Wine review — Wynns Coonawarra Estate reds

Wynns Coonawarra Estate Shiraz 2007 $8.50–$21
Wynns Coonawarra Estate Michael Shiraz 2005 $69–$76

The price range of $8.50–$21 a bottle for the 2007 Shiraz is not a mistake. You’ll find single bottles in convenience stores at the higher price. And the $8.50 was a Dan Murphy (Woolworths) reaction to a 1st Choice (Coles) advertisement at a slightly higher price. The disparity says a lot about the sorry state of Foster’s wine division (owner of Wynns). Whether or not the price will be seen again, I don’t know. But this is a lovely, supple, fine-boned shiraz that’d be good value at $21 on the way to a dinner party. The more usual specials prices of $13–$15 are bargains.

Wynns Coonawarra Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 $22–$32
Wynns Coonawarra Estate Messenger Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 $35–$39

There’s a subtle new fragrance and finesse to the Wynns reds in recent vintages. It’s more apparent in the John Riddoch and Michael wines below but shows, too, in ever-reliable ‘Black label’. This is textbook cabernet with its ripe-berry flavours and firm structure – in Coonawarra’s unique, deep, concentrated style. I don’t think you can buy a better red with proven long-term cellaring potential at this price. ‘Messenger’, from a vineyard in southwestern Coonawarra, is lighter bodied than ‘Black Label’ with a distinctive high-toned fragrance and particularly elegant, concentrated palate. Pity the back labels show Coonawarra village in the wrong location.

Wynns Coonawarra Estate Michael Shiraz 2005 $69–$76
Wynns Coonawarra Estate John Riddoch Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 $69–$76

These wonderful Coonawarra flagships disappeared for a few vintages. But in a superb tag-team effort between winemaker Sue Hodder and viticulturist Stuart Sharman (and their teams) they returned in toned-down but not diminished style. The shiraz, in particular, shed some of its oak, allowing the variety’s fragrance and spiciness to shine. This was more apparent in the 2004 vintage, but holds true for the more opulent 2005. It’s an impressive wine, although upstaged by the brilliant John Riddoch. Isn’t that the fate of shiraz vis-à-vis cabernet in Coonawarra? Yes, it’s a big price tag. But it’s entirely justified for a powerful, balanced and elegant cabernet of this cabernet.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2008

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