Mayhem & Co. Small Berries Shiraz 2012 (McLaren Vale, SA)
13.8%, Screwcap, $42
It wasn’t a deliberate ‘fuck you Orange’ move, but this was simply the first bottle to hand that I grabbed going out the door (and not having wine on hand is simply not right). I must say, it provided a perfect counterpart to the leaner, white pepper driven, cool and spicy Orange Shiraz styles. Not necessarily better, just different. It barely moved all the weekend too, suggesting that it’s only going to get better.
Sourced from the (biodynamically managed) Springs Hill vineyard in Blewitt Springs, this was wild fermented, spent 36 days on skins and spent 14 months in 30% new oak. Deft winemaking and a clever wine to show for it.
It opens a fraction reductive and closed, the polished, if slightly underwhelming nose hiding the glory underneath. For the red fruited palate is a very model of modern McLaren Vale Shiraz – vibrant, moderately intense, finely tannic, driven by mid palate juiciness with just enough chocolate oak to fill out the edges. It’s anything but dark and heavy, with an almost Grenache like red fruit clarity, finishing slightly oak sweet, but otherwise fine and long.
Oh and did I mention how good the tannin profile is here? It constantly annoys me that so many warm clime Australian Shiraz gets pressed off before ferments have gone dry, with maceration fervently ignored for fear of ‘astringency’. Let a wine like this show that such an opinion is a slightly ignorant one. Don’t even get me started about the similar belief that McLaren Vale Shiraz can’t be fermented naturally…
A perfectly composed, mid-weight Shiraz that is too young to be brilliant, but is so well composed that it deserves praise.
Score: 18.1/20 93/100
Would I buy it? Yes. I’d keep it for another 12 months at least, but otherwise a pretty tasty red.