Izway ‘Harold’ Shiraz 2008 (Barossa, SA)
To be brutally honest I’m not all that much of a fan of 2008 vintage Barossan reds. That’s a typically annoying, rudely sweeping generalisation I know (and bound to attract the ire of plenty of Barossans). Yet the often super ripe, slightly dessicated and plump style found in many an 08 from the region is just not to my tastes. Simple as that.
As with every such sweeping comment however, there has to be exceptions – wines that people use to argue against such statements, responding with a ‘you’re wrong, see, look at how good this wine is’ sort of fashion. Contradictory wines, if you will. Phoenix wines even (in some cases).
And this Izway is the perfect example.
Made with no new oak, and minimal sulphur, it comes as quite a shock to see how fresh it still is. It looks positively vibrant in the glass in fact, with a deep purple colour that looks more like one of Andrew ‘Thommo’ Thomas’s single vineyard Shiraz barrel samples than a hot year Barossan Shiraz.
It smells bloody good too. Seriously inviting even, with choc moccha, currants, very ripe berries and some tarry licorice. Intensity squared on that nose. It smells of supercharged tiny berries really, the sort that Chris Ringland grows on his Flaxmans Valley vineyard. Seriously fine Shiraz grapes no question.
It tastes of tiny berries too, jammy but not over the top, the first hints of raisining giving this a slightly tarry slickness that works. It’s a curranty palate too, super intense and dry, with a real plum essence thang to it that is interesting to say the least. Those tannins are intense too, grainy and long and well backed by chocolatey wood. Tannins that again suggests small berries and a notable skin to juice ratio. Winning tannins.
This is, in short, an unquestionably impressive wine. It’s hardly going to change my mind on the vintage, and it just teeters on the brink of OTT ripeness, but gee it’s a proper goodun’. 18.3/93