Karra Yerta Shiraz Cabernet 2006 (Barossa & Eden Valley, SA)
$25, Screwcap, 14.5%
There are, according to the Australian & New Zealand Wine Industry Directory, 2320 wineries in Australia (as of this year). Karra Yerta, with an annual production of only several hundred cartons, is one of the smallest amongst them (the website tagline is 'one of Australia's smallest wineries').
What Karra Yerta shares with Australia's finest wineries, however, is character. Character derived from old (up to 80 year old) vineyards, in an exceptional grape growing area (Chris Ringland's 'Three Rivers vineyard' is several hundred metres away, with the original Pewsey vineyards also close by) and produced with passion (converse with the energetic Marie Linke, caretaker of the vineyard with her partner James, and you will get a sense of this).
The ultimate results are fine quality, handmade, unpretentious wines, made in tiny quantities and happily representative of the patch of dirt they were produced of.
A formula that sits very easily with me.
This Shiraz Cabernet then is produced from 87% estate Shiraz, blended with some Barossa floor Shiraz and topped up with 13% Eden Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Surprisingly this spent 24 months in oak, a heroic level for what is a $25 bottle of wine, but it doesn't do this any disservice.
Judging by the colour alone, this looks like quite a beast: It pours deep blood red and is rimmed with youthful purple. The nose matches the sentiment, with rich blackberry jam, vanillan oak and a twist of formic. It smells deep and warm and cosseting and, well, Barossan.
Matching the nose, the palate is rich and sweetly red berried, the oak driving the palate weight forward and edging it with vanillan sweetness. Initially I thought this was just a tad too obvious and full, but the hints of Eden Valley milk chocolate through the middle had me hooked.
Just to reinforce the quality, the tail end has a great flow of flavour and thrust, coupled with a complete absence of heat (good to see in a 14.5% ABV red).
It is hard then to argue with any element of this red. The oak is a bit prominent and sweet, but I'm not worried about it integrating, so there is little case for any discordance. Really all I can do is join the chorus and rave about how good this is.
So what you get is a genuine Barossan red, that will cellar well, with plenty of the aforementioned character and appeal, for just $25 a bottle. Bargain. 18.2/93
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