With new grapes being grown in Australia and a new generation of winemakers producing wines for a younger audience, Michelin-starred chef Roger Jones argues that we must not forget how good Aussie Shiraz is. From the Australia Day Tasting 2017, Jones picks the Shiraz that really stood out from the crowd.
Which Aussie Shiraz offers the best value for money, Jones’s favourite of the tasting, plus others that are worth checking out for your list.
With so much talk about alternative grapes coming out of Australia, we should not forget one of the key grapes that put Australia on the map – the classic Aussie Shiraz.
Australia’s top three exported varieties are Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, and the premium market is growing.
At its best there is nothing quite like Australian Shiraz and I was delighted to find that this grape continues to excel and here list some of my highlights from the Australia Day Tasting.
Retail prices vary from £14.25 to £150 and I think that they all offer value in their categories. Above all, these wines excite and more importantly ‘shout out’ Australia.
Teusner ‘The Riebke’ Barossa Valley Shiraz 2014 (Hallgarten Druitt & Novum Wines, RRP £18.99)
The grapes are sourced from the Riebke family, who have farmed some pristine vines in the Ebenezer District for six generations. Rich and full of flavour, classic Barossa style; plums, black fruit, warm spices, cinnamon, mocha.
This is a vibrant wine with lashings of luscious dark fruit, gentle use of oak and a lingering juicy finish.
I would also suggest you look out for its prestigious Albert Shiraz 2014, named after Kym Teusner’s grandfather. Grapes are sourced from both the Ebenezer grounds and another block from Williamstown. A soft gentle velvety masterpiece, blackberry, fragrance, spices, black cherry lingers an age… a luxurious wine.
John Duval ‘Eligo’ Barossa Valley Shiraz 2013 (Liberty Wines, RRP £67.99)
I have collected John’s wines from the start, and this superstar wine is in my mind his nod to Grange. This is an outstanding wine, layer and layer of silky rich concentrated bright precise berries, delicate oak, seamless, hints of milk chocolate, blackcurrants, a velvety pure wine that will age gracefully.
Quite simply the best wine that I tried at the tasting.
Note his Entity label offers great value.
Mitolo ‘Jester’ McLaren Vale Shiraz 2014 (Liberty Wines, RRP £14.99)
Under Frank Mitolo’s leadership and Ben Glaetzer’s winemaking, the Mitolo ‘Jester’ is unquestionably Australia’s best value Shiraz.
McLaren Vale can produce spectacular wines and these grapes are sourced from the Lopresti family vineyards. Frank’s vision for the Mitolo brand was to make wines that would suit his Italian way of life and be enjoyed with Italian food.
The Mitolo range includes The Angela, G.AM, and Savitar, however, on the horizon there is a brand new ‘super premium’ wine to be released under the Marsican label.
Note that this brand is called Taylor’s in Australia and Wakefield in the UK.
Wakefield ‘Jaraman’ Clare Valley McLaren Vale Shiraz (Louis Latour Agencies RRP £17.00)
Fresh and clean, savoury and bright, precise dark berries, easy drinking, fresh, blackberry and blueberry and gentle creamy coffee, vibrant.
There were two other Shiraz on show; the Wakefield St Andrew’s Clare Valley Shiraz 2012 (RRP £35) highlighting 100% Clare fruit, and their prestigious premium offering of Wakefield ‘Pioneer’ Clare Valley Shiraz. The Wakefield has always been a favourite of mine – hints of aniseed, mocha, caramel, long lingering berry fruit.
I was also mightily impressed with the Wakefield Pioneer 2012 (RRP £75)
Generous and rounded with juicy, deep berry compote fruits , firm but gentle tannins. Coconut and fine dark chocolate characters, with a deep concentration of bright berries, luscious and lingering.
Yalumba ‘The Octavius’ Barossa Valley Shiraz 2009 (Negociants UK RRP £69)
A beautiful aged Shiraz, A wine that is dark crimson red in colour with aromas of concentrated plum, clove, dark coffee and chocolate. It hits the mouth with ripe plum and blackberry sweetness and finishes long and stylishly.
Jim Barry ‘The Armagh’ Clare Valley Shiraz 2012 (Negotiants UK RRP £142)
A wine to age, for at least a decade, a polished superstar.
The Lane Vineyard
The Lane Vineyard Adelaide Hills Shiraz Viognier 2014 (Corney & Barrow RRP £14.25)
The balance on this wine is perfect, the small percentage of Viognier softens the wine giving it a much more refined style, exceptional value for money, love the purity of this wine.
The Lane Block 14 Basket Pressed Adelaide Hills Shiraz 2014 (RRP £22.95)
Fresh and bright, clean vibrant juicy red berries, hints of spices, forward, gentle and fine.
The Lane Vineyard Reunion Adelaide Hills Shiraz 2013 (RRP £25.95)
Rich damson nose, touch of perfume, cherries and plums on the palate, spices on the mid palate, bright and clean, vibrant and fresh.