Good value Australian shiraz continues to impress, says JOHN SAKER.
WE’RE NOT AS MUCH in awe of the shiraz made by our ANZAC cousins as we used to be, especially since we found our own red wine mojo over the past couple of decades. But a measure of respect will always remain for what is, after all, a wine style that is a major global player. “Australian shiraz is one of the most consistent red wine value propositions in the world,” said Cuisine panel judge Sam Harrop MW. “That was evident at this tasting. There were few ordinary wines among the 80-odd we tasted. It was a hugely impressive line up.” Panel chair John Belsham was more circumspect in summing up the shiraz tasting. “There were certainly many well made examples. They were technically correct, and have clearly come off a well-structured production line. The overall standard of winemaking is very good. But here’s the caveat: I wasn’t excited by any individual wines – impressed but not excited.”
THE SHINGLEBACK LABEL has gone back to back, the Shingleback Davey Estate 2014 having taken out top honours last year. This year’s champion is a big, deep, lively wine, inky dark, with a nose of violets, chocolate and pepper. The fruit is very ripe but not to the detriment of freshness and vitality. Helping in this regard are slaty tannins that give the wine an attractive edge of minerality. Still tightly wound, this elegant yet urgent wine will reward time in the cellar. (A)
EASY TO LIKE Shingleback winemaker and co-proprietor John Davey describes our top shiraz as “the relaxed guy at the party with the open-neck shirt who gets along with everyone.” He says he hesitates to use the term ‘icon’ wine, but he puts The Gate on a top pedestal with the label’s ‘D Block’ range. “But while the D Block wines take time to open up, The Gate is more of a fun wine, giving immediate satisfaction. It’s quite traditional, deeply coloured and rich. We go to the edge of the cliff of ripeness but don’t jump.” Davey is currently working his 30th vintage as a winemaker. For most of those he has worked for large companies, but the last 10 have been with Shingleback, an estate and brand he created with his brother Kym. “These are wines I have designed from the ground up. We planted the vineyards here in McLaren Vale and have done everything the way we wanted.” When it came to choosing a food match, he said despite having unconventional leanings in that regard (he has been known to eat it with fish), he’d probably recommend steak béarnaise or beef bourguignon.
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The McLaren Vale, the cradle of South Australian wine production, is known …3
This is a wine that regularly wins plaudits at Cuisine tastings for its …4
The fruit for this magnificent wine is sourced 53% from the Eden …5