Sunday roast lunch with family, a loopy dog and two very good Australian Shiraz’s, is there a better way to spend an afternoon to end the week, I think not.
The two Aussie bottles in question were the ‘Black Shiraz‘ and the ‘Hedonist’, been wanting to try the Black Shiraz for a while now ever since seeing it on the shelf of our local Co op after hearing good things in the press about it. Made in the Berton vineyards of SE Australia with its plain dark bottle with a pewter label and 14.5% abv, it just cries out powerhouse, the heavy metal of the wine world. The Hedonist completely different in looks but with the words ‘McLaren Vale’ on the label it was bound to be good, I hoped !
As it turned out both were very decent in their own way considering their differing price points, £7.49 and £13.99 The Hedonist being the dearer.
First bottle opened was the Black Shiraz, this was very dark in colour with pronounced aromas of blackberries and plums, the nose was really all about the intense fruit although not much else of note. Taste wise again dark plums with blackcurrants and a bit spice. The alcohol which at 14.5% was definitely noticeable giving a little heat on the back of the throat but the tannins were quite subtle. Overall this ended up being a lovely mouthful of juicy mouth-watering black fruits, slightly sour with a kick of spice and for a high alcohol wine surprisingly drinkable.
Next the Hedonist made an appearance and everyone around the table thought this was a step up in quality although no one knew the price of either bottle but all guessed this was the more expensive. If the Black Shiraz was dark in colour this was almost inky and had a headier aroma with dark ripe fruits, liquorice, cocoa and vanilla. The taste was a lot more velvety and rich in texture, the fruit was slightly sweeter and there was a hit of chocolate, vanilla and black pepper spice, again the alcohol was high 14% but not as noticeable as the Black Shiraz. Everyone agreed this was a lovely wine.
In conclusion, the Hedonist was the outright winner but that’s not to say the Black Shiraz was that far behind and for £7.49 excellent value and I wouldn’t hesitate in buying it again but if you fancy spending double again the Hedonist is a fabulous wine and probably worth the extra, no, definitely worth the extra !
The Black Shiraz
My Rating 8/10 Corks
Co op £7.49
My Rating 8.5/10 Corks
Kangarilla Road I reviewed earlier in the year is one of my favourite Shiraz’s and this 2up from the same winery, It’s their second label wine and although not quite reaching the heights of it’s bigger brother, it’s still very good.
The name 2up comes from a old Australian gambling game dating back to the beginnings of the Gold Rush mining days of the 1850’s in which two pennies are tossed up and bets are made on the way they fall.
Make a bet on this bottle you won’t be disappointed. When poured this was extremely dark in colour, almost inky black. Aromas wise, very fruity with rich ripe plums, cherries and a hint of strawberries, very chocolatey and full of spiced cinnamon and nutmeg.
Take a mouthful and straight away the dark fruits take over along with sweet subtle combination of French and American oak with mild well-balanced tannins. The spice comes through as well as that rich chocolate but doesn’t overpower and makes for a pretty smooth velvety wine.
A bit of a Aussie fruit bomb this may be but it’s easy to drink, with or without food, I drank this without food sitting in the garden early evening with friends and it was a delight, perhaps a little too easy though before I knew it the bottle was empty.
My Rating 8/10 Corks
Majestic – Around £7 on Multi Buy
The definition of a Hedonist is ‘a person who believes that the pursuit of pleasure is the most important thing in life; a pleasure-seeker.’ and one of the ways of enjoying life is drinking a good bottle of wine.
I haven’t opened a Aussie wine now for a while and I must say it was nice to return to the sunny shores of our antipodean friends with this heady Shiraz from McLaren Vale made with grapes grown biodynamically without chemical intervention of pesticides or herbicides.
In the glass this wine is dark almost inky black, a wine you could dip the tip of a fountain pen in it a write a novel with. If you sniff hard enough there is some dark rich fruit there, mainly blackberries along with dark chocolate, spice and a little vanilla.
First taste this is a fruit powerhouse, juicy acidity, slightly jammy with blackberries, plums and white peppery spice. Sweet but also sour tasting with a woody vanilla flavour and grainy tannins. At 14% this is rich wine and very enjoyable, can cope with robust foods but can be equally drunk on its own.
A bit of a fruit bomb but a well made one and I wouldn’t hesitate in buying it again even at £14.
My Rating 8/10 Corks
Waitrose around £14
Kangarilla Road great name great looking bottle, bought six of these a few years ago, this is the last one and unlike me they get better and better with age.
Named after the road that runs into the small village of Kangarilla, McLaren Vale, South Australia, its name translates from the Aborignal word meaning ‘an abundance of local resources’.
In Its boutique style black bottle and label this is a classy Shiraz that won’t disappoint (unless you happen not to like Shiraz).
As soon as the cap is unscrewed and the wine is poured this very dark inky liquid settles causing an aroma of rich ripe berries, sweet spices and vanilla to leap out of the glass leading up to a heady and pleasurable ‘Mmmmm’ .
Taste wise my first thoughts were of liquidised Black Forest Gateaux, velvety tannins and a rich smoothness . Ripe and I mean really ripe dark berry fruits coat the mouth with vanilla, sweet menthol spices and dark chocolate, this really was a lovely tasting wine.
As you probably gathered I like this wine a lot and as I search for the elusive 9 or maybe 10 corks out of ten this almost makes my first 9 but not quite, if I could I would give it 8.75 but 8.5 it has to be. So my quest for the 9 & 10 corks continues. Sorry for all those numbers in this paragraph sounds like a maths equation.
Big thumbs up for this Aussie beauty then, good on ya !
My rating huge 8.5/10 Corks
Majestic around £14