To begin my wine reviews I've looked through my recent shiraz writings and chosen 8 bottles; Burge Family Winemaker's Draycott 2006, Coriole 2006, Henschke Mount Edelstone 2005, Leasingham Classic Clare 2006, Mountadam Barossa 2006, Oliver's Taranga 2006, Penfolds Grange 2004 and the Yering Station Shiraz Viognier 2006. To the best of my knowledge they're all still current vintages and are certainly available in retail stores.
The Mount Edelstone was reviewed in late May 2008 but it really is an exceptional wine for what was a difficult vintage throughout South Australia. Yering Station's Shiraz Viognier was reviewed last November, but other than that all the reviews were conducted within the last few months, so really, the wines shouldn't have changed much.
Sorry about not including individual photos of each wine at this stage. Once I get over the initial set-up stage and back into reviewing individual wines I promise I'll try to include photos of every wine reviewed. Enjoy!
BURGE FAMILY WINEMAKERS DRAYCOTT SHIRAZ 2006
- Region: Barossa Valley, SA
- Price: $34-$43
A near cult wine with a small but loyal following, the Draycott is best known for its overt ripeness, high alcohol and generous proportions; all trademarks of modern day Barossa shiraz.
Initially displaying suppressed varietal character, with extended aeration it opens to reveal a dark, ripe fragrance of currants, bitter chocolate, game and smoky oak, showing hidden depth and true integration of aromatic quality. Silky smooth and impressively concentrated; extravagantly dark, sinister flavours of ripe black fruits and cooked meat travel down the palate in a penetrative, intimidating fashion, working into a very long, precise finish framed by ultra fine tannins and bright acidity. In true Rick Burge style the use of high quality French oak bonds and harmonises the wine, turning what could've been an up front ripe, plump, cooked fruit and alcohol explosion, into something much more elegant and balanced.
ü+ A bona-fide, big Barossa shiraz which is significantly cheaper than many of its rivals, the 2006 Draycott is ideal for enthusiasts of the style. Drink to 2024.
CORIOLE SHIRAZ 2006
- Region: McLaren Vale, SA
- Price: $25-$38
Under the esteemed guidance of Mark Lloyd, Coriole produce one of McLaren Vale's finest collections of red wine. The 2006 Shiraz is my pick of their bunch until the much delayed release of the 2006 Lloyd Reserve arrives.
Vividly coloured, its deep set nose reveals evenly matched dark plum, raspberry and exotic spice aromas with some finely tuned vanilla/chocolate oak. Typically smooth and brightly fruited, the sour edged palate contains a combination of small red/dark fruit flavours with a penetrating influence of cloves and cinnamon, which push the wine into a lingering, dusty finish framed by fine-grained tannins and clean acidity.
ü+ Deliciously long and lively, balanced and with more structure and finesse than many from the Vale; Coriole's 2006 Shiraz perfectly follows in the footsteps of the brilliant 2002 (94pts) and 2004 (94pts) wines. A superb result for the season. Drink to 2018.
HENSCHKE MOUNT EDELSTONE SHIRAZ 2005
- Region: Eden Valley, SA
- Price: $75-$130
Henschke's highly regarded, single vineyard (vines planted 1912) Mount Edelstone sits behind the almighty Hill of Grace in their exquisite hierarchy of super-premium red wines, but some critics would argue that the Mount Edelstone offers a more satisfying drinking experience.
Bright purple/red, the evenly ripened aroma of the 2005 presents a well fruited nose of plush dark plum and raspberry notes, supported by undertones of light pepper and vanilla/cedar oak. Elegantly concentrated, with an essence-like texture, its palate shows wonderful flavour intensity. Nuances of ripe plums, redcurrant and cassis are complemented by its stylish, smooth chocolate/cedar oak influence, as it builds in a savoury fashion, finishing firm with a tight spine of assertive, grainy tannin.
ü+ Marvellously concentrated, elegant and stylish; a superbly balanced 2005 South Australian shiraz. Drink to 2025.
LEASINGHAM CLASSIC CLARE SHIRAZ 2006
- Region: Clare Valley, SA
- Price: $39-$59
As the historic Leasingham winery remains for sale, the Constellation brand continues to deliver beautiful Clare Valley wines. Without a shred of doubt, their current pair of Classic Clare Shiraz and Classic Clare Sparkling Shiraz are among the region's best.
A fragrance of dark, richly fruited quality introduces aromas of ripe plums, fruitcake, redcurrants and mocha oak, overlying nuances of menthol and spice. Its full and deep palate is a marvellous reflection of Clare shiraz, unloading smooth, extravagantly ripened red and black fruit flavours along a faintly juicy undercarriage, with a fistful of fine tannins and excellent length providing the necessary structure and balance for a wine of its substantial magnitude.
