New Release Shiraz & Grenache: Feb 2022

New Release Shiraz & Grenache: Feb 2022

Barry Weinman: 18th February 2022

There were a number of highlights for this tasting starting with the soon to be released 2020 Farvie’s from Swinney. These wines are truly stunning.

The panel was also stunned by the quality of the two wines from Domaine Belle. If the rest of the range is on a par with these, then this will be one of the finds of the year (contact Lamont’s Cottesloe for pricing).

There are a couple of firsts for Vasse Felix with their 2020 Shiraz release.
– The release of a Filius Shiraz
– Relabelling the premium Shiraz as Syrah

The latter was done in an effort to reflect the changing style to a cooler, more savoury style. This is in part due to the fact that the majority (93%) of the fruit for this wine comes from the southern part of the region. Previously, the bulk of the fruit came from Wilyabrup.

Both wines are excellent!


Domaine Belle – Hermitage – 2017. Really deep smelling, the fruit is ripe, succulent, fleshy and morish. This is a smashing wine that offers life and personality. Ripe plum, liquorice, cherry, spice and even a waft of fruitcake. This has enough depth to satisfy the most serious wine collector yet is so drinkable now. 97pts – $TBC from Lamont’s Cottesloe.

Domaine Belle – Crozes-Hermitage – Cuvée Louis Belle – 2018. Wow. This is so modern and quite special. Ripe, textured fruit that is dense and powerful, yet it comes across quite restrained at present. There are liquorice and spice notes, but the star here is the fruit. Structured and very age-worthy, but a glass tonight with roast pork belly would be divine. 95pts – $80

Swinney – Farvie – Grenache – 2020. My notes were just a string of superlatives: Spice, pepper, texture, density, chewy, long and powerful. Near seamless, with graphite-like tannins adding texture. How so much depth and power can be packed into a wine this fine and elegant is beyond me. The best Grenache that I have ever tasted. 97pts – $160.

Swinney – Farvie – Syrah – 2020 – This is so silky and supple. Fine, elegant ripe fruit that has latent power and supple texture. The density of flavours is a highlight; a beautiful wine with exquisite length. The subtle intensity is stunning. So much going on. Cellar for 10+ years. 96pts – $160

Vasse Felix – Syrah – 2020. This is a smart wine. Ripe but restrained fruit with savoury highlights supported by subtle oak. The fruit quality is very high and shows cherry, plum, currant and a squid-ink-like intensity. The tannins slowly build on the finish and, when combined with the fine acidity, serve to keep the finish in check right now. A variety of wine making techniques has resulted in a wine that is youthfully delicious now, yet worthy of time in the cellar. 93pts – $37.

Vasse Felix – Filius – Shiraz – 2020. Attractive fragrant fruit that is fine, elegant and quite beautiful. The palate is supple and finely textured. Gravelly tannins add mouthfeel and depth on the finish, with gentle spice to close. 92pts – $29.

Raymond Usseglio & Fils – Chateauneuf-Du-Pape – 2019. This starts off quite earthy, but then there is a delicious lick of liquorice and spice, with menthol highlights. A serious wine that has intensity, excellent length and slightly chewy texture. But needs time to settle down. 93pts – $TBC from Lamont’s Cottesloe.

Thorn-Clark – Ron Thorn – Shiraz – 2017. This is big, ripe and powerful, without coming across as hot or overblown. Ripe plum, spice, tobacco, aniseed and menthol all flood the palate, with chewy, texturing tannins and oak adding structure and depth. That said, this was remarkably closed and took several days to open up. But by day three, this was drinking a treat. With a decade in the bottle (cork permitting), this should really start to live up to its potential. 93pts++ ($110)

Alkoomi – Frankland River – Shiraz – 2019. Now this is a bargain. Bright fruit that is savoury and supple, with gentle spice notes. Not overly dense or powerful, but a great drink at the price. 91pts – $15

The Bio Project – Tempranillo Blend – 2020. Restrained, fine, and elegant, yet quite closed. The modern winemaking has protected the fruit and contributed to a near seamless palate transition. A very smart wine. 91pts – $25.