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Bob Parsons Alberta

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Shiraz. What is your verdict?

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Tue Feb 05, 2013 12:04 pm

In recent years , in my area especially, there seems to have been a move away from Australia and Shiraz with more focus on red wines from Chile and Argentina. Not always a good move in my opinion but nevertheless there seems to be a move away from the high alcohol, fruit bomb wines that seem to dominate the Oz wine shelves in my region. I know we are always told the good stuff stays at home but, here in Alberta, there are some highly priced reds to be found here.
I too have moved on but am quite interested in what is happening in Spain and Portugal. My first love is still the Loire Valley for both red and white bit I think I should take another look at Australian Shiraz. Tahbilk and Vasse Felix were frequently on my shopping list but now I see names like Two Hands, Mitolo, Glaetzer for example.
Where do forumites think I should be looking? If you have some good TNs why not post here? Availability will of course always be an issue up here!
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David M. Bueker

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Re: Shiraz. What is your verdict?

by David M. Bueker » Tue Feb 05, 2013 12:18 pm

I think I have bought 3 bottles of Aussie Shiraz in the last 5 years.
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Re: Shiraz. What is your verdict?

by Sam Platt » Tue Feb 05, 2013 12:34 pm

Bob,

I hesitate to speak lest I be mocked for taking pleasure in the occasional Shiraz jam-fest. Schild, Mollydooker and D' Arenberg's mid-level bottlings ($40 to $80) are typically pretty sound. Be warned that they are all big, alcoholic and jammy. When I want subtley and complexity I look to France.
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Re: Shiraz. What is your verdict?

by Mark Lipton » Tue Feb 05, 2013 12:47 pm

Bob,
I have shied away from Aussie Shiraz since the '90s as I found my tastes moving away from big, jammy, low acid reds. However, last year on a visit to the Hunter Valley I was quite taken with some of the Hunter Valley Shirazes, which were much lighter and brighter. This is quite paradoxical since the Hunter is the hottest growing region in Oz, but then again they were harvesting when we were there in January.

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Re: Shiraz. What is your verdict?

by Jim Grow » Tue Feb 05, 2013 1:14 pm

Bob, I have also moved away from the big Aussie Shiraz but when I could find it the Cascabel Shiraz from the cool Flurie Penninsula was a fabulous wine with 5-6% Viognier, especially with 5+ years on it. It cost about $18-20. I still see it on a wine search from somewhere out East but have not tried to special order it. Definitely NOT the Mollydooker style of Shiraz!
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Re: Shiraz. What is your verdict?

by Brian K Miller » Tue Feb 05, 2013 2:45 pm

We just tried this budget-friendly Shiraz from Jim Barry this weekend. from a cooler site 1500 feet up in the Clare Valley. Very meaty and savory wine (or "savoury"???) Shiraz but with nice rich blackberry fruit. Not really jammy or overblown at all.

http://jimbarry.com/wines/lodge-hill-shiraz

My friends and I also drank through at least a case of the 2001 Tower Hunter Valley and Barossa Shiraz. Alas, there are no more bottles left at Corti Brothers!
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Bob Parsons Alberta

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Re: Shiraz. What is your verdict?

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Tue Feb 05, 2013 3:11 pm

Thanks, this is more like it. Lots of suggestions and a few to be found up here :wink:

Last night I opened the `08 Tahbilk Shiraz but left most for tonites braised shoulder of lamb!
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Carl Eppig

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Re: Shiraz. What is your verdict?

by Carl Eppig » Tue Feb 05, 2013 7:12 pm

I like Cab/Shiraz blends from Oz. If I have to I'll mix them myself from the same producer. Have received comments for such offerings.
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Re: Shiraz. What is your verdict?

by Jenise » Tue Feb 05, 2013 8:11 pm

Bob Parsons Alberta wrote:Thanks, this is more like it. Lots of suggestions and a few to be found up here :wink:

Last night I opened the `08 Tahbilk Shiraz but left most for tonites braised shoulder of lamb!


Bests, Taltarni and Mt. Langhi Ghiran came to mind right off the top. And I too don't buy many any more, because though I really enjoy Clare Valley, Grampians, Margaret River and Coonawarra wines to name a few, those aren't what show up in Washington state. But all we see are Barossa and McClaren Vale wines, of which the former are often too sappy and a typical characteristic of the latter is a lactic, malted, sour milk flavor that I don't care for a bit. I don't know how D'Arenberg escapes it. And if it's there on top of lots of highly toast oak, which it often is (think Delisio and Fox Creek, here)? To my palate, they are the black velvet Elvis paintings of the wine world.
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Doug Surplus

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Re: Shiraz. What is your verdict?

by Doug Surplus » Wed Feb 06, 2013 2:02 am

I can't remember the last time I had a Shiraz from Oz and the only bottle of it I have is a 98 Chapoutier Mt Benson that I'm saving for the next time the drain clogs up. The Aussie selections around here are few and not very compelling.
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Tim York

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Re: Shiraz. What is your verdict?

by Tim York » Wed Feb 06, 2013 4:52 am

I've never liked Shiraz from Oz with one or two exceptions. The mainstream product seems to be a blackberry fruit cordial with gobs of oak, American to boot, gobs of alcohol and sometimes a mints tinge. Frankly I doubt whether the Australian warm climate can easily deliver to sort of Syrah/Shiraz which I like; I don't much care for most Syrah from Southern Europe.

