Rise Shiraz 2008 (Clare Valley, SA)
$22.95, Screwcap, 14.5%
I was particularly impressed by these two gents 09 Watervale Rizza, which I stumbled upon at last years International Riesling Challenge, and this is one of the companion pieces to it.
Just like the Riesling too, the attention to quality and detail is admirable – hand picked fruit (off some good vineyards), open fermenters, 16 months in hogsheads and then bottled in a bottle made from recycled glass, with a recycled screwcap and a recycled paper label (with recyclable label backing).
The only thing in fact standing in this wines path to success is the growing season itself.
I’m going to quote here straight from the press release, as it explains alot (forgive me if this is old news, but it’s important for context):
‘2008 was a challenging year in Clare with little rainfall again, although the timing of rain was favourable. Cool ripening conditions prevailed throughout February, allowing for excellent flavour development and acid retention. However at the beginning of March an unprecedented heat wave hit Clare’
What this resulted in, and this story varies a bit, is grapes that were sugar ripe, but not physiologically ripe and chronic uneven ripeness, with one bunch shrivelled, the next bunch green and hard. You can smell that in this Shiraz too – with some lifted, intensely sweet, grape hubba bubba & cranberry ‘is this thing still fermenting’ juicy fruit , which then clashes with the shrill and slightly dank flavours of both over and underripe, heat affected fruit. It’s a nose that wavers then between sweetness and hardness, ripe and not ripe, mirroring the massive contrasts in conditions that the 08 growing season threw up.
Interestingly though, and it’s a saving grace, the palate shows no greenness at all, tending instead to fleshiness, with rich gobfuls of plump plummy red fruit, finishing warm and slightly attenuated. It’s a palate that people will genuinely like – with lots of friendly and gluggable grapiness – but one that is ultimately built for short to medium term drinking.
As a whole wine, it’s clear that this has been well made, as shown simply by how (cleverly) generous and luscious the palate is, yet is still so obviously hobbled by some vintage affected fruit that it will (probably) never be a great wine.
Given the effort behind the wine though, and also good the Rizza was, I’d say lookout for the 2009 version. 16/86