Reviewed: 26th June 2013
As the weather has turned and the temperature has dropped, the panel took the opportunity to look through a strong shiraz line-up. The cooler weather presents its own problems though, as the temperature of the wine influences the flavour profile, which can change the wines characters quite dramatically.
The wines for this tasting were served at 18.5 degrees. This is an ideal temperature to drink red wine, though when first opened, the fruit aromas can be somewhat subdued. As a number of the wines were from cooler regions, the structure of the wines was highlighted.
Cape Mentelle – Shiraz – 2011 (18.3). This wine is closed and tight, yet incredibly fine and superbly made. The fruit quality is outstanding as is the winemaking. The finish is seamless, silky and very long. This is classic cool climate shiraz, though the degree of refinement is second to none. Dense, ripe, yet closed and restrained, this needs 2 hours in a decanter, or two decades is the cellar!
Howard Park – Shiraz – Leston – 2010 (18). Classic nose that balances ripe, yet restrained fruit with gentle cedary spice from the quality oak. Pepper, clove, star anise and Asian five spice are all expressed, yet the beautifully ripe fruit sits comfortably over the spice. The finish is textured and firm, suggesting that 5 – 10 years in the bottle will allow this to blossom. Another excellent wine from Howard Park.
Shingleback – Shiraz – The Gate – 2010 (18). The sweet fruit in this wine sets it apart from the other wines tasted to date. This has classic McLaren Vale richness with hints of coffee and chocolate. On the palate, these characters follow through, though the finish is actually quite tight. The quality oak has been well matched to the fruit and the textural components are silky and refined. Well balanced, this would take a steak beautifully, but is sure to age for many years. An excellent wine from a great vintage.
Willow Bridge – Shiraz – Black Dog – 2010 (18). Opens with licorice, spice and supple oak. On the palate there is excellent length and depth. The wine is closed down by the very fine tannins, though the balance is excellent. Excellent mouth-feel and texture supports the high quality fruit, and there are hints of mocha to close. A powerful wine that reflects the region very well.
West Cape Howe – Shiraz – Two Steps – 2011 (18). Impressive fruit here. Opens with intense licorice, plum and spice on the nose. Flows on to a palate that is powerful and firm, yet remarkably silky and fine. Though this is quite muscular, the cooler region fruit gives it a more restrained finish. The oak and tannins flatten the finish now, so a few years in the cellar will really pay dividends.
Killerby – Shiraz – 2011 (17.8). Real depth to the fruit on the nose, though the aroma profile is not mainstream (courtesy of the cooler region fruit). The palate is a touch awkward now, though the underlying fruit quality is very good. I like the finish here as the fruit and oak combine well leaving a supple, silky trail through the back palate. Quite bright and full of charm, this opens to show coffee/mocha notes and has a very spicy finish. Will be very good in time.
Shingleback – Shiraz – Red Knot – 2012 (17.5). Much lighter and less intense than many here, though the wine has been made very well. Almost purple tinged, the wine is juicy, succulent and deliciously fruit driven. A great mid-week drink and superb value. (Should be available under $15).