Tag Archives: Barossa

Shiraz – New Release

Reviewed: 30th March 2014

Whilst I have no direct control over the wines that are submitted to the panel for tasting, the wines on display for this tasting were very impressive in general.  The wines came from some well known labels, as well as several that are new to me.


Henschke – Shiraz – Mount Edelstone – 2009 (18.5).  The silky elegance and balance came as a surprise here after some of the more robust wines tasted.  This is elegant, refined, long, supple and deliciously seamless.  Whilst everything is in place to age, this is great now thanks to the delicate fruit and fine tannin/oak balance.  A superior wine that will take 15 years + in the cellar.

Yalumba – Shiraz – Octavius – 2008 (18.5).  Lovely mint and herbal notes initially here.  There is, however, a core of dense, powerful fruit that starts to show with air.  The palate is silky and fine yet, again, the latent power is palpable.  The fruit flavours tend to red berries.  Chewy tannins and oak close down the fruit, but these are not intrusive or out of balance.  Develops licorice and spice with air.  Whilst the oak treatment is evident, it is in no way intrusive, sitting nicely with the high quality fruit.  Deserves its reputation. (RRP $110).

The Yard – Shiraz – Justin Vineyard – 2012. (18).  Great fruit and winemaking, yet the acid here is just a little fresh initially.  Opens to show plum and blackberry flavours with spice and hints of oak.  Very long and textured, this is a wine for the patient.  The next day, this was even better with delicious dark fruits that coat the tongue melding with very fine tannins on a near seamless finish.  (RRP $35).

Cross Stitch – Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon – 2012 (18).  I like this a lot.  Ripe red fruit with excellent balance.  The palate is silky and fine, with the gentle tannins complementing the fruit perfectly.  Really long, this is an elegant wine of considerable charm.  Good now or in five years.  (The points here are for the sheer drinkability). (RRP $22).

Willoughby Park – Shiraz – 2010 (17.9).  A dense wine full of licorice, spice and black pepper.  The finish is almost a touch awkward now, but is long and balanced.  Quality oak and fine tannins marry well with the fruit on the finish.  Opens to show sweet, ripe fruit that is seductive and delicious, with a lovely finish.  From the Great Southern. (RRP $22).

Izway – Shiraz – Rob & Les – 2012 (17.8).  This is a cracker of a wine, with a delicious mouthful of ripe plum fruit, yet with just enough structure to make the balance spot on.  This is juicy, ripe and totally delicious.  Not as “serious” as some here, but a great drink right now.  (RRP $30).

Sandalford – Shiraz – Estate Reserve – 2011 (17.8).  Closed, dense and powerful, this wine stands out for its quality fruit and winemaking.  Whilst it has lovely ripe fruit, it is refined, and initially quite subdued.  On the palate, the fine tannins shut down the finish though the length and texture are excellent.  With plenty of air, the lovely spicy fruit came to the fore.  A wine for the future.

Shingleback – Shiraz – The Davey Estate – 2011 (17.5 – 18).  Dense, taut and somewhat unyielding.  Hints of spice (clove and star anise).  The palate is firm, with fresh acidity, yet there are silky/refined tannins and oak and plenty of fine, white pepper to close.  This is an elegant, yet powerful wine that has potential.  Reflects the year with restrained, cooler climate fruit characters.  (RRP $23).

Crooked Brook – Shiraz – 2011 (17.5).  Ripe plum-like characters initially, yet with a core of elegant red fruits.  The palate has lovely mouth-feel and weight, and there is a lick of licorice that runs to the back of the palate.  Long and juicy, with fine tannins that frame the fruit.  Excellent drinking.

Rosemount – Shiraz – Diamond Label – 2012 (17.3).  Silky, dense, ripe and balanced.  This has souring plum-like fruit, with cedar and spicy notes.  The finish is plump and textured, with a touch of chocolate and coffee to close.  Not that dense or complicated, but a good drink.


Grenache Master Class

Reviewed: 5 April 2013

Following on from the recent grenache discoveries I wrote up last week, I was very pleased to attend a grenache tasting held by a local wine group. Grenache is a variety that is commonly blended with other varieties (typically shiraz), so straight grenache based wines can be overlooked as a source of fine wines. Confusingly, where it is produced can affect what it is called. In France and Australia, it is referred to as grenache, whereas in Spain, it is typically referred to as garnacha.

This tasting looked at grenache based wines and grenache blends, looking at how different countries and regions handle the fruit, as well as how well the wines can age. After all, it is not only the climate that effects the finished wine, it is how it is treated in the winery. A few wines did not make it to these pages as there was considered to be an unacceptable degree of Brettanomycis evident. In small amounts, this can add complexity, but in large amounts, it can make the wine smell like a barnyard.


Baltasar – Garnacha – Gracians – Vinas Viejas – 2003 (17.5). Ripe, fragrant fruit that combines red fruit characters with cherry and a touch of tar. At 10 years of age, this is still quite dense and chewy. The palate has excellent length and mouth-feel. Great now, but may still improve.

Guigal – Cotes du Rhone – 1995 (17.5). Remarkable wine in that this is made in very large quantities, is relatively inexpensive and has aged superbly over its 18 year life. On the nose, there is still a degree of ripe fruit, but with a lovely savoury lift adding complexity. There is obvious age on the palate, with earthy characters, forest floor and supple, though savoury tannins. A complete drink now.

La Bruja Averia – Grenache – 2011 (17.5). Pretty, spicy grenache fruit with bright red berries. The palate has cherry, tar, spice and red fruits and a finish that is long, supple and savoury. Lovely balance, with souring acidity that cuts through to the finish leaving the palate refreshed. From Madrid!

The Willows – Grenache – 2010 (17). An interesting wine that shows mint and eucalyptus over herbal notes. With air, the floral fruit really comes through with soft, textured tannins driving the finish. There is good length of flavours on the close.

La Fiole – Cotes du Rhone – 2010 (17.3). I liked this wine. There was a surprising level of density to the fruit and even some fresh oak characters in a balanced package. The palate on this gets really floral and perfumed, while the fine tannins make their presence felt on a finish that is drying and textured. Really needs food to shine.

Clos Des Papes – Châteauneuf du Pape – 2004 (17.5). Sweet fruit on the nose with a lovely savoury lick that imparts gentle spice to the wine. The palate is textured, chewy and long, with a degree of fleshy fruit and a savoury edge. Excellent length and persistence.

Cirello – Grenache – 1850 – 2006 (18+). The adjectives flowed in my tasting notes for this wine. Dense, textured, long, chewy, savoury and earthy. Tremendous length and latent power to the fruit. Superb quality fruit has been matched to quality oak, the old bush vines providing real concentration and penetration, especially on the palate. Bravo. (From the Barossa).

Roger Sabon – Châteauneuf du Pape – Cuvee Prestige – 2000 (17.5). This has dense fruit, with attractive, savoury complexity. The palate is long and supple, yet there are chewy textural components on the finish. Robust fruit, but with a degree of finesse.

Clos Mogador – Grenache – 1997 (18). A beautiful wine that has delicious ripe fruit. Supple and juicy sweet fruit leads on to chewy, texturing tannins and quality oak. From Priorat.

Rayas – Châteauneuf du Pape – Pignan – 1998 (17.8). Really showing its age, the wine is silky, supple, long and quite seamless. Really needs food to complement the less obvious fruit characters.

Charles Melton – Grenache – 1997 (17.5). Much fresher than the Rayas, with dense, ripe fruit that has chocolate overtones. The palate is defined by floral fruit, that is supple and long. This is balanced by lovely pepper and cedar spice characters.