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.

2008 Pierre Naigeon La Reserve Yarra Valley Shiraz

A brief Dan Murphy’s flirtation with an own label under the name of a visiting Burgundian winemaker. Rumour at the time suggested it was made by the excellent Gary Mills of Jamsheed renown from fruit picked at the impeccably run Sylvan Vineyard. It certainly looks that way with a lift of whole bunch mulch, then some beautifully ripe dark red fruit and fine brown spices. The palate adds a fine mature draw of just right acidity and the finest silky tannins. The poise of good North End Rhône but with the extra richness of typically gentle Yarra fruit. Tenez ça messieurs!

14% alcohol. Screwcap. $19 on clearance, originally $39 and still a bargain at that!

92 softly mature and just right to drink points.

2008 Seppelt St Peters Grampians Shiraz

In theory from a very old vineyard in Great Western that’s on the Heritage Council of Victoria database. 2008 was a memorable season as the first Monday of the month hit 35 degrees and then got a degree hotter each day for a week, the promised cooler weather receding with each daily forecast. This dark and forbiddingly dense wine shows how those old vine berries hung on and still produced. For the first two days of opening, it just stayed impressively ungiving, dusty and lacking fruit sweetness. Palpable flavours of dry bushland baking in crackling heat. Dry dark rocks and road tar. The remaining half ullaged bottle then enjoyed a two hour car trip getting sloshed around tight Ocean Road bends. So, three days open, shaken and still no oxidation! In fact some sweet blackberry fruit emerged from the dark carbon steel depths. Drying oak flavours and tannin only help to emphasise the frown. Incredible tannin of dry sun shrivelled skins too and some slightly poking out acid. Probably going to live for many years in a cranky surly way. Me too, hopes.

14% alcohol. Screwcap. $60 approx.

93 dark and serious 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.

2012 The Story Tinkers Grampians Shiraz

A long term love of Shiraz from the Grampians and Great Western has led to a few vintages of Rory Lane’s wine being held captive in the dark, cool cave. This 2012 blend of three vineyards is just over medium bodied and more of a supple sinewy gymnast than the hot vintage musclemen. Perfumed with Aussie bush, woody stems, dark boysenberry and smoky oak. The flavours draw evenly and long with more spiced cherries and cane berries floating on those whole bunch savoury tannins and well integrated acidity. All the parts make a delicious resolved whole with some age. Lovely narrative arc in flavour, Rory of the Story.

13.50% alcohol. Screwcap. $21.99 at the old and missed King and Godfrey.

93 points.

2012 Chapter Southern Heathcote Shiraz

A good mate found this had fallen behind a pile of boxes under the house. The two chaps on the label peering from the gloom. Opened well with clean red fruit, some spice and pepper and a good seasoning of Central Victoria in the form of gum tree and mint. Ripe but not overblown. Sweet gentle raspberries and compact glide to a well controlled end. Just enough rasp of glossy tannin to carry a satisfying conclusion. Developing nicely. Lovely medium weight wine of place. Think somebody better get back under the floorboards and go fishing for another?

13% alcohol. Screwcap. $22.

93 points.