Sunday, January 9, 2011

Cool Climate Shiraz

A few weeks ago, I participated in a tasting of a number of Shirazes, which I think is worth reporting on. Two Canberra Shirazes were pitted against two from Victoria.

Shiraz from Canberra seems to be the flavour of the month, stemming from the high quality and success of the Clonakilla Shiraz/Viognier. However, in this tasting, the Victorian wines proved superior. This was not only my view.

The Canberra wines were the 2008 Tyrrell's Canberra Shiraz and the 2009 Collector Marked Tree Red. My notes on the Tyrell's are not detailed, but it was the weakest wine of the four which were compared (90 points). The Collector wine is highly acclaimed and rewarded. It tastes of blood plum and spice and has nice balance and acidity. However, I found it lacked some backbone on the finish (92 points). This is a wine which delivers good value for money, but it would struggle against wines twice the price, in my view.

The 2009 Giaconda McClay Road Shiraz was most intriguing. Giaconda declassified the single-vineyard Shirazes of this year and put all the fruit into this second tier label. The wine tastes of plum, but very fresh, silky throughout, and with very fine spices. It has good balance and a dry finish. I was impressed by the complexity of flavours and the texture of this wine (94 points).

The other Victorian wine was the 2007 Mt. Langi Ghiran Shiraz. This wine has gone from strength to strength lately, and the 2007 is no exception. It has cool climate freshness, and the sweet fruit is accompanied by white pepper and some eucalypt flavours. A very smooth wine (94 points).

All these wines are obviously very young, but they are modern wines which could be enjoyed already. I think the Giaconda will improve with time and be the most interesting in a few years.

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