Shaw Vineyard Estate Shiraz 2008 (Canberra District)
$22, Screwcap, 14.5%
It’s wines such as this that show exactly why Canberra Shiraz is gaining mainstream acceptance, winning palates with a simple proposition – immediacy.
For this wine, like so many other Canberra Shiraz based reds, smells and tastes good from the very first twist. It requires no decanting, has plenty of fruit sweetness, yet still stays crisp and savoury enough to enable drinking satisfaction. It’s a wine then with a point of difference, an extra air of attraction to the everyman, pulling in anyone who dislikes the ‘heaviness’ of most typical Australian reds, whilst still maintaining a veneer of cool climate elegance.
It’s actually like what good cru Beaujolais – and ultimately Pinot – does so well, combining lightness with flavour, without requiring too much excess sugar.
In the vein then, this Shiraz is hardly more than medium bodied, relying on aromatics, finesse and freshness over brute power, and providing upfront, quite easily accessible flavours in the process. Arguably, it’s a simple style of wine, and arguably it’s less likely to get significantly better with bottle age, but you can’t deny the juicy, immediate appeal.
This Shiraz itself? It has a nose of black pepper, stewed figs and mulberries, smelling ripe, juicy and quite fragrant, if very youthful. There is a hint of stewed fruit in there too, but the freshness is undeniable. On the palate it is quite sweet, meaty, very ripe and just a bit jammy, the fruit tending to blackberry jam and heat, the wine finishing with just a bit of pointy acid. It is, in short, quite a simple wine, but made to an obviously clever recipe.
Ultimately, I am struggle to view this without my marketing hat on, for all I can see here is saleability. Broad, effortless saleability, backed by the odd unique selling point (‘it’s just so drinkable, and it’s from Canberra! Who would have thought that Canberra makes wine’) and supported with a reputation that feeds off the success of Clonakilla (et al).
And this wine? It’s probably just a pertinent example of this breed, an example worth studying, if just to get your head around the concept, and to decide for yourself if this is the future of Australian Shiraz… 16.5/88
Shaw Vineyard Estate Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2009 (Canberra district)
$22, Screwcap, 13%
From a region hardly known for its Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc or a blend of the two, it’s not really surprising this doesn’t quite work.
Quite yellow in the glass, the nose is surprisingly flat & forward, showing straw & hay Semillon varietal characters that are developing very quickly. On the palate it is simple and round, finishing slightly short and lacking in acidity, the fruit flavours quite honeyed and ill-defined.
In the end you just have to question the intention here – is it to make a crisp and clean CDW? If so, it’s too ripe and lacking in acidity. Is the idea instead to make a richer and textural wine? If so, then why not give it some barrel work, or at least something to rescue the mouthfeel boredom.
Maybe it’s just me, but sadly I just don’t get it. 15/85