After posting Wednesday’s list of the 10 best Shiraz to pass the desk in August 2018 I had a closer look and realised that there is a whole lot of great wines in the next tier down that deserve a shout out.
Here then is 11-24 of the best Shiraz I’ve tasted this August 2018.
Curtis Limited Series McLaren Vale Shiraz 2015
I’ve struggled with many of the Curtis wines (and let’s not start about the almost mythical RRPs), but this is easily the best balanced of all the range. Lots of lavish, choc/mocha fudge oak and rich Vale fruit. It’s smooth and ripe and plump, even if the acidity is a bit sharp to finish. There’s an old school heartiness here, if some confection through the oak tannin etched finish. Reminds me of McLaren Vale Shiraz from the late 90s with the oak shape and acid punch. Plenty to grab onto here, even if the price is ridiculous.
Best drinking: Now to fifteen years. 17.7/20, 92/100. 14%, $100. Would I buy it? Not at that price.
Eagles Rest Maluna Shiraz 2014
I don’t know much about the Eagles Rest winery, and details are a bit scant beyond the Pokolbin vineyard and cellar door. This Shiraz, the effective flagship, is pretty handy though and shows again the glory of the ’14 Hunter vintage. Deep maroon red fruit aplenty, there’s an open plump fruit profile and a distinctive black earth Hunter Shiraz edge. Ferrous edges to the plum fruit , but the long, pepper soaked finish is really quite silky if slightly warm. Quality Hunter red in a ripe and full flavoured mode, with proper regional characters. Lots to like.
Best drinking: Now to twenty years. 17.7/20, 92/100. 14.2%, $79. Would I buy it? I can’t justify the dollars, but a nice drink.
Grant Burge Filsell Shiraz 2016
The Filsell style has subtly changed in recent years (especially now it’s owned by Accolade) but is still an oaky, rich Barossa red in every way. Deep, mauve edged red, the nose is jubey and proudly ‘fruity’, the palate a plush style with thick chocolatey oak covered fruit, the tannins oak driven too. The oaky excesses of some vintages have been tamed back, and it’s a hearty and chunky red – if just a little tart.
Best drinking: I’d wait a year or so then fifteen years. 17.7/20, 92/100. 14%, $42.99. Would I buy it? I’d go a few glasses.
Hardys HRB Bin D671 Shiraz 2015
The HRB wines can often really impress (Chardonnay particularly so) and this Shiraz is a goodun’ – a really solid, generous Shiraz of obvious appeal, if a little too commercial. HRB is a multi-regional style – a best-of-the-best mix. This is a blend of McLaren Vale and Clare Valley Shiraz built in a plush style – it seems more McLaren Vale than Clare, driven by a coffeed, rounded mid-palate. It’s a fraction acidic to finish, but the plushness of the middle is so easy to like. Good modern Hardys red.
Best drinking: Now to fifteen years. 17.7/20, 92/100. 14%, $38. Would I buy it? A glass or two.
Mandala Rock Shiraz 2014
A curious wine this. Yarra Shiraz that seems simultaneously spicy and cool but richer and warmer and ambitious. Spends a full 22 months in 50% new oak which is again a lot for what is a mid weight wine. Fittingly, the nose has cool, white pepper and charcuterie, leading to a palate that is medium bodied yet punchy and full with proper grainy tannins to finish with a little heat. There’s just a slight green edge to said tannins but it just adds an extra layer of spice. There’s just a slight disconnect here – it gets bigger the closer you look, but it’s still a cool climate Shiraz. Ultimately this is good and feels like an ‘almost great’ wine. Would be interested to see the ’15.
Best drinking: Now to fifteen years plus. 17.7/20, 92/100. 13.9%, $50. Would I buy it? A few glasses.
Sheerah Shiraz 2017
Super cool wines these and a label to watch. This is a single vineyard McLaren Vale Shiraz with whole berries included the open ferment and matured in older oak. Dark red, it’s a vibrant red in many ways with a certain exuberance despite the late alcohol bite. Licorice, plum juice and more through the middle, then fine tannins and again a liveliness. Medium bodied and lively but also has some fudgey ripeness to drive the wine. There’s a slighty simple juiciness here, but endless fun drinking.
Best drinking: Now to ten years (maybe more). 17.7/20, 92/100. 14.5%, $30. Would I buy it? I’d go a bottle.
