Spoilt for Choice: Shiraz and Friends
Barry Weinman: 5th August 2021
When it comes to Shiraz, Australia really is the lucky country! As a consumer, not only are we spoilt for choice when it comes to the different expressions of Shiraz, we are also blessed that there is extraordinary value to be had.
It is important to differentiate between value and affordability. If your budget is big enough, then wines like Hill of Grace and Grange represent excellent value when compared to the world stage (compared to Napa Valley Cabernet for example).
But for many of us, value and affordability both matter. A mid-week tipple needs to be affordable, whilst still delivering on quality. And here Shiraz can really shine, particularly from South Australia.
The 2019 Blackstone Paddock from Barossa is a great example. This Aldi exclusive is a steal at $18.
Whilst the Riverland is not as fashionable, Aldi’s 2019 Tudor Shiraz ($15) is a worthy successor to the 2018 that I reviewed recently. Brilliant quality for the price.
Whilst excellent cool-climate Shiraz tends to be more expensive, they do not have to break the bank. Seppelt’s 2018 Chalambar (from Victoria) is a cracker and can be picked up for as little as $20.
For an alternative to Shiraz, the 2019 Carmenere from Nucos is a delight to drink at $13 from Aldi. Carmenere is a lesser known Bordeaux variety that is now at home in Chile.
And dont forget to try the A.C. Byrne from Aldi. This sets the benchmark for own-brand wine bargains and must have the other supermarket chains scratching their heads in disbelief.
Blackstone Paddock – Barossa – Shiraz– 2019. The ripe fruit here is a knock-out. Supple, delicious and intense, with a savoury note and flinty minerality adding mouthfeel and depth. The quality oak adds layers of texture but does not diminish the joy of the fruit. Excellent drinking, but will benefit from cellaring. 95pts – $18 from Aldi.
Seppelt – Chalambar – Shiraz – 2018. Dense and savoury, with dark, plum-like fruit. Yet this is integrated and harmonious, with supple oak adding a silky sheen to the fruit. The mouthfeel is a treat, with near-seamless palate transition with feathery tannins fanning out across the finish. Medium term cellaring an option. 94pts – $30.
Tudor – Shiraz – 2019 . Dense and refined, yet bursting with vibrant red berry fruit over zesty white pepper with the gentle savoury oak adding depth and interest. Lithe, supple and lip-smackingly good. 92pts – $14 from Aldi.
A.C. Byrne & Co – Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot – 2019. Reflecting a cooler year, this is quite restrained, with the red currant fruit building in the glass. The quality of the fruit and winemaking is brilliant at this price. This would even benefit from a few years in the cellar. 91pts – $10.
Nucos – Vuelo – Carmenere– 2019. The fruit here is rich, ripe and dense. The palate is immensely satisfying, with a degree of silkiness to the fruit, decent weight and gravely tannins that add texture and depth. A great mid-week red from this underrated variety. 91pts- $13 from Aldi.
Sandalford – Prendiville Reserve – Shiraz– 2018. Lovely nose that is quite seductive. Ripe, supple, high-quality fruit has been paired with quality oak which adds both depth and savoury notes. The palate is plush, with supple, silky, berry fruit, fine tannins. Great drinking already. 93pts – #120.
V. E. Kraft – The Vineyard Architect – Shiraz/Mataro – 2017. Excellent depth and structure, yet the fruit is polished and refined. Savoury chocolate and coffee notes from the oak add interest, whilst the tannin grip adds depth and texture. Serious enough to be age-worthy, but approachable enough to be a great drink now. 93pts – $35
Taylors – Special Release – Shiraz – 2019. I like this. Bright, vibrant fruit combined with unobtrusive winemaking. There is plum, gentle spice and hints of pepper, with the fruit lingering admirably on the palate. The supple coffee-like oak adds depth and texture. Will be great with a bowl of pasta! 91pts – $15 from Aldi.
Bird in Hand – M.A.C. – Shiraz – 2013. Altogether more serious and interesting. Ripe fruit and bright American oak. This reminds me of high-quality Penfolds. Layers of complexity build on the finish, with tar, coffee, chocolate, and earthy notes. Immensely satisfying. 94pts – $375.