Tag Archives: Shiraz

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.


Shiraz – New Release

Reviewed: 20th September 2013

This tasting was defined by the number of outstanding wines on show.  Interestingly, several of my favourites came from producers that I know little about.  The wines from Salomon, Jericho and Shottesbrooke were all noteworthy.

I will write more on each of these producers over the next few weeks.

This is not to say that some of the established players did not show well.  Yalumba’s Octavius was also in top form.  A dense, powerful wine for the long hall.



jericho-shiraz-2012Jericho – Shiraz – 2012 (18.5).  Initially, this is restrained, taut and closed, with subdued fruit characters.  The quality though is outstanding with wonderful depth and texture.  The length is a defining feature, as is the balance and velvety mouth-feel.  Will build and develop for many years.  A superb wine from McLaren Vale.

Salomon – Shiraz – Finniss River – 2010 (18.5).  This has both a captivating nose and wonderful palate.  This is powerful, yet elegant and restrained at the same time.  The palate is very long and near seamless, with subtle spicy notes.  The fruit is quite closed, but the quality is evident in every aspect of this wine.  An outstanding, sophisticated wine with great balance.

Shottesbrooke – Shiraz – Eliza – Reserve – 2010 (18.5).  Here is another cracking wine from the 2010 vintage.  Has an attractive nose that combines concentrated fruit with supple oak characters.  The palate is initially closed, taut and linear, with bright acid and fine, drying, slightly chewy tannins.  With air, this really opened up to display wonderful fruit that had layers of depth and complexity.  The palate is very complex, expressive and alive.  A beautiful wine that deserves ten years in the cellar.

Yalumba – Shiraz – Octavius – 2008 (18.5).  An impenetrable wine that took two days to really open up and show its class.  A great wine that demands patience.

Salomon – Shiraz – Finniss River – 2011 (18.3). Ripe fruit on the nose that hints at fresh plum and forest floor.  A delicious wine that has a remarkably soft mouth-feel yet has tannins that are fine and persistent.  The fruit builds depth and breadth in the glass and on the palate, evolving and enticing a further sip.  Whilst this is a big, powerful wine, it expresses a softness that is very attractive.  An excellent wine at the start of a long life.

Grant Burge – Shiraz – Filsell – 2011 (17.8).  Inky colour and really deep smelling, this wine has quality stamped all over it.  Presents precise fruit, with a vanillin oak lift.  Masculine and structured, yet with elegance and poise.  Chocolate fruit notes to close.  Long and textured, this needs a few years to show its best, as the tannins are quite firm on the finish.

Jericho – Shiraz – Adelaide Hills – Syrah – 2012 (17.8).  Lovely, peppery fruit to open here.  The spicy fruit is balanced and nicely textured.  The fruit is not overly dense, but has been handled sympathetically.  Long and balanced, this could easily take 5 years in the cellar.  Another producer who is trying to differentiate the Adelaide Hills style by adopting the French term Syrah.

Salomon – Shiraz – Finniss River – 2009 (17.7).  Cooler climate fruit that is precise and focussed.  Shows mint, red berries, bright cherry fruit, white pepper and a touch of aniseed.  Long and sappy finish with silky, slightly dusty tannins that adds life and interest.  Very smart wine that is good now or in 10 years.

Bird in Hand – Shiraz – 2012 (17.5).  Whilst quite a big wine, this has quality, cooler climate fruit characters.  The ripe, aromatic fruit is supported by supple, chewy tannins.  A youthful wine with inherent balance and good length.

Shiraz – New Release

Reviewed 7th August 2013

This tasting saw the new releases from Cherubino and Sandalford, and neither disappointed.

The highlights for the tasting were two wines from Cherubino (Ad Hoc and Laissez Faire) and the pair from Angoves.


Cherubino – Shiraz – Laissez Faire – 2012 (18 – 18.5).  Lovely peppery fruit here on both the nose and palate that is very attractive.  Initially, the nose is closed and tight, while the palate is restrained, yet silky and supple.  Superb fruit and winemaking on show, though this wine is only hinting at potential now.  Over a couple of days, this wine really blossomed to show beautiful fruit that is very hard to resist.  This is compelling drinking at $50.

