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.
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.
Having really enjoyed Clonakilla’s great Shiraz during the nineties, it was nice to find a cheaper version with such a close connection. Almost ten years on this is developing just deliciously. Dark red fruit, tarry, earthen and leathery but still a freshness and lightness of being as good acid and tannin sweep up. The once noticeable oak has melded and there’s a sweet wealth of fruit right through the mouth. This wasn’t fashionably labelled a few years ago and Dan’s couldn’t sell it. Very happy to have scored a six pack for under $20 a bottle when they cleared it. Dare say it’s on allocation now?
14% alcohol. Screwcap. $20 then, mid thirties now.
Yet another 17 Victorian Shiraz. Again this one has those minty, gum tree regionals but there’s a smoky, touch of stem, new leather reference to the other part of the world that’s home for Syrah. At first it didn’t seem as rich and great as recent years but upon the second day it gained dark raspberry and sweet cherry flesh seasoned by woody spice. Poised, svelte and a slurpy freshness. Third day and it relaxed and faded a touch. As usual, a great sense of perfect ripeness, neither green nor overblown and tastefully made. More locals like this, please.
13.50% alcohol. Screwcap. $27 well spent.
A lot of spicy, peppery and richly fruited wine from Langi Ghiran has flowed under my bridge since a first 1986 vintage from the long gone and still missed Richmond Hill Cellars. This seems like some of those earlier harvests before vintage dates started sliding forward with more precocious ripeness. Lovely soft just ripe red fruit, pepper and some old style Grampians’ bush scents. Just medium weight and not quite the power of recent hotter years. Perhaps just needs a touch more umphh for the longer term but a lovely taste of place and a bit of misty nostalgia.
13.80% alcohol. Screwcap. $27.
The possibility of less oak, less alcohol and less fruit cake and more fresh fruit was enough to sway the choice from the ever attractive shelves of Rathdowne Cellars, a stalwart Melbourne business. Heathcote at its best can produce red wine of naturally deep fruit flavour and balance and, goodness, this is one of ‘em. The freshest raspberry and it’s many cane fruit variants whizzed up with bay leaf. Indelible tannin and acidity that preserved and amplified the fruit over four or so days. Mostly Shiraz but the rest is a mystery. Perhaps some Grenache, Mourvèdre or even Tempranillo? Whatever, a few bottles for later looks likely.
14% alcohol, yes that’s relatively low for the average. Screwcap. $28.
Thanks to the great late Mark Shield the first vintage of Wynns Hermitage I bought and then bought some more was 1986 for $4.99. Miraculously it’s still only $12 on special at Dan’s and I still can’t help wanting to call it Hermitage. This vintage shows the late season in cool minty Aussie bush aromas and bright red fruits. Gentle tannin and acid carry it through to a calm easy end. If you want to see just how clever an almost industrial level of broad acre, large volume Australian wine can be and still taste like an honest agency of place, then this is it. Good old Wynns. Don’t touch please TWE.
13.50% alcohol. Screwcap. $12.