The main exceptions which I have had are 20+ year Grange, which I can't afford, Clonakilla (I always try to bring a bottle back from London) and some offerings from Frankland estate, which are very good but not appealing enough to my palate to buy in preference to, say, Gonon, Graillot and Alquier at a similar price. At a recent tasting, Rolf Binder poured a wine (was it Hanisch?) which was impressive in a sip and spit context but costs around €100 :shock: .

Perhaps I should do more exploration amongst the boutique offerings, if I can find them, to check out the diversity which people like Salil say is out there, but somehow I haven't got round to it.

I am, however, puzzled that the Alberta taste is inclining towards Argentina and Chile. I used to be a fan of Argentina but a lot which I have had recently have been international blockbusters and, as for Chile, I have found most of its production bland and boring, if sound. Again, I suppose I ought to do more exploration.

Re Argentine I haven't forgotten my shock hearing from a Mendoza lecturer at the Malbec jamboree in Cahors that the thrust of their research was towards increasing convergence in the taste of different Malbecs; so much for personality and terroir expression :x .
Last edited by Tim York on Wed Feb 06, 2013 6:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Shiraz. What is your verdict?

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Wed Feb 06, 2013 6:18 am

Great chat here, plus on UK board. Funny no side mention of Shiraz/Viognier blends?
Tim mentions Frankland...nice. Likewise with Alkoomi. Bests and Taltarni are good suggestions from Jenise.
Regards Argentina and Chile, punters looking for a $20 red seem more at ease looking at the shelves stocked with "goodies". I would avoid most it has to be said :wink:
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Re: Shiraz. What is your verdict?

by Tim York » Wed Feb 06, 2013 6:35 am

Bob Parsons Alberta wrote:Great chat here, plus on UK board. Funny no side mention of Shiraz/Viognier blends?
Tim mentions Frankland...nice. Likewise with Alkoomi. Bests and Taltarni are good suggestions from Jenise.
Regards Argentina and Chile, punters looking for a $20 red seem more at ease looking at the shelves stocked with "goodies". I would avoid most it has to be said :wink:


Bob, Clonakilla is a Shiraz/Viognier blend, which may partly account for its excellence.
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Re: Shiraz. What is your verdict?

by Fredrik L » Wed Feb 06, 2013 6:49 am

I adore almost all vintages of Henschke´s Hill of Grace and Chris Ringland; I like many vintages of Roennfeldt Road, Astralis and Jasper Hill´s two Paddocks; I do not mind drinking some vintages of Grange and Mount Edelstone. That is about it.

Greetings from Sweden / Fredrik L
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Re: Shiraz. What is your verdict?

by Joy Lindholm » Wed Feb 06, 2013 1:57 pm

I generally try to avoid most Aussie wines like the plague, not just Shiraz. But then, I like my jam on toast, not it liquid form. :wink:

The one Aussie wine that really left me speechless was the 2007-2008 Betts & Scholl "The OG" Grenache. I have never had a Grenache so light and lively - it reminded me of a Cotes du Rhone with a bit more fruit. It was lower in alc (under 14%) and very nuanced. Sadly, these two aren't making wine together anymore, so I'm doubtful I'll find anything like it soon.
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Re: Shiraz. What is your verdict?

by Jenise » Wed Feb 06, 2013 2:42 pm

Joy Lindholm wrote:I generally try to avoid most Aussie wines like the plague, not just Shiraz. But then, I like my jam on toast, not it liquid form. :wink:



The trouble is not that there aren't great wines in Australia. They're there! It's just that what's chosen for export to the States, sadly, is the big/hot/sweet style and not the balanced elegance type that also exists.
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Re: Shiraz. What is your verdict?

by David M. Bueker » Wed Feb 06, 2013 2:52 pm

Jenise wrote:
Joy Lindholm wrote:I generally try to avoid most Aussie wines like the plague, not just Shiraz. But then, I like my jam on toast, not it liquid form. :wink:



The trouble is not that there aren't great wines in Australia. They're there! It's just that what's chosen for export to the States, sadly, is the big/hot/sweet style and not the balanced elegance type that also exists.


