After missing out on writing up a bottle yesterday for the Tuesday instalment of Seppelt Week (SW), its time to up the tempo. So, for the next three days it will be 2 Seppelt new releases each day, tasted side by side in an old fashioned, head to head death match.
To make things fair, I’ve tried to match up likely combatants, hence todays effort comes from two regional Shiraz based reds that are newish editions to the Seppelt portfolio.
In the very red corner, our first wine then is the Seppelt Mt Ida Shiraz 2005. Sourced from Heathcote fruit (though the back label is a little hazy about whether it is a single vineyard wine or not), Mt Ida is hardly a new name, but a new addition to the range now that the Mt Ida label has been swallowed up. Which reminds me, whatever happened to the Mt Helen label? I can still remember impressive mid 90’s Cab blends under the green lanscape label of Mt Helen. Anyway, its a logical addition to the Seppelt Shiraz lineup.
In the (other) red corner is the Seppelt Silverband Grampians Shiraz 2006. Its another regional effort, with the ‘Silverband’ name referring to the Silverband Falls located in the Grampians National Park. Its again a newish addition, sitting a rung below the Mt Ida in the price scale (so up against it here perhaps), but also as a first release it has had some extra love thrown at it (reportedly).
So it starts with the colour – the Silverband is a bit more purple than the (slightly) redder Mt Ida, reflecting the age difference between the two. On the nose, the Mt Ida seems much more opulent and slightly roasted, with aromatic red fruit, pan juices & just a hint of violets. In contrast, the Silverband has stopped off at the deli, with some Rhonish sausage & Devon on the nose. Underneath this, the Silverband feels closed, sweeter & younger than the Mt Ida, but more fruit driven than the ‘winey’ Mt Ida. More noticeable oak on the Mt Ida nose too.
Moving on to the palate section of the fight, the Mt Ida lands the first blow, with a big left hook of grainy, slightly hard and bitter red/black fruit. This wine has a particularly dry and unyielding palate, with astringent wood tannins streaking through the finish. Its closed, backward and rather awkward to my palate, but absolutely full of ripe fruit. Raw and youthful stuff.
In response, the meaty, purple and quite slippery Silverband gets in a very sly jab to the jaw. Its a lighter punch than the Mt Ida, feeling more jubey, black fruited and soft, the hard edges of structure replaced with some more rounded and upfront flavours, that fall away towards the finish. Its much silkier through the middle, but it just feels a bit weak & youthful.
In the end, quite honestly, neither of these two put up a particularly convincing fight. The Mt Ida is so gruff, hard and wound up in structure that it is simply unpleasurable to drink now, even more so than the Benno from Monday. It will, however, improve markedly in the cellar, with the low (13.5%) alcohol and prominent tannins signifying that this wine has been built hard and dry, deliberately skewed towards cellarability. Just don’t bother drinking it today.
The Silverband however is just plain average – its thin, bretty and bitter edged, lacking all of the delightful richness of the Bests or The Story Grampians wines that its competing with (Bin 1 & Grampians Shiraz respectively).
So we will notch that up as a win to the heavier weight Mt Ida Shiraz – its vineyard class and power winning out over the confusingly sour Silverband. The final scores are 17++ and 15.5.
Stay tuned for tomorrows Seppelt fight!