Sandalford – Shiraz – Prendiville – 2011 (18 – 18.5).  Wow!  This is a special wine, with fantastic, cool climate shiraz that has been brilliantly handled.  Starts off refined, fine and elegant, yet there is an underlying intensity to the fruit that is disarming.  Chewy and dense, the quality French oak adds texture to the mouth-feel rather than overt flavours.  Very long, but needs time.

The Yard – Shiraz – Acacia Vineyard – 2011 (18+).  Closed, tight, dense and powerful.  Superb wine that needs years to open up and let the quality fruit sing.  The finish is drier than the Sahara desert, with tannins that completely close down the fruit.  With air this developed chocolate, plum, spice and cedar, with hints of licorice and pepper.  Demands patience, but this is a worthwhile addition to the cellar.

The Yard – Shiraz – Riversdale Vineyard – Frankland River – 2011 (17.8+).  More obvious fruit here, though this is a good thing.  Rich and ripe, with a core of chocolate running through the palate.  The tannins are very fine, though plentiful.  Smart wine now, or in 10 years.  This wine took two to three days on the tasting bench to hit its straps, but was a very rewarding drink.

Sandalford – Shiraz – Estate Reserve – 2010 (17.5 – 18).  Serious fruit on the nose, though this is the first wine where the vanilla/coconut characters from the oak sit over the fruit.  This is not a bad thing, it is just that it will need a couple of years for the oak to settle into the fruit.  Firm and drying, though the finish is quite silky.

Ad Hoc – Shiraz – Middle of Everywhere – 2012 (17.5+).  The absolute bargain in the Cherubino shiraz line-up, and a delicious wine to boot.  Opens with peppery, bright fruit that has plum, cinnamon and spicy notes.  The palate is long and fleshy, with enough structure to guarantee aging.  The finish is elegant and mouth-filling, making for a great drink now or in 10 years.

Angove – Shiraz – Vineyard Select – 2012 (17.7).  Brilliant fruit, lovely structure, sympathetic oak. This is long and dense with drying tannins.  Will reward short term cellaring.  How this can be sold for only $15 dollars is beyond me!

Angove – Shiraz/ Cabernet – Organic – 2012 (17.2).  Nice blend of ripe, peppery fruit and more complex, earthy aromas.  This follows through on the palate, with bright cherry fruit, white pepper and dense, plum flavours.  Softer tannins make this an easy wine to enjoy now with a meal, or to cellar for a few years for added complexity.  Organic or not, this is a good drink and a real bargain.

Sandalford – Shiraz – Margaret River – 2011 (16.9).  Lovely ripe fruit with smart oak.  Refined, though this is a more obvious wine.  The alcohol adds depth to the mouth-feel.  Chewy, dense and textured, this is a good mid-week wine that could also be aged for a few years.

Penfolds: 2013 Bin Release

Perth: 18 February 2013

The Trustee Bar & Bistro

The title of this event is a little confusing, as there was no wines from 2013 on show. The releases were from 2010 – 2012 and represent the latest installment of these iconic Penfolds red wines.

It was with some excitement that I approached this event, as several of the wines being shown were from the 2010 vintage. This has proven to be a superb vintage in all the main wine-growing regions in South Australia. Andrew Baldwin, red winemaker at Penfolds was in Perth for the event, to talk us through the wines.

Firstly, as you would expect, the wines from 2010 were outstanding. Whilst still trademark Penfolds in style, the finesse and balance of the wines were a highlight. Secondly, the tasting highlighted to me how important it is to serve wine at an appropriate temperature.

Summer in Perth is a challenging time to serve red wines as room temperature is often too warm to really appreciate fine red wine. It is often quoted that 18 – 20 degrees is the ideal temperature to serve red wines which is a lot cooler than my house for example.

I leave my red wines in the cellar for as long as possible and will pop them in to the fridge from time to time during dinner, just to drop the temperature a few degrees. When a red gets a bit warm, it loses its finesse and balance, and the alcohol tends to become a bit obvious.

