Thursday, June 7, 2012

Shaw + Smith Tasting

Shaw + Smith is a classy winery, and if you have not tried any of their wines, I encourage you to do so. I visited the modern winery in the Adelaide Hills for the first time a couple of weeks ago. The tasting is a seated affair, with their four wines and some cheese. (Cheese numbs the palate. Why does it get served at tastings? Not everything the French do is sensible.)

The Shaw + Smith Sauvignon Blanc is probably regarded as the best from Australia. On tasting was the 2011 Shaw + Smith Sauvignon Blanc. I am not a great fan of this variety, and I could not warm to this wine, either.  It tastes of lime and passionfruit. It does not have the grassiness of the New Zealand counterparts, but is rather fruity and a little sweet. The wine is vibrant and crisp, though (88/- points).

The 2010 Shaw + Smith M3 Chardonnay is a terrific expression of the variety. The peach flavours are fresh and clean, and the wine is quite complex as a result of the oak treatment, wild yeast fermentation, and the application of malolactic fermentation to 33% of the wine. The wine does not taste overworked at all, but shows great purity and seamlessness. This is one of my favorite Chardonnays (94/+++ points).

The 2010 Shaw + Smith Pinot Noir is quite a small production. It is a light to medium bodied expression of cool climate fruit, mainly in the strawberry spectrum. The wine is quite savoury and fruit friendly. Again,  the purity of flavours stands out (92/++ points).

The 2009 Shaw + Smith Shiraz has won a lot of friends lately. It is a cool climate style, more cherry than dark  fruits, with white pepper coming through. The wine finishes with firm, dry tannins (93/++ points).

The portfolio of these wines is most impressive. Shaw + Smith only make four wines. Great skill and focus is applied to each of them. Cleanliness and purity of  fruit flavour is a key aspect of their style. They stand well on their own, but are also great food wines. I would drink these wines fairly young to experience the vibrancy, but they have good acid balance and should mature fairly well.  

No comments: