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Shiraz

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Babich Gimblett Gravels Syrah 2013 (1x 75cl)

A good depth of colour precedes pleasing ripe summer fruit aromas. Black plum and spice are also apparent on the nose. There is a sweet plum entry in the mouth, which develops into concentrated fruit with subtle savoury notes and a touch of leather. Tannins satisfy the palate and fruit lingers on the finish. Drinking well now, and will age gracefully.

£11.60

Babich Hawkes Bay Syrah 2015 (1x75cl)

A good depth of colour precedes pleasing ripe summer fruit aromas. Black plum and spice are also apparent on the nose. There is a sweet plum entry in the mouth, which develops into concentrated fruit with subtle savoury notes and a touch of leather. Tannins satisfy the palate and fruit lingers on the finish. Drinking well now, and will age gracefully.

£13.40

Baron De Badassiere Syrah 2017 (1x75cl)

Baron de Badassière is from the Picpoul de Pinet region of the Languedoc, near the coast of the south of France. The name of the wine refers to the Badassière vineyard which lies near the small town of Pomerols. In the 18th century, the vineyard belonged to Baron Charles Emmanuel, a colourful character who was rumoured to be the illegitimate son of King Louis XV. The wines are made exclusively for Liberty Wines by New Zealand winemaker Graeme Paul, with consultant Matt Thomson, at the Cave de Pomerols cooperative where the Vignes de L'Eglise range is also produced. This region benefits from a sunny, warm climate which encourages ripe, fruity flavours in the wines, while the coastal breezes help retain freshness and aromatics.

The Syrah grapes for this wine were grown in vineyards around Badassière in the Languedoc in the south of France. This region benefits from a sunny, warm climate which encourages ripe flavours in the wines, while the coastal breezes help retain freshness and aromatics.

The grapes were macerated on skins, then pressed in the pneumatic press. The must was cold settled and then fermented at a controlled temperature of 20°C for seven to ten days.

Deep red in colour, with complex spicy aromas leading to a richly structured palate, supple tannins and persistent length. Well-balanced with freshness that lifts the finish.

£8.35

Berton Reserve Barossa Shiraz 2014 (1x75cl)

The 2015 vintage has been awarded 95 points and a Platinum Best In Show at the Decanter World Wine Awards (www.decanter.com): see their August 2017 DWWA supplement (see blue link below).

Berton Reserve Shiraz 2015 - August 2017 Decanter review

For those unable or unwilling to wait, Exel discussed the relative merits of the 2014 and 2015 vintages with Berton owner, Bob Berton, in person, a few weeks ago at the London Wine Fair. It is Bob's view that the 2014 is the equal of the 2015 but was simply not submitted for review at the previous DWWAs.

The Reserve Shiraz is deepest dark red with a very youthful and vibrant garnet hue. The aromas are powerful and complex with a wealth of fruit ranging from ripe black cherries and blackberries with hints of eucalypt and spice. The rich and full palate displays soft flavours of plum skin, mulberry and hints of vanilla and blackberry, These abundant flavours are underpinned by fine vanilla from the oak and defined by exciting spicy tannins.

£12.55

Berton Reserve Barossa Shiraz 2015 (1x75cl)

Awarded 95 points and a Platinum Best In Show at the Decanter World Wine Awards (www.decanter.com): see their August 2017 DWWA supplement (see blue link below).

Berton Reserve Shiraz 2015 - August 2017 Decanter review

Established by Bob and Cherie Berton in May 1996, Berton Vineyard's estate covers 30 hectares of land located on gently rolling hills at 450 metres above sea level, in a subregion of Eden Valley in South Australia. The superb Reserve Shiraz and Reserve Chardonnay wines are still sourced from this plot. In 2007, Bob purchased the Yenda winery in the heart of the Riverina. This state-of- the-art facility has the capacity to process 20,000 tonnes and enables Berton Vineyard to produce value for money wines which sit alongside their premium single vineyard offerings.

Shiraz 93%, Durif 4%, Cabernet Sauvignon 3%. The grapes come from the Barossa Valley, in South Australia. Situated at a latitude of 34° South, the region is made up of rolling hills and valley floors. The growing season often sees hot, warm weather with temperatures of 35°C, which can result in vine stress, helping to concentrate the flavours in the berries. The wide diurnal temperature differences help to retain balancing acidity. Some of the grapes come from Berton's original vineyard in the Eden Valley, where the climate is cooler. The vine age is varied, but all vines have been spur pruned and are generally trained on a single wire cordon trellising system. The vines are planted at approximately 1.8 metres apart with 3.6 metres between the rows, to allow machinery access. The soil styles in the vineyards are varied, ranging from clay, to limestone and sandy soils, with each terroir adding its own characteristic to the final wine.

