Taylors St Andrews Shiraz Shiraz 2003 (Clare Valley, SA)
Firstly, read no further if you don’t enjoy dark, powerful, rich fruited and fully oaked red wines. This is a classic contemporary Clare Shiraz, if that makes any sense, and the style is single minded in its pursuit of hedonistic rich fruit and intense flavours. Arguably its also heavy going, un-food friendly, bretty and maturing very fast. Its the sort of wine that many people will adore, but a similar amount again will deplore as overripe Australian muck. In the end I can see both points of view and sort of agree with them both, however, I’ve been lucky enough to try quite a few vintages of this wine and can confirm that this is definitely a lesser year, and so its not hard to side with the malcontents.
Firstly the colour: The wine itself is black, or very dark red at least. The rim is mahogany red, even bricking slightly, but this just reverts quickly back to impenetrable, dark red/black as you move away from the rim. The nose is rich, porty & slightly raisined with overripe fruit jam, low level coconut oak & some meaty development, all framed in slightly mousey, Bretty background characters. It smells overripe and developing fast, more Australian dry port than Clare table Shiraz, yet there is also a real depth of black fruit veiled behind.
The palate supports the nose with a big, mouthfilling blob of rich, chocolatey stewed fruits that are monolithic in their unctuous richness. The problem is that the structure of the wine that supports this is falling down. The finish is marred by cedary, ugly, wood tannins, the brettiness is quite stale and unpleasant too.
So ultimately this is a wine that is guaranteed to elicit a verbal diarrhoea like flow of adjectives – overripe, tarry, thick, super rich, show friendly, unctuous, developing, bretty, full bodied etc. Yet it’s ultimately a hot vintage Shiraz that, whilst true to its origins and intentions, fails somewhat in its real purpose – drinkability.
I shared this bottle around the office to get some second opinions and it proved to be very popular indeed – with many commenting that it ‘tasted like a $50 wine too’. Make of that what you will…. 16.0