A mid-weight Shiraz comparison
One of the challenges of being an unpaid wine blogger is that you don’t have minions. Minions to catalogue your samples, clean glassware, take photos, give backrubs and open bottles for you. A general lack of minions of course also means no one needs wages (or the like), yet it also means that – crucially – there is no one to set up blind tastings.
|Blurry picture, sharper wines|
That’s not really a problem as I think I’m pretty even and relatively unbiased (hopefully), yet to try and be more accurate I do try to open like-with-like, to put brackets of similar wines together and match them up in a proper wine death match. It’s not as infallible as blind tasting obviously but hopefully it brings fair results (you be the judge of that).
With the following posse of wines then I was aiming following this process to match up some mid-weight, mainly (but not exclusively) cool climate styles in a Monday night Shiraz comparison. As you can see, I managed to unearth a few gooduns’ and generally enjoy most of the wines tasted. An enjoyable Monday night tasting no question.
Hunter Valley Legends Shiraz 2009 (Hunter Valley, NSW) 13% $18
I believe this is made by the HVWIA and sold exclusively by Wine
Bright red ruby colour. Quite a classic
cranberry 09 Hunter nose, with avery pretty red fruit style and that red
strawberry lolly 09 edge. Mid weight, earthen, quite bright red fruit
palate, with some slightly astringent oak influenced tannins and pointy acidity. It needs a few years to integrate that acidity but certainly plenty to like. It’s plenty Hunterish too if a little light. Pleasant indeed.
(Disclosure: I write for Breathe Magazine which is run by the HVWIA).
Westend Cool Climate Series Shiraz 2009 (Hilltops, NSW) 14.5% $14.95
A Hilltops red, no doubt about it, with that cherry/blueberry ‘I
can’t believe there’s no Viognier’ nose. It’s been made in open
fermenters and seen 12 months in oak which is pretty upbeat handling for
a $15 wine too.
It’s a quite opulently fruity style this Shiraz,
with a whole basket of fruit slut juiciness on the nose, even if it carries a
slightly cheap tinniness. On the palate it again shows plenty of
fruit generosity yet falls away pretty quickly, with added acidity
through the back palate.
Fair booze for $15 but still tastes budget
conscious and light. 15.3/85
Audrey Wilkinson Shiraz 2009 (Hunter Valley, NSW) 14% $20
A riper wine for the Hunter and certainly looks ‘bigger’ because of it (especially in this lineup). $17 from the cellar door and rather fair drinking for that price.
Rich ruby colour which looks deeper and richer thanks to the fruit ripeness. Full red fruit nose is actually quite pure an authentic. Reasonably muscular (for the Hunter) but lithe palate is somewhat broad and fleshy with creamy oak edges. Still a rather tight wine there’s no doubting the solid appeal here. It needs some time but certainly competently made.
Nice even finish suggests it will mature well too. Good! 17.3/90+
|Mount Avoca Shiraz
Mount Avoca Shiraz 2009 (Pyrenees, Vic) 13.5%, $25
I’m taking the cellar door price here as it just makes this look like bloody great value. This was co-fermented with a little Viognier and matured in a combination of French, Hungarian and American oak (winemaker John Harris likes to tinker!).
Vibrant and full mulberry colour. Peppery, plum jam nose, with the Viognier working to advantage here, adding an extra weight of pure juiciness and a little floral sexiness.. Nice flick of Pyrenees mint and menthol too. Palate is very tight yet honest and quite pure. Silken, purple, plum jam palate is
juicy, ripe and generous yet also savoury, the texture just about perfect. Integrated oak, fleshy blueberry finish. Late, proper tannins. Lovely
Viognier integration here, all blueberry edges and a bright and rounded palate with style much above the pricepoint. Winner!
Singlefile Estate Syrah 2009 (Denmark, Great Southern, WA) 13.5%, $32.95
Labelled Syrah to differentiate from the other Singlefile Estate Shiraz (this is cast in a much more elegant mould).
pretty mulberry, cherry pie/rhubarb and sweet fruit on the nose.
Prominent, slightly gummy french oak on the sweet palate. That oak is a smidgen prominent. Sappy tannins are good but there is a fair hole in the back palate, which looked particularly noticeable after going back to the Mount Avoca. This is ultimately a bit stunted and oaky at present, this should hopefully blossom with bottle age. 17/90+
|Shaw & Smith Shiraz
Stylish Shiraz this
Tahbilk Shiraz 2008 (Goulburn Valley, Vic) 14.5%, $24.80
Produced from one of the earliest Tahbilk vintages in quite a while, this includes some more younger vine fruit this year to boot up the freshness.
Full, very dark ruby colour. Ripe and quite figgy nose with a hint of caramel overripe fruit in there, though still with black fruit generosity. Palate is all broad, dusty fruit. Some nice chewy tannins still underline everything but
it just doesn’t quite have the drive of the best
vintages. Drinkable still. 16.7/89
Shaw & Smith Shiraz 2009 (Adelaide Hills, SA) 14.5%, $40
I really quite like the packaging on these Shaw & Smith wines. Simple, clear and stylish.
Lovely looking and smelling wine too with a very bright purple-red colour. Exotic cranberry wildness on the nose, all five spice and plum. It carries just a slight dullness at the edges though, a reminder of the heat wave vintage. Palate though is really quite sexy, with a modern, carefully constructed slick cherry and plum palate of evolved texture. Very grown up! That same whisper of dehydration the only thing standing between it and greatness. Clever stuff though really. 17.8/92