The wine was fermented in stainless steel tanks with regular skin submersion in order to extract the required colour and flavour from the grapes. After fermentation, the wine was pressed off into stainless steel tanks where it completed malolactic fermentation in the late autumn. The wine was then racked off into both French and American oak barrels resulting in a rich, spicy complex Shiraz. 

The Reserve Shiraz is deepest dark red with a very youthful and vibrant garnet hue. The aromas are powerful and complex with a wealth of fruit ranging from ripe black cherries and blackberries with hints of eucalypt and spice. The rich and full palate displays soft flavours of plum skin, mulberry and hints of vanilla and blackberry, These abundant flavours are underpinned by fine vanilla from the oak and defined by exciting spicy tannins.

£13.20

Berton Winemakers Reserve, Padthaway, The Black Shiraz 2016 (1x75cl)

Selected for its deep colour and intense flavour, this rich, dark red Shiraz has lifted aromas of dark cherry, blackberry and delicately integrated oak. The generous and concentratd palate is velvety with firm tannins and flavours of ripe cherry, plum and mocha over hints of smoky oak.

£10.00

Cambridge Road Syrah 2011 (1x 75cl)

From a biodynamic vineyard in Martinborough, this Syrah is a ripe and smooth wine with black cherry and plum flavours and a touch of peppery spice and tar.

£34.85

Charles Melton `Grains of Paradise` Shiraz 2013 (1x 75cl)

Charles Melton Wines has produced premium Barossa red wines since 1984. At that time, Charlie and a small band of Barossa winemakers turned their winemaking efforts to what were then considered a couple of unfashionable varieties: Shiraz and Grenache. These wines were initially styled on those from the Rhône but are now considered leading examples of the varieties in their own right.

Fruit from one of the vineyard's finest Barossa blocks makes up the majority of this wine. The single vineyard, which is located in the heart of the Barossa Valley, dates back to the early 1900s. It is a more elegant style than traditional Barossa Shiraz but still retains the warmth and generosity of the Barossa. No chemicals have been used for over five years.

2013 saw one of the driest growing seasons in recent memory. After reasonable winter rain, there was very little subsequent rain in the following months. Temperatures were high at the start of the new year but then cooled down. This enabled the fruit to ripen gradually and a lovely mild harvest period resulted in a very small crop of intensely flavoured small berries.

During fermentation, a mix of hand plunging and pump over techniques in the traditional style influenced this wine. The wine is finished in barrique with all the press wine included. American oak is sent to France for a 36-month European seasoning before being coopered into barriques using the immersion bending technique. The wine is then aged ‘sur lie’ to give an interpretation of the traditional Barossa style with a contemporary twist.

A wonderful expression of the traditional Barossa style. Deep in colour and softly perfumed with excellent melding of vanillin and cedar oak aromatics and rich Barossa Shiraz fruit. Intense coffee and mocha flavours are supported by firm tannins and richness of mouthfeel.

£32.20

Charles Melton Voices of Angels Adelaide Hills Shiraz 2014 (1x 75cl)

Charles Melton Wines has produced premium Barossa red wines since 1984. At that time, Charlie and a small band of Barossa winemakers turned their winemaking efforts to what were then considered a couple of unfashionable varieties: Shiraz and Grenache. These wines were initially styled on those from the Rhône but are now considered leading examples of the varieties in their own right.

This wine is sourced from the Mount Pleasant vineyard which sits on the boundary of Eden Valley and the Adelaide Hills. Technically, this wine is from the Adelaide Hills, but spiritually the fruit is Eden Valley.

2014 was not without its challenges, with small crops due to some unsettled weather during flowering. In mid‐February a string of half a dozen hot days ended with a significant amount of rain over 24 hours. The following four weeks of dry, mild and sunny weather from late February was just what the vines needed, and the results are very exciting.

10-15% of the grapes are fermented as whole bunches. 4% of Riesling, from the same block and of the same vine age as the Shiraz is added to the blend, giving the wine its stylistic consistency. The wine is aged sur lie for the full maturation period in 100% new French oak. This builds the structure and mouthfeel of the final wine.