And so it was with the wines at this tasting. Transporting wines on a hot Perth afternoon is a challenge. When the wines were served they were a little warm which flattened their perfume and elegance. Fortunately the air conditioner in the restaurant was working a treat, which dropped the temperature quite quickly. It was however, my good friend John Jens, who chilled a few bottles in ice-buckets to give me wines to taste at an optimal temperature.

This tasting comes with a few caveats. The usual one applies about this not being a blind tasting, so my points are best used as a guide. Secondly, this was a dinner, so my note-taking was a little impaired. Finally, Andrew was an excellent host, making it difficult to disagree with what he was saying 🙂

Seriously though, the wines and food were excellent and I am grateful to Penfolds and The Trustee for hosting the event.


Penfolds — Riesling – Bin 51 – 2012 (18). From a superb year in the Eden Valley, this is lovely wine. Lime juice and lemon zest are the dominant fruit characters, with a steely minerality providing the structure and cut-through. Seamless, delicious and very age-worthy.

Penfolds – Pinot Noir – Bin 23 – 2012 (17.5). This wine probably suffered the most from being a touch warm. On the nose, this was earthy and dense, with almost chocolate like aromas of strawberry fruit. On the palate this is quite earthy, with forest floor and dark cherry characters. From the Adelaide Hills, the wine gets deluxe treatment (Hand picked, refrigerated transit, cold soaking with extended maturation and 9 months on lees). Hand made by Peter Gago, this is more Central Otago in style than Burgundy for example.

Penfolds – Shiraz/Grenache/Mataro – Bin 138 – 2011 (17.5 – 18). Fresh, succulent fruit with red berries over plum and fragrant spice.The fruit is leaner than the 2010’s but there is lovely structure and excellent length. There is a higher percentage of shiraz (65%) this year due to the difficulty of fully ripening the Grenache and Mataro. This is an elegant expression of Barossa fruit, and is a lovely wine. (Drink now – 2020).

Penfolds – Shiraz – Bin 128 – 2011 (17). Trademark Penfolds nose combining succulent fruit and sweet (though subtle) oak. The palate is also trademark Penfolds, but in a lighter, more elegant style. With air, this develops lovely spicy notes that carry through to the palate. Whilst this will probably age well for a few years, my preference would be to drink it over the next 2- 3 years. (Coonawara).

Penfolds – Shiraz – Bin 28 – 2010 (18). Fragrant sweet fruit over complex tobacco aromas and hints of coconut from the oak. The palate is dense, tight, structured and long. The fruit here is initially bright and fresh, with red berries, plum, cinnamon, spice and chocolate highlights. The polished tannins are a real highlight. (Drink: Now to 2030).

Penfolds – Cabernet Sauvignon – Bin 407 – 2011 (18). Excellent quality fruit on display that is quite dense and opulent. There is obvious blackcurrant aromas over chocolate and cedar. Whist the length is excellent the fine tannins are plentiful and shut the fruit down somewhat on the finish. Primarily from Coonawara, Wrattonbully, Robe, McLaren Vale and Padthway, this sees some new French and American oak as well as first and second use barrels. A riper style, yet beautifully balanced.(Drink to 2030+).

Penfolds – Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz – Bin 389 – 2010 (18.5). This is a superb wine! Lovely sweet fruit that shows fragrant perfume from the cabernet, over rich red fruit from the shiraz. The palate is long, supple and savoury, with the oak seamlessly integrating into the fruit. Textured and structured, the tannins are very fine and add depth to the finish. A delicious wine that is beautiful now, but will age superbly. (Drink 2025 – 2035).

Penfolds – Shiraz – Bin 150 – 2010 (18.5). From a single sub-region in the Barossa, this is another superb wine. A big, bold shiraz that is structured and has excellent texture. Still, this retains a degree of elegance and the balance is a highlight. This was served with a smoky beef rib and the flavour match was inspired. This is probably the best wine in the range and with time, I am sure that the fruit characters will more fully express themselves. One for the patient! (Drink 2025 – 2035).