Tag Archives: shiraz

Wirra Wirra 2014 Woodhenge Shiraz: Wine Review

McLaren Vale doesn’t have a Stonehenge, but it does have a Woodhenge.  Wirra Wirra’s late owner, Greg Trott, wanted to build a post and rail fence of herculean proportions. It uses massive red gum timber sourced from the Flinders Ranges, with some of the pieces weighing over three tonnes!  But slightly less colossal is the Wirra Wirra Woodhenge Shiraz.

The Wirra Wirra 2014 Woodhenge Shiraz shows great regional style, and displays what McLaren Vale does so well. Lots of plush ripe fruit, but also showing moderation.

On the nose there are aromas of warm spices including cinnamon, milk chocolate, and dried fig. On the palate its luscious and warming. Fleshy ripe plums, ripe mulberries, and chocolate coated liquorice. A hint of sweet oak. Medium to full bodied, with flavours showing restraint but still lasting in the mouth and tempting you for more. Its all supported by powdery tannins adding more texture.

The Wirra Wirra Woodhenge Shiraz is sterotypical McLaren Vale Shiraz, and a great example of it.

Wirra Wirra Woodhenge




Alcohol: 14.5%
Price: $35
Region: McLaren Vale, SA
Source: Provided by producer

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.

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

dArenberg 2011 Laughing Magpie: Wine Review

dArenberg Laughing Magpie

The Laughing Magpie from d’Arenberg has always been a consistent performer.  A traditional blend of Shiraz, with a bit of Viognier adding softness and floral characters.

Alas, the 2011 d’Arenberg Laughing Magpie took me by surprise.  On the nose there was a bit of forest floor up front, followed by meaty characters and dark plum. All-round it wasn’t an intense aroma as expected and probably lacking the floral component of previous years. Perhaps I was having a sensory bad day.

On the palate it was soft and drying, with good length. Dark cherries, ripe plum, a whiff of cracked black pepper, and clove/allspice.  But overriding was a funky smoked meat quality which distracted.  It reminded me of an acquaintance, Brett, who I haven’t seen for a few years. Shall we just say he had a personal aroma problem, but he also liked funk music, so we put up with him because he was interesting. [Obtuse cork-dork reference.]

On the second day the funk had dissipated. But overall it wasn’t the Laughing Magpie I knew so well.

Alcohol: 14.2%
RRP: $29
Region: McLaren Vale, SA
Source: Provided by producer

Bests Great Western 2014 Bin 1 Shiraz: Wine Review

Hot on the heels of the Bests 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, my interest was pique as to what wonders they could produce from the Great Western region of Victoria.
Bests Shiraz

Cooler climate Shiraz has always been a relief. Often offering meal complementing flavours and mouthfeel, without feeling like you have had a meal replacement.

The Bests Great Western Bin 1 Shiraz provides more of the red fruit (some dark berries), lovely floral perfume made me think Viognier (but there was no mention of it on the lable). A hint of dried provecale herbs and roasted fennel. Typical cool climate spices of white pepper show themselves.

On the palate its soft and luscious.  Tannins are fine and smooth, but still supportive of the fruit. Fruit is darker berries and ripe dark plums oozing with fresh summer juice. Finishing dryer in flavours, with a savoury edge of warmed black olives. A little more complexity would make it great, possibly developing over the next 5 years.

Being more medium weight, this would complement a broad range of dishes. The acidity means it could manage tomato based slow cooked meats. The 2014 Bin 1 Shiraz shows that Bests Great Western again provides good value in a smart package.

Alcohol: 14.0%
RRP: $25
Region: Grampians, VIC
Source: Provided by producer