2018 Tyrrell’s Hunter Valley Shiraz

Another wine that shows its sense of place with conviction. Very ripe but not gushingly sweet raspberries, a little toffee and spiced biscuits and the smell of a dry dusty country road. So different to the tubby, generously talkative Shiraz of South Australia, more the wiry, taciturn leanness of a quiet Chips Rafferty. Lovely gentle ripeness carried by some crisp but not crunchy acidity and fine grape skin tannin. An impression of savoury restraint compared to other Aussie Shiraz. Good wine places can be confounding, how does such a hot, sometimes humid and torrid, place give birth to such gentle ripeness? Tyrrell’s seem to keep finding magic in those old soils. Hope they bounce back in 2021 after a dreadful 2020.

13.50% of modest alcohol. Screwcap. $20 on special.

92 points.

2013 Jamsheed Seville Syrah

Whole bunch Shiraz from the cool volcanic soil end of the beautiful Yarra Valley. Sure, there’s some mulchy almost tequila like aromas but mostly it’s lots of dark raspberries, cherries and aniseed tinged earth. A bit of bottle age has helped the typically rich but fresh Yarra fruit swallow up the stalky tannin and crisp acidity. It’s all very svelte and dress circle Yarra Valley.

13.50% alcohol. Diam. $45 a few years back.

94 points.

2012 Delbard Premium Reserve Shiraz

From a farmers’ market and an affable informed producer. After an alarmingly early taste one winter morning, this seemed worth a bottle try. The bottle tasted really well over a couple of days, clean, well made, settled acidity and a lovely even ripeness at what indeed seemed to be low alcohol. At a shade over $20 if memory serves, three bottles added to the weight of fruit and veggies on the way home from the next market. Roughly five years later and this is still fresh, pure and beautifully red fruited. There’s a little ethyl acetate lift but this only serves to brighten the aromas. Raspberries and cherries galore in pristine form. A sprig of mint and a sprinkle of earthy spice, all carried along with that natural feeling acidity and fine emery tannin. Beautifully grown fruit but perhaps not much of it as the vintage label is a small one adhered to the larger producer label. Not much spent on the packaging but much care in the growing and making. Must be good, it’s Premium and Reserve!

12.50% alcohol. Diam. $20 ish.

94 points.

2010 S C Pannell Syrah

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.

93 points.

2010 Jean-Luc Colombo Saint Joseph Les Lauves

Not to be confused with the squinting cigar waving TV detective, M. Colombo has long been associated with a modern, techno approach to Northern Rhône Syrah including lavish amounts of new oak. Surprisingly this seems more traditionally restrained albeit nicely clean. Foresty dark red fruits, baking spices, smoke and a violet menthol lift. Resolved, round and savoury in flavour with good raspberry and cherry fading gently into crepuscular, lovely word, resolution. A quietly assured balance of fruit, savour, acid and tannin. Wouldn’t leave it much longer to linger in the cellar though.

13% alcohol. Cork. Lucky hugely discounted buy when the importer quit their remaining stock.

92 points.

2018 Gravity Stardust Heathcote Shiraz

A twinkling bargain amongst some astronomically priced Australian Shiraz. That’s nearly exhausted the bad space puns. Clean smells of brown woody spices, bay leaf, sage, little bit of mint, dark raspberries, plums and a touch of tar. All carried through the mouth by comfortable acidity and fine stem and skin tannin. Just a bit reticent at the moment. A year or two may allow the berry fruit to shine. A touch more fruit concentration and the label would need charity status. Difficult to find such flavour for twenty terrestrial Australian currency units these days.

13.80% alcohol. Screw cap. $20.

92 points.

2017 Macaw Creek Organic PF Shiraz

The same day as this tasty Shiraz was opened, a walk along the pier at Lorne on the Great Ocean Road found a lonely Northern Giant Petrel looking for lunch next to somebody’s thoughtless disposal of a “reusable” plastic bag. Hence the sad iPad photo. Humans are odd, some carefully grow organic grapes, others use the ocean as their rubbish bin. Happily the Shiraz was a surprisingly fresh, straightforward mouthful of very ripe berries, tar and a little mocha. Very bright, primary and forward but still shows quality fruit. None of that yeasty, doughy breath of the more extreme examples of zero sulphur addition. Really looks quite stable. Puzzling how it avoids added sulphur and looks…er..normal? Low ph and a good sterile filter maybe? Intriguing or probably not if you just enjoy a glass of wine without too much nonsense.

14.50% alcohol. Screwcap and a lightweight bottle too. $20.

91 points.