Category Archives: Australian Shiraz

Apr 04 2017

The seriously delicious Hentley Farm Clos Otto Shiraz

Posted on April 04, 2017 | By merrill@cellarit.com

In the early years of this century, Americans couldn’t seem to get enough of Australia’s top wines, especially the full-bodied and sometimes ridiculously rich shiraz from the Barossa and beyond.

But a spiralling Aussie dollar, changing tastes and some serious competition from both the New and Old Worlds led to an almost sudden collapse in fortune for the Australian wine export market.

As The Wine Advocate’s Lisa Perrotti-Brown highlights in a recent report, today the South Australian wineries which have continued to make a mark by actively selling internationally “largely fall into one of three categories: 1) those coming from well-established 30+ year-old wineries that, like their ancient vines, have the quality foundations to weather the vagaries of difficult times (think Henschke, Yalumba, Jim Barry, Elderton, etc.); 2) the 10- to 30-year-old wineries that survived the storm by being not just a cut above the rest, but several cuts above the rest (e.g. Torbreck, John Duval, Glaetzer, and Hentley Farm); and 3) a precious few newcomers that have managed to get overseas representation, because they are seriously impressive (e.g. Powell & Son and Sons of Eden).” (South Australia Part 1 – Slow Burn by Lisa Perrotti-Brown, The Wine Advocate 30 June 2016)

Certainly, no-one can deny the pedigree and staying power of The Hentley Farm Clos Otto Shiraz. Made with vines planted by previous owner Otto Kasper using a cutting from an ageing and “secret” shiraz clone, and tended to “with almost antique machinery and a well-practiced hand”, the Clos Otto vineyard (purchased by Hentley Farm in 2004) consistently yields super low quantities with ultra rich flavours. Yet its ability to combine richness and intensity with complexity and elegance has earned it a very loyal following and a serious price tag.

Here’s Perrotti-Brown’s 96+ review of the 2013 vintage:

Maintaining a very youthful deep garnet-purple color, the 2013 Shiraz Clos Otto is a little coy and mute to begin, opening out to crushed blackberry, cassis and licorice notes with dark chocolate,.. [Read More]

Feb 02 2017

John Duval Eligo Shiraz 2013 – Named by the Wine Advocate’s Lisa Perrotti-Brown as one of her favourites for 2016

Posted on February 02, 2017 | By merrill@cellarit.com

I couldn’t help thinking that John Duval would have been chuffed to see his 2013 Eligo Shiraz share company with the 2012 Penfolds Grange and the 2013 Giaconda Estate Vineyard Chardonnay as the best current release Australian wines from 2016 according to the Wine Advocate’s Lisa Perrotti-Brown. (Current Releases: Best of Australia 2016)

After all, Duval started his own boutique label in 2003 after a legendary career as chief winemaker at Penfolds. He was responsible for making the Penfolds Grange and developing the highly successful RWT label… [Read More]

Feb 02 2017

2016 Wine of the Year: Tyrrell’s Old Patch Shiraz 2014

Posted on February 02, 2017 | By merrill@cellarit.com

Recently wine critic Nick Stock announced his Top 100 Australian Wines for 2016 in a report for JamesSuckling.com. Describing the character of the list, Stock remarked that it “encapsulates the growing divide between the classic wines and producers and the current generation of younger makers who are redefining the notions of great Australian wine.”

Tyrrell’s Old Patch Shiraz 2014, the 2016 Wine of the Year, is a wine that certainly sits in the former category. According to Stock, it’s an example of how “established producers who have custodianship of gifted terroirs are making the most of their land.”.. [Read More]

Aug 08 2016

The Ageing Potential of Australia’s Great Wines

Posted on August 08, 2016 | By merrill@cellarit.com

The Wine Advocate’s Lisa Perrotti Brown named her top three wines for 2015. These aren’t current vintage wines, but rather rare treats she’s been lucky to sample, often in the company of the winemakers themselves. Of the three,  two were Australian – a 1982 Cullens Cabernet Sauvignon, Margaret River and a Wendouree Shiraz, Clare Valley 1995. The third – unsurprisingly I guess – was a 1967 Echezeaux, Domaine de La Romanee Conti! (I’m guessing few people in the world would have a chance to try one of those!) (Lisa Perrotti Brown’s Guide to the Best of 2015,.. [Read More]

Jul 07 2016

Powell & Son – A “Seriously Impressive” new wine label

Posted on July 07, 2016 | By merrill@cellarit.com

In her recent report on South Australian wines, the Wine Advocate’s Lisa Perrotti-Brown singled out two newcomers, Powell & Son and Sons of Eden, as “seriously impressive.”