On the nose, this red has a mixture of dark fruit notes, with aromas of cedar from the 100% new French oak ageing. The palate, has finesse and elegance, with a defined density.

£35.75

Clonakilla Hilltops Shiraz 2016 (1x 75cl)

Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their February 2018 edition article 30 Great New World Buys under £30 (see blue link below).

Clonakilla Hilltops Shiraz 2016 - Feb 2018 Decanter review

Dr John Kirk founded Clonakilla vineyard at Murrumbateman, 40 kilometres north of Canberra, in 1971 after his scientific curiosity led him to question why vines were not being grown in this area. His research showed that the soil and climate seemed suited to certain varieties. Clonakilla means 'meadow of the church' and is the name of theDr Kirk's grandfather's farm in County Clare, Ireland. In 1997 Tim Kirk, the fourth of John's six sons, took over responsibility for winemaking. Today, Clonakilla is recognised as one of the leading estates in Australia. Tim was named Gourmet Traveller Winemaker of the Year in 2013.

The grapes for this Shiraz were selected from four vineyards in the Hilltops district around Young in New South Wales, the Canberra District’s closest neighbouring wine region. The altitude is marginally lower than Canberra so the grapes tend to come in around two weeks before those grown on the estate. Soils are deep red loam over light clay, giving distinctive blackberry and blackcurrant notes to the wine.

The grapes were destemmed and fermented warm in a variety of open fermenters from 1t to 10t. Each batch has either nil or up to 20% whole bunches and are soaked on skins for 2-3 weeks and then pressed to barrel. The wine is matured for 11 months in central forest Allier oak barriques and puncheons, 15% new and the balance 2-5 years old. The wine was racked once during its maturation in oak, blended in November and bottled in late February the following year.

The 2016 vintage continues a run of warm vintages for the Hilltops region. The vineyards appear to take the heat in their stride however. The vines responded by producing rich black Shiraz with great depth of flavour.

Plenty of ripe dark plum and blackberry fruits on the nose. Chocolate and mocha too. The palate has bright, mid-weight red plum and cherry fruits wrapped in lithe, supple tannins. The Hilltops Shiraz 2016 has a nice balance and is really approachable. 

Drink now or cellar with confidence. This wine may surprise and delight you with five to ten years in the bottle.

£20.75

Darenberg The Dead Arm Shiraz 2013 (1x 75cl)

Family owned d’Arenberg is located in the breathtaking McLaren Vale in South Australia, and produces an enviable range of wines. From humble beginnings, these wines quickly gained cult status amongst imbibers and judges alike – it’s a deft combination of winemaking tradition and vinous innovation. A tall order for some, but one that d’Arenberg takes in their stride as they continue to push the boundaries and get under the skin of each individual vineyard in order to get the best from the vines. This is backed up by an engaging consumer-friendly approach to the ‘deadly serious fun’ of wine.

Dead Arm is a vine disease caused by the fungus Eutypa Lata that randomly affects vineyards all over the world. Often affected vines are severely pruned or replanted. One half, or an 'arm' of the vine slowly becomes reduced to dead wood. That side may be lifeless and brittle, but the grapes on the other side, while low yielding, display amazing intensity.

Small batches of grapes are gently crushed and then transferred to five tonne headed down open fermenters. These batches remain separate until final blending. Foot treading is undertaken two thirds of the way through fermentation. The wine is then basket pressed and transferred to a mixture of new and used French and old American oak barriques to complete fermentation. The barrel ferments are aged on lees, there is no racking until final blending and no fining or filtration.

Decanting this wine is highly recommended to allow it to reach its true potential. Initially, your senses are flooded with an array of savoury, earthy notes. Shiitake mushrooms, roasted meats and modelling clay. Slowly as the air permeates through the wine, the savoury layers are peeled away revealing a wealth of sweet black fruits. The palate is similarly laden with blackberry, plum and mulberry flavours. The sweetness is offset by a raft of woody spices and umami character. Superbly rich and supported by by a core of slatey, crushed rock-like tannins, this is a wine that will reward patience.

While enjoyable in youth, this wine will reach its full potential with bottle age up to at least 20 years. The considerable structure and depth will ensure that the fruit characters will develop over time revealing more complexity and providing immense interest. This wine is best stored in an environment free of direct sunlight and with consistent temperatures between 10°C and 15°C.

