Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Australian Shiraz tasting

A wine connoisseur friend needs to take an Australian Shiraz to an international conference in Shanghai, where it will compete with  Shirazes other participants will 'throw into the ring'. In order to improve his chances to win, he decided to invite a number of wine drinkers to rank eight different wines, from different parts of Australia and different vintages. He would then trust their judgement and take the winning wine. To cut a long story short, these were the wines and the final ranking:

1) 2009 Grant Burge Meshach, Barossa
2) 2010 Bird in the Hand Nest Egg, Adelaide Hills
    2012 Elderton Command, Barossa
4) 2003 Clonakilla Shiraz/Viognier, Canberra District
5) 2008 Yalumba, The Octavius, Barossa
6) 2003 Voyager Estate, Margaret River
7) 2010 Giaconda, Estate, Beechworth
8) 1990 Penfolds Grange, South Australia (this wine was corked)

Surprising to me was the poor performance of the Giaconda Estate. I did not rate the wine very highly either. It was a bit weak on the mid palate and musty.

I picked the Grant Burge Meshach as the winner as well. It won clearly. This wine impressed with its silky tannins and long finish. In a month's time, I will know how it will have fared against wines from the Rhone, California, New Zealand. I rate the chances as quite good. It is a full-bodied wine, with a solid fruit core, but not overripe. It should also appeal to European palates. 


Anonymous said...

Hello Thomas,
As something of a Barossa expert I would be interested in reading your opinion on the current state of Barossa Shiraz and the general efforts of vineyards not to present overripe, curranty, warm examples of Shiraz that have been effected by the increasing duration and intensity of Australian summers.

Is this a pattern you have noticed over the past years?



Alontin said...

Are you really asking, Colin? Since the somewhat waning influence of Robert Parker ratings, and the experience with overripe wines over time, there has clearly been a shift to picking grapes earlier and fashion more vibrant, less alcoholic wines. Having said this, quite a few have stuck to their full-bodied guns, for example Torbreck and Chris Ringland. It is a delicate balance to produce a wine which is very drinkable and delicious, and what the Barossa does best.