The 2014 Jimmy Watson Trophy winner no less and a measure of how the pendulum of Australian Shiraz fashion swung away from muscled ripeness on the limit dressed in coconut and vanilla. My memory could well be failing but perhaps this was on the shelves at King and Godfrey in Carlton before the RM show results were announced? I remember a floor stack priced at something like $26 a bottle which then went up to full RRP of $30. Not exactly profiteering. Time to open one and see if age has wearied it. Not much it seems. A waft of dusty bottle age, then fresh dark berries, spice and tarry earth come bounding from the glass. Rich in fruit held by a glide of velvet tannin. Second day and really up on its toes. Fresher dark berries and bright cherry fruit light up the middle with spice and white pepper. Perfect middle weight. The brown woody stems fit seamlessly into the settled acidity. All good things folded into each other. So neat and tidy but delicious. Syrah or Shiraz notwithstanding, it’s still one of the best new wave efforts to find its way into my glass. Glad I bought a couple.
14% alcohol. Screw cap. $26 if memory serves.
Started 93 points but rose to 94 and then 95 perhaps.
From a meagre range of two samples, both from La Línea, it seems Mencia could be right at home in the Adelaide Hills. Such is its obscurity still that it only took an average bid of $15.80 each to win three bottles of different vintages at auction. Hope it doesn’t catch on. This bottle is spanking fresh and deliciously so. Evenly ripe with bright whole berry fruit, there’s violet florals, stewed strawberries, blueberry, almond and a darker twist of fruit and nut chocolate. Cool and composed, the structure has a mouthwatering cut of rocky acidity and skin tannin. Sort of invigorating like those Spanish versions. Love the cheeky location reference in Spanish on the back label.
13% alcohol. Screw cap. $15.80 at auction including delivery. Wish all my bids were so good.
93 points for a beautiful grape variety.
A 2019 and the last from the three different vintage bottles from auction just goes to show how idiotic generalisations are in wine. More dilute and lacking the just so ripeness of 2018 and 2021. Looks a shade or two away from the succulent. Bit of that Australian supermarket strawberry that’s a bit sugary but hasn’t developed the warm in season fragrance of summer. Dried herb and a bit of toffee leads to an end that’s teetering on a green edge, not quite there. In its defence, great to see the season writ in the making rather than submerged.
From the pretty Lenswood area of the Adelaide Hills, this is one of those attempts at a Spaniard new to Australia which is so good it makes you think the immigrant may have found a happy home. The front label is a nice graphic but it doesn’t tell you much at all, so the image is the clear, decent size font back label. Composed smells of currants, dried cherries and raspberries rest on a savoury couch of nut paste and tiny blip of coffee oak. Unusually for rich Aussie fruit, there’s a cut of natural fine acidity, yes, the sort that makes wine freaks think of licking wet stones. Tightly wound fine tannin too. Second day, some blueberry and sweet tobacco. Such an interesting variety. Sort of like mixing up good North end Rhône Syrah and Cabernet Franc, if that makes any sense? Probably my over active imagination but there’s a real sense of the sort of composure that suggests Mencia will be happy up in the hills.
13% alcohol. Screw cap. $29.
92 points but a bonus for serendipity.
Three Rieslings in a week and not a dud. It’s possibly the only variety that appears on auction sites that consistently sells for less than the original retail, Grosset from great years excepted, of course. This is another ageing with some grace, still a pale colour and hanging on to the aromas of youth. Yes, lime and citrus naturally but again more in the way of mandarin, apples and something that brings to mind those spice notes of Alsatian versions. Beautiful flavours immaculately controlled by svelte acidity and a fruit sweetness born of flavour or a scintilla of residual, hard to tell. Softly autumnal untrammelled by coarse phenolic extract. Over many seasons, a deeply thoughtful producer of great craft. Those of us who visited the cellar door high in the hills were always in for a treat and stunning bargains in the form of those Galahs!
13% alcohol. Screwcap. $24.50 at auction.
A delicious Shiraz from the beautiful Adelaide hills opened the day before homes, vineyards and livelihoods were tragically lost to bushfire. Named Syrah as a signpost to the Northern Rhône and its restrained balance of fruit, spice and stalky earthy complexity. Age has smoothed things but the lively Australian fruit still has a rich red berried, warmth which is comfortably wrapped up in a nutty, stalky coat. There’s deep brown baking spice too which brings to mind Shiraz from the Canberra region, same sort of latitude, altitude and attitude perhaps? Touch of Rhône like stony incense adds detail and cuts the richness. The structure holds it all together with natural feeling acidity and ripe chocolate tannin. Hopes for some cool weather, rain and a brave recovery helped by buying a good bottle or two from those hills.
14% alcohol. Screwcap. Was about $26 in 2012.