Wine review — Tyrrell’s, d’Arenberg & Marius Wines

Tyrrell’s Brokenback Hunter Valley Shiraz 2004 $20
The best Hunter shiraz has a fine-ness that belies its warm-climate origins. In the old days these were often called ‘Hunter Burgundy’ – partly in keeping with generic labelling of the time and partly because of structural, if not flavour, similarities to Burgundy (i.e. pinot noir from France’s Burgundy region). Good Hunter shiraz can be comparatively pale coloured, velvety smooth, surprisingly fine boned and extremely long lived. This modestly priced version from Tyrrell’s is sensational at the price. It delivers the flavour and finesse of the regional style and uses a subtle touch of French oak (in a generally old, large oak vat maturation regime) to add an attractive spicy bite to the flavour and finish.

d’Arenberg The Custodian McLaren Vale Grenache 2005 $19.95
Wrattonbully Vineyards Wrattonbully Tempranillo 2006 $18.55

I offer this combined tasting note because in Spain these two varieties are often blended together — and the Chateau Shanahan team tasted the wines side-by-side at a Spanish restaurant. Five tasters expressed a preference for the grenache, a particularly solid version of this style. It’s earthy, rich and sweet fruited with a savoury dryness that goes well with food – a particularly good example that avoids the tendency to confection-like flavours that can be a turn off.  The more fine-boned tempranillo is an impressive first release, after years of trials, from the Hill-Smith family’s vineyards at Wrattonbully, on the Limestone Coast, abutting Coonawarra on the northeast.

Marius Wines McLaren Vale:

  • Simpatico Single Vineyard Shiraz 2005 $24
  • Symphony Single Vineyard Shiraz 2005 $34
  • The Symposium Shiraz Mourvedre 2006 $29

These silky, delicious wines paint subtly different shades of shiraz, McLaren Vale’s dominant red variety. Crimson-rimmed Symposium shows the red-currant-like, aromatic lift of mourvedre melding seamlessly with the ripe shiraz – a fine, soft, seductive introduction to the trio. Simpatico is pure McLaren Vale shiraz – sweet, ripe and savoury with a tight and assertive-but-smooth tannic grip. Symphony, too, is pure shiraz but with a greater volume of seductive, ripe-cherry varietal aroma – characters that flow through in a luxurious, plush, irresistible palate. Made in the same way by the same winemaker (Roger Pike), Simpatico and Symphony simply reflect variations on the shiraz theme from different vineyards. See www.mariuswines.com.au

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2007

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