Thursday, December 4, 2014

The All-Australian Shiraz

Tonight I am going to report on a unique Australian wine. In 1998, 90% of Bannockburn's Shiraz grapes got wiped out by hail. Close to 40 wineries offered help. The resulting wine included grapes from most corners of Australia: Margaret River (Cape Mentelle), Barossa and Eden Valley (Rockford, Yalumba, St. Halletts, Charlie Melton), McLaren Vale (BRL Hardy, Paxton), Clare Valley (Pikes), Coonawarra (Katnook), Heathcote (Jasper Hill), cool climate Victoria (Dalwhinnie, Mt. Langhi, Taltarni). This is like making a wine in Europe with grapes from Portugal via France and Italy to Greece.

The final wine, the 1998 Bannockburn Shiraz is astonishing. You would never guess that it is made from grapes from all over the country. This is a seamless wine, which ages very gracefully (I was drinking a Magnum). The palate is very complex. Blackberry and plum flavours are matched with mocca and smokey flavours. The wine has more intensity than a cool climate wine, but it is not a 'Big or overripe Barossa'. Heads up to the winemaking here (Gary Farr), who created such a harmonious wine from such diverse sources. The wine has mellowed beautifully. It reminds me of a top Northern Rhone wine. The wine still has great form and has velvety tannins on the back palate. This is not only a great wine, but also an excellent example of the camaraderie of the Australian wine industry. Would this be still possible today?

Score: 97/+++