£31.40

Darenberg The Footbolt Old Vine Shiraz 2014 (1x 75cl)

Awarded 86 points and Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their June 2017 edition review of Australian Value Shiraz (see blue link below).

 

D'arenberg Footbolt 2013 - June 2017 Decanter review

 

Joseph Osborn was a successful racehorse owner and Footbolt was the pride of his stable. In 1912 he made the hard decision to sell his horses to purchase the d'Arenberg property.

Small batches of grapes are crushed gently and then transferred to five tonne headed down open fermenters. These batches remain separate until final blending. Foot treading is undertaken two thirds of the way through fermentation.The wine is then basket pressed and then transferred to a mixture of new and used French and American oak barriques to complete fermentation. The barrel ferments are aged on lees, and there is no racking until final blending. This wine does not undertake fining or filtration prior to bottling.

Harmony between environmental sustainability and wine industry practice is a strong commitment upheld by d’Arenberg in carrying out operations throughout the entire business, and the goal of d'Arenberg’s current custodians is to pass on a sustainable business to the next generation. Minimal input viticulture practices are in place, with all d’Arenberg estate and leased vineyards NASAA Certified for organic and biodynamic processes.

The nose is incredibly lifted and fragrant, red fruits and peppery spices feature strongly. As the wine breathes we are struck by a raft of darker and more earthy aromas such as mulberry, black plum, soot and baking spice. The palate is pleasantly bright with lively acidity and elegant fruit weight. A generous dose of mineral fruit tannin ensures the wine is structured and wonderfully long. As this wine ages it will develop more generosity and complexity through the mid palate, but the acid and tannin structure will ensure it stays lively and long.

£13.25

Darenberg The Laughing Magpie Shiraz Viognier 2012 (1x75cl)

The 2010 vintage was Awarded 86 points and Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their June 2017 edition review of Australian Value Shiraz (see blue link below).

D'Arenberg Laughing Magpie 2010 - June 2017 Decanter review

The Kookaburra is a native Australian bird famous for its distinctive laughing call, Chester's young daughters named them 'Laughing Magpies'. The Magpie's plumage is black with a stripe of white feathers, representing McLaren Vale's first ever blend combining the (black) Shiraz and its white partner, Viognier.

Harmony between environmental sustainability and wine industry practice is a strong commitment upheld by d’Arenberg in carrying out operations throughout the entire business, and the goal of d'Arenberg’s current custodians is to pass on a sustainable business to the next generation. Minimal input viticulture practices are in place, with all d’Arenberg estate and leased vineyards NASAA Certified for organic and biodynamic processes.

Small batches of grapes are gently crushed and then transferred to open fermenters, where the Viognier and Shiraz are co-fermented. Foot treading is undertaken two thirds of the way through fermentation, the wine is basket pressed and transferred to a mixture of old French and American oak to complete fermentation and mature. The barrel ferments are aged on lees, there is no racking until final blending and no fining or filtration.

The wine has an enticing mix of primary fruit characters entwined with the first hints of moreish secondary nuances. There is an enormous concentration of blackberry and blackcurrant on the nose and palate, a whiff of flowers, ginger and stone fruit that we can attribute to the Viognier and depth is built through more savoury notes of fennel, fresh leather and cedar.

£16.30

Darenberg The Love Grass Shiraz 2013 (1x 75cl)

The wine displays a mix of fruit and spice, a result of the myriad of minor varieties that cling to the bones of the Shiraz and draw it in all sorts of different directions. Fresh and lively, black and red fruits, pepper, clove and cinnamon. The palate, whilst showing the poise and focus common amongst the 2011’s, develops its richness in the glass. Ensure you take a moment to savour this wine and watch its complex mix of fruits evolve from tight and linear at first to rich, dark and exotic.

£13.25

Darenberg The Stump Jump Shiraz 2016 (1x75cl)

Here, for barely a tenner, you get a high-octane, full-on Shiraz from one of Australia’s most revered producers. They themselves describe the Stump Jump as “a generous and juicy McLaren Vale Shiraz, loaded with sweet fruits, blackberry, plum, raspberry, contrasted by complexing subtleties of spice, earth and game”, as “round, long-flavoured and beautifully balanced” and, perhaps best of all, “voluptuous and delicious”. We’ve been drinking this (and d’Arenberg’s other wonderful - and generally much pricier - wines) for ages and, even wearing our anti-marketing goggles, couldn’t phrase it more accurately.

£9.85
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