Barossa Valley, South Australia
$34.98 in Indianapolis
Maturation: 15 months, 100% American oak hogsheads
(25% new, 60% 1-year old, 15% 2-year old)
The little guy in the picture just loved this wine.
From the winemaker:
Overall, the 2004 vintage in Australia proved to be quite a challenge for winemakers and viticulturists. A roller-coaster ride, in fact. After the drought conditions of 2003 the high winter rainfall that followed was most welcome. We were off to a great start, and our hopes soared. In contrast, December, mid-season for vine growth, was the hottest we had seen in 10 years. January brought mild, windy weather but was followed by searing heat in February. Thankfully toward the end of the month the heat wave broke, and the rest of the vintage saw cool, sunny days that allowed the fruit to ripen slowly under much more gentle conditions. Harvest itself was late, well into April.
The 2004 Shiraz typifies our desire to allow the vineyard and the climatic conditions of the year to be expressed in the resultant wine. This wine is deep and rich in color, interestingly exhibiting characters of white and black peppercorn, classic characteristics of Shiraz grown in cooler climates. This is representative, along with slightly lower p/h and alcohol content, of the mild, cool finish to the season. The wine is earthy with plum undertones and has beautiful, natural acidity evident on the finish. This is a delicious food friendly wine that will age for many years. Enjoy!
The color was deep garnet. The nose gave up dark cherries and plums, pepper and nutmeg. It was wonderfully promising, offering a suggestion of a well-balanced wine. it kept that promise, too, opening with cherries, plums, vanilla and white pepper, then caramel and blackberry. It was fruity, but a strong backbone of smooth tannins and good acidity gave it great balance.
I did not put the bottle back in the cellar between night one and night two, so the second night was tasted at room temperature. The nose on night two was plums and raspberries. The palate opened with blueberry, plums and vanilla, with a midpalate of black fruit and a bit of oak. Tannins were even softer than the night before, even silky, and the backbone was still firm enough to balance the sweetness.
This wine was not cheap, at $34 a bottle, but I would put this up against any $50-$75 big name Australian shiraz, and have another bottle left to drink later. Maybe the key was a mere 25% new oak, rather than the 100% new oak of the big blowsy fruit bombs floating over from the land down under these days.