The definitive guide to Australian Wines
Publish Date: 21 Nov 2014
Authored by: James Halliday
It's not often I bring a bottle up to the house from the days' tasting of 80 wines, but I wanted to be sure this wine deserved the praise I had heaped on it during the tasting. All wine show judges have come face to face with the truth that a red wine which they regarded as balanced and elegant on the basis of one or two sips amidst a forest of big red wines can change dramatically as you drink a whole glass (or a little more) of the wine with a meal.
The colour had alerted me the second it was poured during the tasting, with a depth and hue of a one- or two-year-old Shiraz, not a four-and-a-half-year-old, deep and vibrant crimson-purple. I suppose I have to say that the packaging, with the upper half of the bottle encased in black wax, also suggested the $180 price tag might not be unreasonable. Even more interesting was the fact that this was a barrel selection of five French oak barriques, from a total of 250 barriques, or 2% of the total make. Thus there are (or were) 112 dozen bottles in captivity.
If there was any concern that the 14.5% alcohol might wield a sledgehammer blow on the palate, this was quickly answered in the negative. While it is as deep and dark as a starless night, its aromas and flavours bound in velvet ropes, its super-fine, and wonderfully supple, tannins ran through the length of the palate, highlighting the black fruits, cedar, spice and licorice flavours. The last mouthful of the glass was every bit as good as the first, with freshness rather than heaviness on the back-palate and aftertaste. Do not get me wrong, however. This is not an elegant, 13.5% alcohol, cool climate Shiraz; rather, it is an example how a full-bodied Shiraz can absorb a heap of oak and tannins, and come out the other end with balance. A baby leg of lamb (or part there of) was part of the inspiration to re-open the bottle that night.
Become a member
Alongside James Halliday is a dedicated team of tasters who review the wines in the Halliday Wine Companion guide.
Meet the team
Start planning your next winery tour with our new winery section and new look winery pages
Whether you're after the most recent tasting notes, or you just want to browse through those from previous months, you'll find it all here in our archive.
In brief with James Halliday shows you the world of wine through James' eyes, sharing his wine news, commentary and titbits of personal interest.
Read in brief
Get started with our Virtual Cellar and you'll be able to manage your own collection, add tasting notes and set drink now alerts.
Copyright 2018 WineCompanion.com.au
Get two bonus bottles of wine when you become a member*
Sign up now
For the full winecompanion.com.au experience, please update your web browser. to something less antiquated
Wines considered to offer special value for money.