Friday, April 6, 2012

A Dark and Meaty Aussie "Syrah"

It's not often that I  see an Australian wine labeled "syrah" instead of  "shiraz." But, then again, it's not every day I drink an Australian syrah with this much Old World mystique. By bucking the Australian trend, the winemaker is making a statement: this is not your average Aussie shiraz. And I agree.

This single-vineyard syrah is dark purple colored with thick legs. I poured this bottle into a decanter to get rid of some sediment and give it some air. Initially the aromas were dark and tightly-packed. Over the course of a few hours it started to smell like a Starbucks espresso machine, with these grainy, roasted aromas. There's a really peppery aspect to the aromas as well, like peppered beef. That beef aroma got more prominent over the course of the evening.

On the palate, this wine is dark and intriguing, not loud and obnoxious. I approach most Australian shiraz with a level of caution, always a bit nervous that the wine is going to destroy my throat with oak and pruned fruit. This wine is big, no doubt, but its also beautiful and - Dare I say it? - elegant. The grainy tannins grip the palate from start to finish. The fruit starts off as compact, but after a few hours of air, the wine began expressing pure plum and cranberry fruit. The focus and precision of the flavors is amazing. Blended in with the fruit are intriguing flavors of beef bouillon, pepper-crusted steak and charcoal. There's an Australian richness and density to the fruit, but an homage to the syrahs of France's Northern Rhone Valley, especially with the iron flavor on the finish.

I'd be thrilled to drink this wine again in five more years, because it's still young at nine years of age. 

A completely subjective, nearly meaningless 94 points.

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