Monday, July 16, 2018

Barossa Be Consumed

This was the biggest show of Barossa wines in Sydney I can recall. The title 'Barossa. Be consumed' seemed a little dangerous, given there were over 100 wines to try. In any case, people turned up and seemed to enjoy themselves.

I decided to taste the premium offers from about half the wineries represented. I was not disappointed. The days of 15% alcohol plus and jammy wines seem truly gone, even as most wines presented were from the warm 2015 vintage.

Another interesting aspect was that blending is alive and well - and why not. Wineries such as John Duval, Spinifex and Sons of Eden have developed a certain style which is best maintained by blending. It is done much more smartly than say, 10 years ago. There is now a much better understanding of the different characteristics of the different subregions. As a basic example, many wines include grapes from Eden Valley and Barossa Valley to capture the freshness of the former and the richness of the latter.

My favorite wine was a single vineyard wine, though; the 2012 Cirillo 1850 Ancestor Vine Grenache. This is from a sandy vineyard on the valley floor. It shows intense savoury flavours and great length.

Other favorites for me were the 2016 Entity Shiraz (good depth) and the 2015 Eligo Shiraz (very elegant) by John Duval; the 2015 Rolf Binder Heysen (intense and elegant); the 2015 Sons of Eden Romulus Shiraz from the Barossa Valley (great balance); the 2015 Spinifex La Maline Shiraz (includes 1% Viognier; elegant and fresh); the 2014 St Hallett Old Block (subtle and soft; 30% Eden Valley fruit). 


Anonymous said...

Hello Thomas,
Over the last 10 years my interest and desire to buy Barossa Shiraz has taken a serious dent.
I found that as the primary characters changed to secondary characters it allowed the abv to come to the fore.......on my palate anyway !!
I now find elevated abv particularly distasteful to the point, if I can smell alcohol in the glass on initial assessment I'll put the glass down and order something else !!!
Im not sure i'll ever return in force to BV Shiraz.

Thanks as always


Alontin said...

A thoughtful comment, as always, Colin.

I think there are a number of factors at play here. With increasing age, wine enthusiasts tend to gravitate to lighter wines. This is certainly true for me as well. You may have noticed that the share of Pinot Noir and international wines in my blog has increased.

However, I find it appealing that old South Australian Shiraz vines, in particular from the Barossa Valley, can deliver wines which have no equal in the world. When you compare this with Victorian Shiraz or Australian Cabernet Sauvignon, the uniqueness disappears. This might mean (in my case) drinking one glass only. It also means that these wines do better in a tasting than in a hypothetical half bottle test, for example.

Also, many producers have started to harvest grapes earlier to increase freshness and reduce alcohol. Not all have, Torbreck has not, but there is now more diversity in the Barossa than ever before. Do not turn your back on it completely, Colin.