Tag Archives: 2013

Calabria 2013 Old Vine Shiraz: Wine Review

The previous Calabria wines which were tasted, Aglianico, Durif, etc have all come from Riverina in NSW.  But the Calabria family also have some lovely old vines around Barossa Valley in South Australia.

Just like the other Calabria Family wines, this Barossa Old Vine Shiraz is sensational value. On the nose there is dark rich ripe fruit, a good sprinkling of vanilla spice and lots of intensity.

Calabria Shiraz

On the palate the Calabria Old Vine Shiraz is medium to full-bodied-traditional-Barossa-Shiraz goodness. Ripe dark fruit, cooked ripe plums, a bit of dusty fennel seed and roasted meats. The tannins are soft and welcoming. Alcohol is noticeable and warming, and ideal for mid-winter catchup with friends.  While there is an absence of refinement and restraint, it makes up for in generosity of flavour.

Alcohol: 14.5%
Price: $26
Region: BarossaValley, SA
Source: Provided by producer

Edited: Amended price.

Reillys 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon: Wine Review

Clare Valley can experience gorgeous warm summer days. Then in the evening the temperature drops noticeably. So its more of a Continental climate, than a Mediterranean one.  All this leads to ripe complex flavours, without many of the overripe characters experienced by warmer regions.
Reillys Cabernet

The Reillys Cabernet Sauvignon shows subtle aromas of typical Clare Valley menthol, dark berries and hints of warm spices. Generally showing fresh and airy aromas.

On the palate some lovely choc-mint, white pepper, and fresh opulent fruit which is in no way overbearing. The Reillys Cabernet Sauvignon is really quite a restrained style. All rounded out with gentle vanilla oak. Tannis are firm and grippy however. Possibly pairing with red meat (even some Clare Valley salt bush mutton) might tame them at this early stage.

Alcohol: 14.5%
Price: $35
Region: Clare Valley, SA
Source: Provided by producer

Reillys 2013 Sangiovese: Wine Review

Its always good to see a wine that tastes like the variety is supposed to. Not just some wishy-wash dry red from the South-eastern part of a continent. The Reilly’s Dry Land Sangiovese is true to label.  Reillys Sangiovese

On the nose there ripe dark fruit, but supported by hints of savoury black tea and a herbal sage edge. On the palate lots of acidity, and lovely sour cherries. Again more savoury black tea characters.  Tannins are textural but don’t dominate. While its a medium bodied Sangiovese, it does have a touch 5% of Cabernet Sauvignon to probably give it a little more body. But you know its a Sangiovese with the usual characteristics there.

The freshness of the wine (and probably a good dose of Italian wine sterotypes) would suggest tomato based pasta dishes, or something a little more hearty and slow cooked.


Alcohol: 14.5%
Price: $25
Region: Clare Valley, SA
Source: Provided by producer

Wirra Wirra 2013 RSW Shiraz: Wine Review

The Wirra Wirra RSW Shiraz is named after Robert Strangways Wigley, a noted South Australian eccentric and cricketer who established Wirra Wirra back in 1894. Its seems that McLaren Vale is particularly good at producing ‘interesting’ characters, as well as great Shiraz even to this day.

Wirra Wirra RSW

Wirra Wirra RSW

On the nose there a complex array of fruit, ranging from lighter red berries to dark ripe plums.  Some powder cocoa aromas as well as dusty earth.

On the palate its rich and ripe, but nothing over extracted. Dark berries, ripe plums, and some hints of mocca or dark chocolate. Not really showing the typical McLaren Vale olive character which is sometimes found in wines of the region. Its shows both power and restraint simultaneously.  The RSW Shiraz would complement slow cooked meat dished, preferable in the middle of winter, with or without friends.

Needless to say the Wirra Wirra RSW will easily cellar for 10-15 years, with substantial tannins supporting it for the long haul.

RRP $70
Alc 14.5%
Region: McLaren Vale
Source: Provided by producer

Wirra Wirra 2013 The Absconder Grenache: Wine Review

It may be my personal predilection to all things Pinot, but Grenache is also a variety which works so well.  Not only from a personal wine preference, but also in conjunction with the food and climate of South Australia.

Over the last few years we have seen some restraint coming back into wine styles – more cooler climate Shiraz, earlier picked Grenache.  Grenache is no longer only good for hand-to-hand combat, with alcohols of 16.5% plus (although there are still some around). Producers are letting the freshness of the fruit come to the forefront. More red berries and sour cherries leaping from the glass, rather than almost fortified over ripe dark berries.wirra wirra absconder grenache

The Wirra Wirra 2013 Absconder Grenache is another in the band of merry producers with a lighter touch in the vineyard. On the nose there’s ripe cherries, and some warm Asian spice. A subtle savoury/leather character adds complexity.

On the palate there’s a lightness of touch to this medium bodied Grenache. Its open and inviting. Ripe plums and a rare roast meat.  Warm roasted fennel provides a liquorice component. The acidity is noticeable, but all in balance with the fruit. The Wirra Wirra Absconder is indeed a lovely wine.

RRP $70
Alc 14.5%
Region: McLaren Vale
Source: Provided by producer

Gemtree 2013 Bloodstone Shiraz: Wine Review

Gemtree Wines, situated in South Australia’s McLaren Vale wine region, was created back in 1998 by the Buttery Family.  But their journey along the organic and biodynamic path was really only undertaken from 2007.

Gemtree Bloodstone Shiraz

Their properties cover a broad range of McLaren Vale’s already complex subregions. So what better way to show off the fruit from these regions than through minimal intervention and organic principles.

A visit to Gemtree’s cellar door (which has great views across McLaren Vale region) helps explain not only the different soil types across the region, but also the philosophy behind organics and especially biodynamics.

The Gemtree 2013 Bloodstone Shiraz, is typical of a McLaren Vale’s ripe and generous Shiraz. On the nose there is vibrant dark fruit, and a background of sweet spice. The palate, while fuller in style, definitely not over the top. Its a noticeably warm 15%.  Dark blue fruits, ripe plum and degree of adhesive grippiness. A finish of rare charred meat, (a little metallic) made me think the wines name had influenced my sensory skills.  In all a good value McLaren Vale Shiraz.

Alcohol: 15.0%
RRP: $16
Region: McLaren Vale
Source: Provided by producer

For those into the finer points of biodynamics, this wine was tasted on a leaf day (7 Sept 2015).  Which I now know is not ideal for wine tasting. It was also tasted the following day – a fruit day.  Which is recommended for tasting.