A nature-lovin', preservative-questionin' friend of mine regularly quizzes me about wine and why sulphur dioxide is essential to its production. So, it was with his consistent inquisition and my own sense of curiosity, that I jumped at the chance to share a bottle of Battle of Bosworth's preservative-free Puritan Shiraz with him. I only wish I had thought of it last year, when the 2010 was around. Whatever the result, I feel good having purchased a wine from the organic shop for once.
Within the first hour, this SO2-free wine changes aroma like a woman changes outfit before a date. It's initially awkward, funky and unnervingly pongy, with a lingering scent I regret to describe as butt, but it quickly morphs into a more decipherable aroma of preserved fruits, with dates/prunes, dried apricots and boysenberry notes lifted by faint floral and musky edges, without the interference of oak. Relatively forward and smooth in a syrup-like fashion, its palate stains the mouth with dark and ripe, regional shiraz fruits and dirty, earthy undertones, but it could use more brightness, freshness and structural lift through the back section, while its length of fruit and overall impression fade off into a passive, sour/plummy conclusion. An optimist might see it as 'Joven' with a 'soft' finish, but others might just call it quaffing material.
O Despite my critique, I gotta applaud the guys at Battle of Bosworth. From a cold, wet vintage and without the use of SO2 or oak, they've managed to craft a shiraz of ample ripeness with enough freshness to make it more than slurpable. Novelty factor aside though, I must say it's not really my type of shiraz. I do wish I tried the 2010 first, but I'd still love to see more from this boundary-pushin' label in the future. Drink now.