Anyone familiar with the Barossa’s fabled Torbreck Wines would have already guessed that the Powell in Powell & Son is none other than Torbreck founder Dave Powell. Dave teamed up with his 22 year old son Callum a couple of years ago to start a new small-scale eponymous wine label at the Riverside Vintners in Lyndoch… [Read More]

Nov 11 2015

Masterclass: The Stars Align for Hilltops’ Moppity Vineyards

Posted on November 11, 2015 | By merrill@cellarit.com

 

When the 2013 Moppity Vineyard Shiraz (rrp $70) won the Great Australian Wine Challenge last year, it marked the first time in the prestigious show’s 21 year history that a shiraz from NSW had received the top gong.

With the exception of the Brokenwood Graveyard Vineyard Hunter Valley Shiraz, which has the highest ranking of “Exceptional” in Langton’s Classification of Australian Wine VI, people tend to gravitate towards South Australia and Victoria for top examples of Australian shiraz… [Read More]

Nov 11 2015

Masterclass: Creating a Sense of Place – The Lane Vineyard, Adelaide Hills

Posted on November 11, 2015 | By merrill@cellarit.com

You know a winery is serious about “terroir” when they print the Google Earth coordinates of the particular block each wine comes from on the front label!

The Lane Vineyard, arguably the Adelaide Hills’ most picturesque vineyard, prides itself on creating wines that display their sense of place.

And it’s a very special place indeed!

Last year John Edwards, who founded the winery with his wife Helen, reminisced about their decision 22 years ago to buy a 70 ha cattle grazing property high in the Adelaide Hills overlooking the Onkaparinga Valley: “We’re so blessed to have bought this block rather than the one across the road… [Read More]

Sep 09 2015

Clonakilla Syrah 2013: “As good a Murrumbateman Shiraz as we have ever made”

Posted on September 09, 2015 | By merrill@cellarit.com

If you’ve ever wondered what NSW wine regions like the Canberra District and Burgundy have in common, you don’t have to look much further than vintage variation. Both regions are subjected to notoriously fickle weather. The wild swings in weather conditions keep vineyard managers on their toes and wine connoisseurs and critics endlessly guessing about the prospects of a particular vintage. In both regions, for example, unexpected severe frosts during the ripening period can almost wipe out crops!

But as the Wine Advocate’s Lisa Perrotti-Brown notes, “fickle weather makes interesting wine.”.. [Read More]

Feb 02 2015

The delights of drinking aged Penfolds Grange

Posted on February 02, 2015 | By merrill@cellarit.com

Over the past couple of months I’ve had the good fortune to try two bottles of aged Penfolds Grange, the 2003 and the 1982. Both were opened (as they should be!) to celebrate two very special occasions – first a memorable birthday and then a farewell retirement party for our warehouseman Joe.

The 2003 had an absolutely beguiling bouquet. Cedar, Asian spices, and an assortment of dark berries – the fruit was so fresh!

If I find the aroma of a wine really enticing,.. [Read More]

Sep 09 2014

Yalumba The Octavius Old Vine Shiraz – The Wine You Choose to Impress your Guests!

Posted on September 09, 2014 | By merrill@cellarit.com

In a recent review of Yalumba’s The Octavius Old Vine Shiraz 2008, The Wine Front’s Campbell Mattinson referred to it as “one of a select group of Ultimate Business Lunch Wines. When Barossa Shiraz is all that is called for, and nothing else will do.” (The Wine Front, 29 January 2014)

This comment sparked quite a bit of discussion from readers about other popular wines people like to order at important business lunches. Favourites include Penfolds Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz,.. [Read More]