Voyager Estate Shiraz 2014
Voyager’s Shiraz will always play second fiddle to the Cabernet wines, and so they should – Margaret River Shiraz is hard to get right for anyone. Still, this savoury, deeply flavoured red is deadly serious – and dense. It’s a glossy red of purple berry juiciness and sweet oak but backed by a savoury and anything-but-sweet, briary palate that is just a little baked. Deeply savoury, I do wonder whether there is enough fruit to back up the black, tannic palate, lifted only by a little oak and alcohol sweetness. It’s a slow burner this and not instantly appealing, but there is so much flavour here – I’m intrigued to see whether this gets softer and little more easy going, or indeed whether the tannins take over the fruit. For the moment, I admire the depth, even if it’s not the easiest wine.
Best drinking: Wait for a few years and then fifteen years. 17.7/20, 92/100+. 14%, $40. Would I buy it? A glass or two.
Curious Winemaker Pyrenees Shiraz 2017
From Johnno Harris of Mitchell Harris, this is something of a winemakers project that includes 50% whole bunches and 5% Viognier. It smells very much like cool climate Syrah – soccer ball home, coffee grains, pepper steak, the mid weight openly fruity and slightly hammy palate driven by whole bunch spice, the mid palate juicy before a slightly raw finish. Despite all that it’s not a heavy red, more an approachable drink. There’s a good balance between sloshy fruit and peppery spice here and I quite enjoyed drinking it.
Best drinking: Now to ten years. 17.5/20, 91/100. 13.5%, $25. Would I buy it? I’d share a bottle.
Eagles Rest Eden Valley Shiraz 2014
From the Boongarrie Estate Vineyard in the Eden Valley. Spends 14 months in French oak. Blue and blackberries clothed in oaked fullness and then with a grippy warm finish. Plenty of flavour here even if I see the oak stamping all over nose, palate and particularly the finish. Not unappealing in its richness though.
Best drinking: Now to fifteen years. 17.5/20, 91/100. 14.3%, $40. Would I buy it? A glass.
Riversdale Estate Musca Syrah 2015
Tasmanian Shiraz in an ambitious form. Bright purple fruit, it’s developing quickly with a palate of cranberries with a background pepper edge, the palate just light bodied and elegant if a pretty wine. Lithe and elegant but just a bit developed for what it is. Pretty wine though.
Best drinking: Now to eight years. 17.5/20, 91/100. 12.5%, $55. Would I buy it? No.
Tahbilk Shiraz 2016
This is the juiciest Tahbilk Shiraz I’ve had in years – it’s all plump jubey purple fruit, though with wine with a decent dose of Tahbilk earth and complete with light tannins. Quite a departure from the traditionally rustic style but a rather pleasant and jubey red. Tahbilk Shiraz does modern (and with a swish polish).
Best drinking: Now to ten years. 17.5/20, 91/100. 14%, $25.70. Would I buy it? A glass or so.
Tim Smith Bugalugs Shiraz 2017
Tim Smith’s entry level Barossa red. Squished purple berries and with a side of bacon fat and peppercorn. Open, squishy plum palate is packed full of luscious flavour with light tannins and warmth. Lots of open and obvious flavour here and proudly shows its Barossan sole. Really likeable, well priced red if a little warm.
Best drinking: Now to ten years. 17.5/20, 91/100. 14%, $25. Would I buy it? A glass or two.
Bremerton Selkirk Shiraz 2015
These Bremerton reds massively overdeliver for the $$. Maroon purple with overt vanilla oak sweetness with a luscious layer of red berry. It’s a big, minty, extractive style in an outsized mode with lots of oak and fruit sweetness before some biting tannins and firm acidity. So much hearty appeal, even it’s a rather rough edged wine.
Best drinking: Will be even better next year and for ten years easy. 17/20, 90/100. 14.5%, $22
Silkwood Estate The Walcott Shiraz 2016
Pemberton Shiraz in an approachable mode. Squished boysenberry nose that carries through onto a nice juicy purple fruit with bitter licorice edges. Spicy, tangy, mid weight styled lifted by that boysbenberry fruit. Simply attractive.
Best drinking: Now to eight years. 17/20, 90/100. 14%, $30. Would I buy it? No.
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