ü+ An excellent example of a very ripe and exuberant, deep, darkly fruited Clare Valley Shiraz. Drink to 2024.
MOUNTADAM BAROSSA SHIRAZ 2006
- Region: Eden Valley/Barossa Valley, SA
- Price: $17-$32
After a less than ideal period of ownership under LVMH, Mountadam has rebounded strongly through new owner David Brown and the winemaking talents of ex-Petaluma man Con Moshos. A kind and personable winemaker, Con has dramatically improved Mountadam's wines, but it interests me how their 2006 Barossa shiraz is predominantly Eden Valley sourced (60%).
Coloured with ruby red hues, it's floral and savoury, with minty aromas of peppered red berries and cedar. Medium in body, the elegant palate's flavour profile essentially matches its nose with savoury, peppered red berry notes ensconced by fine, sandy tannins. It ends in a spicy fashion with persistent cola and aniseed tones lasting well into the aftertaste.
ü Elegant and harmonious, Mountadam's 2006 Shiraz is a savoury, spicy cool-climate style set for the medium term. It's perfectly made for pasta carbonara. Drink to 2014.
OLIVER'S TARANGA SHIRAZ 2006
- Region: McLaren Vale, SA
- Price: $28-$36
Given some difficult conditions, I believe Oliver's Taranga has performed as well as anyone in McLaren Vale across the last few seasons. By not resorting to unsuitable varieties, they've shown considerable focus throughout their range of wines, which handsomely display a level of savoury elegance and finesse practically unmatched in the region.
A fraction closed but deep, this 2006 shiraz reveals darkly fruited aromas of black cherries and plum over whiffs of savoury cedar/vanilla oak and bitter chocolate. Full and stylish, the palate displays the maker's trademark elegance throughout its velvet texture, delivering a composed balance of dark cherry, plum and berry flavours with a framework of sour edged fruit. With bright acidity and good length, it extends into a vibrant, clean finish punctuated by lasting impressions of regional fruits and olive.
ü+ Unsurprisingly to anyone familiar with the brand, Oliver's Taranga has over achieved with their vibrantly fruited, yet elegantly composed 2006 Shiraz. Drink to 2018.
PENFOLDS GRANGE 2004
- Region: South Australia
- Price: $550-$660
It's hard to recall a more anticipated Australian wine this century than the 2004 Grange. With the global financial crisis looming large, its importance is undeniable. A hugely successful Grange from a recognised vintage, could help to rekindle foreign interest in ultra-premium Australian wine.
Rather gamey and truffley on the nose, with deep set notes of richly fruited redcurrants, blueberry and cassis, it reveals a perfumed fragrance of polished vanilla/mocha oak and cola, overlying faint tones of menthol and shoe polish. Particularly strong yet smooth and balanced, a sensuous, velvet-like texture builds with wave upon wave of flavour and structure. Its perfectly pitched ripeness shows a complex array of luscious red and black berry fruits, meshed with a beautifully integrated influence of classy, tight-knit oak and exceptionally fine, powdery, almost heavy tannins (possibly from the 4% cabernet sauvignon). The 2004 Grange powers its way into an intense finish of almost never ending length. As a point of interest: I could still feel its tannic imprint in my mouth over an hour after drinking one glass.
ü+ A brilliant reflection of its season, this is an extremely delicious, approachable young Grange (if you can handle getting mouth bashed by tannins), which might make it difficult to hold onto for the necessary 40-50 years to see it reach its peak. Drink to 2054.
YERING STATION SHIRAZ VIOGNIER 2006
- Region: Yarra Valley, VIC
- Price: $20-$30
Continuing to sell for less than $25, Yering Station's is the most delicious, reliable and best example of a co-fermented shiraz viognier within its price range.
Intensely fragrant and floral, its ultra-ripe nose bursts with sweet fruit, unfolding to reveal aromas of dried apricot, red cherry, plum, spices and sweet coconut/vanilla oak. An assertive influence of viognier adds character and lift. Distinctly medium to full in body, its smooth flavours drive in an elegant, silky manner, displaying vibrant notes of berry fruits, sour edged plums and creamy vanilla oak. It finishes savoury with considerable length, presenting a fine tapestry of polished tannins and lively acids.
ü More refined but essentially as good as the immediately delicious 2005 (93pts), the 2006 continues an unbroken line of great shiraz viognier wines from Yering Station. It'll be interesting to see how they'll cope with the loss of Tom Carson. Drink to 2016.