Shirvington was founded in 1996 by Paul and Lynne Shirvington (with sons Tony and Mark), with the planting of Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon vines in their first vineyard, Redwind. The 16 hectares of red clay and limestone soil are located in Willunga, just south of McLaren Vale, that was chosen by the Shirvingtons for the area’s ability to consistently produce outstanding table wines of great character and quality. Further purchases in 1997 and 2001 saw the development of two new vineyards, Kurrawyba and Manjalda, in McLaren Flat and McLaren Vale itself.
Lynne and Paul, in close collaboration with their viticulturist and winemaker, have been making the highest quality wines from McLaren Vale since the release of their 2001 Shiraz, which received a 98 rating from Wine Advocate. None of their vintages since have garnered ratings in the major wine publications below 90. Indeed, the 2006 vintage received 95 points from Wine Advocate (October 2007):
"The 2006 Shiraz was barrel-fermented and aged for 14 months in 85% new oak, with the barrels 90% American and 10% French. Saturated purple in color, it reveals a splendid bouquet of smoke, pencil lead, bacon, grilled meat, and blueberry. Supple-textured and opulent, this full-bodied Shiraz offers a range of spicy, complex flavors, superb balance, and enough well-concealed tannin to support 5-7 years of additional cellaring. This hedonistic Shiraz should drink well through 2026." <we note the ageing contradiction>
The growing season leading up to the vintage of 2006 presented varying challenges. Above average winter and spring rainfall brought the threat of downy mildew. Irrigation systems were then stretched to the limit during a hot January and February. Cooler and wetter conditions followed and almost brought the sugar and flavour accumulation to a standstill. Although very challenging, good yields of excellent quality fruit have made this an excellent wine.
The 2006 vintage has an opaque red colour with a purple hue. It shows an amazingly concentrated and intense nose with blueberry and blood plum filling the headspace. These fruit notes are joined with dark chocolate, vanilla bean and golden syrup nuances. The opulent palate has a magnitude of oak-driven, sweet creamy layers, soft and supple tannins and a seamless length, full of liquorice, toasted coconut and cracked black pepper. The Shirvington 2006 is drinking well now but will cellar for many years. Like many 'major' Shirazes/Syrahs, it has thrown a noticeable sediment and will repay careful decanting.