Tilly Devine Shiraz 2008 (McLaren Vale, SA)
14.9%, Vinolok, $35
Like the packaging? It took me a few moments to work out that what looks like a barcode on the label is actually ‘Tilly Devine’ (click for a closer look).
Firstly the Tilly Devine context – Tilly Devine is the name of a top Sydney wine bar (Love Tilly Divine) and the principal character in a recent series of Underbelly (Underbelly Razor – which was ordinary). Both trace back to Tilly Devine, the 1920 and 30s Sydney madam and bootlegger whom made such a particular reputation as a prohibition era booze peddler that her name became rhyming slang for wine.
Her name has thus been adopted for a brand new Shiraz concept from McLaren Vale started by a group of South Australian families. At this stage the 2008 Shiraz and a follow-up 2009 have been released, alongside a 2009 vintage Cabernet Sauvignon with more wines to follow. All of the wines are produced from an up-to 90 year old, 45 acre McLaren Vale vineyard planted primarily to Shiraz. Wines are made by Matthew Rechner.
From the outset this is something of a firm and ripe beast, that alcohol showing throughout. It spent 2 years in French oak, 30% new, and carries a certain choc-mud fruitcake warm fruit and raisined edge. In some ways that ultra concentrated, inky and ultra ripe warm fruit style is distracting, yet you can taste that there was care, good oak and decent fruit underneath, even if the raised acidity indicates that fruit needed some adjustment in the winery.
Ultimately this reminds me somewhat of the old Fox Creek Reserve Shiraz this, all tarry mid-palate and licoricey flavours in a massive, porty mould. Whilst I found it just a little too much like drinking choc fruit cake initially, there is something to be said for this sort of decadence. Much like one of those ridiculously dense, double choc mud cakes, the sort that you can polish off (and enjoy) half a piece and then need to stop as your arteries have begun to clog…
Score: 17/20 91/100
Would I buy it? No, but I like the promise.