Fresh from delivering his ‘100 best Australian Wines’ report, wine critic Matthew Jukes put on another tasting, this time with author Tyson Stelzer called the Great Australian Red. This event, held at London’s 67 Pall Mall, focussed on Aussie Cabernet-Shiraz blends. Harry Crowther was there and picked out his favourite seven wines, some of them the latest releases and others from library stock.
From the wines on show Yalumba seems to have Cabernet-Shiraz blends down the best, writes Crowther.
Matthew Jukes needs little introduction to the wine game, particularly when it comes to wine from Australia what with his industry leading ‘100 best Australian Wines’ report.
The other day I managed to wangle my way into the ‘Great Australian Red’ tasting presented by Jukesy and fellow renowned author Tyson Stelzer. This was a celebration of Aussie Cabernet-Shiraz blends at none other than 67 Pall Mall… flashy.
A quick round-up of a few of my favourites from the tasting:
Lake Breeze Bernoota Shiraz Cabernet 2016, Langhorne Creek
40% Cabernet 60% Shiraz
Rich, juicy and ripe. A beautifully lifted damson nose. Busting with acidity and freshness with a welcomed bitter-sweet backbone of a finish.
Lake Breeze Bernoota Shiraz Cabernet 2004, Langhorne Creek
40% Cabernet 60% Shiraz
Ageing beautifully. Unfortunately this is a museum vintage, so not available on the market but hey-ho. Attractive tarry fruit on the nose. Slightly stewed but still holding a fresh ripeness given its 15 year age. A nice chalky grip with a finish that goes on for days! Happy to have tried this one, sad that it will probably be the first and last time…
Salomon Estate Norwood Shiraz Cabernet 2014, South Australia
25% Cabernet 75% Shiraz
Slightly shy on the nose, but gives way to subtle coffee and dark choccy notes after a good swirl. There is noticeable oak here but it’s so well managed it feels like it’s carefully dusted across the palate with beautifully knitted tannins. Plenty of freshness to support a very, very well structured wine. Drinking in its prime right about now!
Tahbilk Old Vines Cabernet Shiraz 2016, Nagambie Lakes
62% Cabernet 38% Shiraz
A flinty, mineral red here from one of Oz’s oldest wine producers. I love this wine because, out of the Cabernet-heavy blends I tasted, this wine displayed unrivalled cool climate freshness, whilst maintaining the framework that a good Cab delivers, with an espresso shot of Shriaz goodness. Fabulous.
Yalumba The Signature 2014, Barossa
57% Cabernet 43% Shiraz
Another Cab-heavy blend here. From the wines I tasted Yalumba seems to have this down the best. Broody dark Ribena fruit up top. Textbook leafy tones bring up the rear and really come into their own on the palate. Persistent and juicy. A pleasure to drink.
Yalumba The Signature 2012, Barossa
52% Cabernet 48% Shiraz
The best of the rest. A little more age than its younger sibling reveals a slight terracotta hue with subtle tar and leather tones. This is an outstanding expression of a blend that the Australians can truly lay claim to. Both varietals sing together harmoniously. They are in key, seamless and took me on an orchestral tasting journey. If I was a points guy this would be somewhere in the top 90s, or a gold medal I guess.
Jim Barry PB Reserve Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon, 2014, Clare Valley
35% Cabernet 65% Shiraz
There goes that sumptuous, seductive Clare Valley lift I keep falling in love with. Brimming with purple damson florals on the nose. Clean, fragrant and scented not unlike potpourri. Higher altitude fruit delivers a fresh raciness on the mouth. Uber long finish. Lovely stuff.