Friday, June 27, 2008

Grange Challengers?

Two prestigous shirazes were lined up next to each other: 1998 Grant Burge Meshach Shiraz and 1998 Peter Lehmann Stonewell Shiraz. These two wines are occasionally mentioned has challengers to the Penfolds Grange top position. They are made from the best fruit of these two sizable wineries and 98 was a great vintage in the Barossa.

In the direct comparison, the Meshach was the much better wine. Its fruit tasted of redcurrant fruit, was lively and well balanced with the oak and tannins. The Stonewell showed the effects of trying to get maximum ripeness from the vines. It smelled a little burnt and tasted dead and unattractive.

Is Meshach a Grange challenger? Not really. It is a different wine. A few weeks ago I tasted the Grange from the same year (see my earlier post). The Grange has more weight and would last for 30-40 years, with layers upon layers of fruit. This aging ability on a consistent basis remains unique in the Australian context. The Meshach is probably drinking at its peak now; it is quite a seroious and well endowed wine, but if it were a car, it would be a mid sized Audi and the Grange an S-class Benz.

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