Sometimes, you just need a wine of volume.
Something luscious, indulgent, dense and cosseting.
Something like a 14%+ Australian Shiraz.
On a thousand per cent humidity Sydney January day, I don’t find myself much in this boat, but there is a place in my life where this wine lives. Probably in AFL season, sure, but it’s there.
What about you? Where does pure hedonism sit in your drinking diet?
If you’re in the mood for such a beast, then let me present five big-boned Australian Shiraz well worth your dollars.
Tim Smith Shiraz 2021
Tim always get such great colour in his reds. Yet they’re soft edged, generous and gentle wines, rather than something angular and reductive which happens with bright young reds. This Shiraz – a blend of Eden & Barossa Valley fruit is so round, siken and lavish, with this seamless flow of purple berried (blue and black berries) fruit with chocolate vanilla oak further smoothing the edges. Undeniably rich and full bodied but seamless and never ott. Hard not to like this Barossan expression – it’s a delight.
Best drinking: now and for a decade easy. 18.5/20, 94/100. 14.5%, $45. Would I buy it? Yes.
Balgownie Estate Shiraz 2019
Cabernet is king at Balgownie, with Shiraz nearly always second. It’s the tannins that do it too. This 2019 Shiraz is pretty seductive though – mouthfillling, opulent, with this unquestioned expanse but with the cost of a bit of warmth and lack of subtlety on the finish. That texture is very appealing though, which makes this is high quality wine of impact and real power. Best drinking: I probably went to early. It will be in a better place in five years. 18/20, 93/100. 14.2%, $48. Would I buy it? Worth a few glasses in front of the football, watching the Swans win.
Kirrihill Partner Series Shiraz 2020
These new Kirrihill releases are the best in years, finally balancing out the ‘big is better’ impact of the house style with some drinkability. This Shiraz From Matt Lawson’s vineyard, and it’s big. dense purple thing very much in the 2020 style. a a thick, dense purple thing, Layers of luscious plum fruit, a decent whack of choc mint, and a big blocky luscious palate of unfolding dark fruit layers. It’s just a bit warm and drying (and oaky) at the edges but a proper wall of dark minty fruit in true Clare style. I don’t mind this – for a Clare believer it dances on the right side of thickness and excess with chocolate berry ease. Best drinking: give it a year or so and then drink over fifteen years. It’s going to keep powering on. 17.7/20, 92/100+. 14.5%, $35. Would I buy it? Two glasses for sure.
Paisley Boombox Shiraz 2020
What a bargain. You could pay $40 for this. Dark red purple. Generous and Barossan with terracotta, plum, dark jube, coffee, and then plummy and open hearted on the open finish. It’s flattering, the warmth not obvious, the sheer cosseting chunkiness welcome and loving. It’s a good Shiraz of instant hearty yet not hard appeal. Best drinking: good now and for a decade. 17.7/20, 92/100. 14.7%, $25. Would I buy it? Worth a glass or two.
Rockliffe Nautica Shiraz 2019
Rockliffe’s top red, from Great Southern fruit. Purple red. Mint, some oak toast, a little pepper, warm plum fruit. It’s a chunky wine for Great Southern too – pushed along by toasty oak and warm fruit that robs it of a little distinctiveness. Acid is tart, oak is toastiness, alcohol is warm. Plenty of flavour, but it’s a pretty blunt object despite the palate plushness. I find the finish a bit ‘made’ thanks to the acidity. Time is going to help, but it doesn’t feel premium yet – just ambitious. Best drinking: wait a few years and then drink over ten years or more. 17.7/20, 92/100. 14.5%, $100. Would I buy it? Too pricey for me.
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