punk |pəNGk|noun1 informal a worthless person (often used as a general term of abuse).• a criminal or hoodlum.2 (also punk rock )a loud, fast-moving, and aggressive form of rock music, popular in the late 1970s and early 1980s.• (also punk rocker )an admirer or player of such music, typically characterized by colored spiked hair and clothing decorated with safety pins or zippers.
Presented with a range of wines from an Australian producer called "Some Young Punks", I hoped these wines would embrace the hoodlum within and beat you up a bit, being massive, dark overly extracted thugs or offering wines made from interesting grape varieties to a quality level that eclipses their price. I expected them to be a two fingered salute to traditional wine drinking and the vinous equivalent of The Sex Pistols. Sadly, it was not to be...
A pair of wines called Battle Island came first. Made by Some Young Punks (SYP) under the label 'Furious Knives of Wine', these were appalling. The 2010 Battle Island White - a promising and different blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon and Riesling, had watery lemon aromas, a little grapefruit coming through and initially you thought "well this is just a simple, cheap, Aussie white". When you put it in your mouth there was so much acid it pulled the inner layers of your mouth off. 71pts
The 2010 Battle Island Red was a predictable Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon - the same blend every single Australian producer makes for their entry level wine. Confected cherry pie filling, with some chocolatey elements coming off the nose, with a dark, sweet, tannic and acidic palate. A complete disjointed mess of a wine. 68pts
So a bad start there, but I had hopes for the curiously named wines from SYP. First up was the 2011 SYP Monsters Attack Riesling. From Clare Valley, costing around £15, it had a light, lemon and grapefruit nose with a little zing of lime coming through. Sweetness up front on the palate, with some honey flavour emerging, and a bright, spritzy element. It is a perfectly drinkable wine but nothing special and there certainly wasn't any pink spiky hair in sight. 80pts
Next was the 2010 SYP The Rude Mechanicals Viognier Pinot Gris. I thought it good that they are blending these grapes, as it will expose their target market (younger drinkers) to different grape varieties, and the wine was not bad. Peachy aromas with some lemon grass and a little grapefruit. Unfortunately the palate had some more of the excessive acid, but the flavour of lemon grass, lime skin and nectarine was nice, and at around £12 it is fine - but nothing grabbed my attention. 82pts
The last white I tried was the 2010 SYP Taken Brave Chardonnay. It had big, toasty aromas, some ginger and peach, with a palate totally lacking in any fuller bodied fruit to match the oak. Some citrus flavours kick in on the finish, but again the acidity is just totally out of balance with the wine. Also, with prices north of £20, this is far too much for a mediocre wine. 80pts
My introduction to their reds was the 2010 SYP The Rude Mechanicals Shiraz Petit Verdot, and like it's white counterpart, I hoped that having the Petit Verdot would open up the grape to new wine drinkers. The wine was not up to the standard of the white however, so I'd beat a hasty retreat from buying it. Sweet cherry and bramble come off the nose, with some parma violets, and I quite liked the aroma. The palate started off a bit dull, fruity and simple but boring, and then it deteriorates in your mouth. Bitter, dark and vastly unpleasant. 73pts
It got better with the 2010 SYP Double Love Trouble Tempranillo Shiraz, which offered soft, floral aromas and baked cranberries. A savoury palate with a medium body, some dusty spice coming through and a nudge towards the old world. At £13 it isn't bad, but there is a lot better out there for less. 83pts. The 2010 SYP Passion Has Red Lips Cabernet Shiraz from McLaren Vale was a tiny bit more interesting. Rich, jammy with cassis, bramble and some warm honey, this led onto a dark, earthy palate with black pepper, tobacco and some leather. Tannin kicked in on the back end as did some aniseed. I'd go with this over the Double Love Trouble, for the simple reason it has some guts to it, but no more so than any other Cabernet Shiraz from Australia. It simply doesn't make you want to buy another bottle. 84pts
The 2009 SYP Lust Collides Mataro smelled like pig poop with a bunch of flowers shoved in it. Big, dark, confected with sweetness all the way through and a cheap salted caramel flavour on the finish. Very poor and expensive (£22). 75pts. And it got worse, with the 2009 SYP Fierce Allure Cabernet Sauvignon that had cheap jam flavours with some redcurrant jelly and then a palate of earth, tar and far too much tannin. There was a bitter, overly stewed teabag flavour coming off the finish too. 73pts
This has to be a marketing gimmick, with the cartoony labels and the overly elaborate names for the wines, I think this company is aiming to make beer drinkers into wine drinkers, and going by the overall quality of the product, they are more than likely going to put people off. I wanted big bold flavours, interesting blends, love-em-or-hate-em wines - just something different from the norm. I found, at best, mediocre Australian wines that don't embrace the company's own brand identity and aren't worth the price you pay and at worst terrible wines that you wouldn't drink no matter how fun the label.
The only thing that make these wines punk-like is that they rob you of your money and are full of acid.