whether Chile or Germany can salvage a scintilla of national pride.

Group C Standings:

Country

W

L

T

Pts

Australia

2

0

1

7

United States

1

1

1

4

Chile

0

1

1

1

Germany

0

1

1

1


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