2012 Best’s Great Western EVT 51 Riesling

Some people always bring a thoughtfully chosen and delicious bottle when they have to suffer my cooking. Great Western isn’t exactly renowned for Riesling but it’s got a long history there, particularly in old vineyards like Concongella and its ancient soil. Often broad and diffuse but not lacking a focus on some ripe lime marmalade, toast and a sweet green herby twist. All those flavours plus an old incense, almost eucalyptus perfume buried in the richness. Autumnally sun warm and still full of life. Not too fruit sweet though, a bit of a nutty savoury edge adds extra satisfaction. Perhaps it’s the influence of the big oak ferment instead of the usual clinical stainless steel? Not sure the food was as good as the wine.

13% alcohol. Screw cap. Another generous share.

94 points.

2009 Best’s Bin No. 1 Great Western Shiraz

A bottle of wine from the pile of cardboard boxes euphemistically called a cellar and made from fruit harvested in a hot dry year, its time had come. Rich blackberries and that camphor and old leather bottle development. Clean as an onsen bath and full of rich, black treacle fruit, it’s pulled back by some savoury, dusty earth. The tannin’s fallen back into the whole and it’s freshened by some acidity that’s just a bit too raucous for its own good, trying to shout over the warmth of the ethanol. Sure, you could say it’s a bit too engineered and warm but the blackberries and tar still speak of a warm, ancient and beautiful place. Don’t think you can enjoy wine properly without being a romantic hedonist. Go on, scoff.

14.50% alcohol. Screwcap. About $24 and not much more for the current release, under appreciated.

92 points.

2015 Best’s Great Western Bin 1 Shiraz

The Grampians and Great Western, a place of quiet brilliance. Never had the scale of production or popularity but for a few of us a favourite Australian Shiraz. Somehow it makes wine without those sometimes too raucous eucalypt perfumes of Victoria. This is bright with dark berries and plums all in perfect harmony with that sweetly savoury tarry earthiness of those dusty soils. Oak’s a faint seasoning. The scale is the big hearted Aussie Shiraz but there’s a poised balance of perfume and earth, firm tannin, acid and fruit that’s unlikely in it’s subtle assurance. Given time, the fruit should get nice and sweet. Best’s go on their quiet way. In the last few vintages the alcohols are getting lower and the sense of place more in focus.

14% alcohol. Screw Cap. $25.

94 points.