Saturday, April 16, 2011


- McLaren Vale, SA
- $18
- Screwcap
- 14.0%alc

Smidge Wines is a project of winemaker Matt Wenk, a man well known for his work at Two Hands in the Barossa Valley. The Smidge range covers a classically South Australian set of styles, including McLaren Vale Shiraz, Barossa Shiraz and Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc, as well as some less common regional/stylistic match-ups, such as Langhorne Creek Zinfandel and Barossa Valley Shiraz/Zinfandel.

A rather joyous whiff of varnishy, secondhand vanilla oak jumps from the glass of Smidge's 2009 Houdini Shiraz, slightly obscuring a fruit profile that does take time to open up, but when it does, it's pleasingly regional and sweetly fruited without being over-ripe. Aromas of raspberry, boysenberry and sour plums reside in the bouquet, with a minor lift provided by notes of menthol and cinnamon. Its palate is medium-bodied and vibrant, with no awkward or unwanted distractions, allowing a bright, balanced and appealling array of juicy choc-berry flavours to be strung together by sour-edged acids, in a simple, easy drinking manner. There are hints of dried fruit, lightly spiced vanilla oak and maybe a faint hardness at the finish, but those refreshingly sour-edged acids confidently stride through, cleaning up the aftertaste like a good wax finish. Just pass the BBQ pork spare ribs please...

ü Thanks to its bright flavours, contained alcohol, medium-weight and most importantly; balance, Smidge's 2009 Houdini is a stylish quaffing shiraz from a difficult season. Drink to 2015.
89 points

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