+1

I enjoy the occasional bottles of Wendouree, Mt Langhi, etc that cross my palate. Most of the highly touted, available wines make me want to run away in horror. Several years ago I bought a few highly rated Aussie wines just to give the category another shot. Oof...jam and alcohol. It was like a college frat party in a bottle.
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Re: Shiraz. What is your verdict?

by Mark Lipton » Wed Feb 06, 2013 5:43 pm

David M. Bueker wrote:
Jenise wrote:
Joy Lindholm wrote:I generally try to avoid most Aussie wines like the plague, not just Shiraz. But then, I like my jam on toast, not it liquid form. :wink:



The trouble is not that there aren't great wines in Australia. They're there! It's just that what's chosen for export to the States, sadly, is the big/hot/sweet style and not the balanced elegance type that also exists.


+1

I enjoy the occasional bottles of Wendouree, Mt Langhi, etc that cross my palate. Most of the highly touted, available wines make me want to run away in horror. Several years ago I bought a few highly rated Aussie wines just to give the category another shot. Oof...jam and alcohol. It was like a college frat party in a bottle.


When I was in Sydney last year, I went into a very good wine shop and looked at the bottles of Wendouree and Mt Langhi. Alas, the pricing even in Oz was a deterrent to me. As long as Gonon, Texier and ESJ sell at the price point that they do, I don't see myself straying too far afield.

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Re: Shiraz. What is your verdict?

by Dale Williams » Wed Feb 06, 2013 5:58 pm

Australia makes up 0.4% of my cellar. One varietal Shiraz (Mt Langi Gihran), few bottles of claret blends (Parker 1st growth, Yarra Yerring #1). Used to have some Penfolds 389 Shiraz/Cab blends, drank them up, and they became too expensive for what they are. I like Henscke Mt Edelstone a LOT with age, but it's expensive.
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Joy Lindholm

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Re: Shiraz. What is your verdict?

by Joy Lindholm » Wed Feb 06, 2013 6:39 pm

Jenise wrote:
Joy Lindholm wrote:I generally try to avoid most Aussie wines like the plague, not just Shiraz. But then, I like my jam on toast, not it liquid form. :wink:



The trouble is not that there aren't great wines in Australia. They're there! It's just that what's chosen for export to the States, sadly, is the big/hot/sweet style and not the balanced elegance type that also exists.


Yes, and none of the balanced ones ever make it to Nebraska... :( But then again, I could say the same about 90% of the stuff that comes from California too....
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Re: Shiraz. What is your verdict?

by Jason Hagen » Wed Feb 06, 2013 7:48 pm

Somewhat recently I had the '96 Rosemount Diamond Label. I think it was 5 bucks on release. This wine was outstanding at 15+ years. I kicked myself for not sticking some away.

But I don't generally buy Shiraz. It is listed as 1.4% of my cellar but that will go down next week when I update CT.

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Re: Shiraz. What is your verdict?

by Hoke » Wed Feb 06, 2013 10:06 pm

What others have said:

Many of the best are out of my reach now, especially when compared to where else I can spend that money.

Many of the best simply aren't easily available in the distribution system these days.

Most of the rest has been so overworked and beat to sodden pulpy death, with all backbone removed, as to be of no interest whatsoever. Sweetened, thick fruit juice with alcohol.

Just not my style.

I have a few left, but only a very few, and they're not being replaced.

The lesson of Australia seems to be: be careful what you strive for. You might want the goal so much that you're willing to give away what made you intriguing in the first place. Everyone likes a value, but no one cares when it has become a commodity item.
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Bob Parsons Alberta

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Re: Shiraz. What is your verdict?

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Thu Feb 07, 2013 6:16 am

Well here is a Shiraz from Tahbilk which I hope will not be (quote) .....sweetened, thick fruit juice with alcohol. But I know where Hoke is coming from!

WTN: 2008 Tahbilk Shiraz Nagambie Lakes Central Victoria.

$24 Cdn, SC, 14.5% alc. Opened one hour, not decanted and consumed over 3 day period. 18 months oak but does not really show on palate.

Very deep violet in the glass, aromas of plum and blackberry. Took about 3 hrs to start opening up with additional notes of cassis and some tobacco.
Entry is dry, smooth tannins, earthy with no ripe jammy fruit apparent.
Quite complex and think not at its peak yet. Good acidity, full-bodied and great length. Was really singing by day 3 with some plum, cherry sweetness on the finish. Much smoother as I drained my last glass.
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Bill Spohn

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Re: Shiraz. What is your verdict?

by Bill Spohn » Thu Feb 07, 2013 12:15 pm

Jenise wrote:The trouble is not that there aren't great wines in Australia. They're there! It's just that what's chosen for export to the States, sadly, is the big/hot/sweet style and not the balanced elegance type that also exists.



Amen. Very disappointed in modern Shiraz and in the lack of selection we get here. I've taken the export directors to task in person and they say 'But that's what sells here' and they aren't wrong, it just doesn't sell to me or anyone like me.

I've been working my way through 90s Shiraz wil a fair bit of success but after about 2002 I find I rarely like them.

Maybe I should start bringing recent Shiraz to every wine lunch until they are gone..... :twisted: Unfortunately that is probably around 8 cases, so it might get a bit monotonous.
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