This is a delicious Châteauneuf-du-Pape, a region whose wines I taste infrequently. From the 2015 vintage, the Clefs des Papes has aromas of savoury plums, stones and smoke. The palate has great length and is moreish. This is a great value CNP that is ready to drink now. Rating: Very Good. Abv: 14.5%. Price: $50. Website: n/a.
I’ve had some very good Craiglee shiraz over the years. The 2013 however appears to be a lesser vintage. Its aroma reminds of red fruits and plums, but there is little of the typical pepper of this estate. The palate is pleasant enough, although the finish is a little short and, at times, warming. Ready to drink now, this Craiglee may need more time to develop. Rating: Acceptable to Good. Abv: 13.5%. Price: $60. Website: www.craigleevineyard.com.
The 2016 vintage of d’Arenberg’s “The Bonsai” GSM is a blend of 48% grenache, 47% shiraz and 5% mourvèdre. It is quite reticent in its aroma, with some red berry characters. The palate is baked and full bodied in impression, with sweet and savoury edges and somewhat prominent acidity. Ready to drink now, this is sound drinking. Rating: Acceptable to Good. Abv: 14.5%. Price: $29. Website: www.darenberg.com.au. Source: Sample.
While not cheap at $100, this is Mudgee shiraz at its most refined. There are gentle aromatics of spice, plums, menthol and some earthiness. In terms of winemaking, after a 3 day cold soak, the wine spent only 5 days fermenting on skins before being pressed off to continue fermentation in barrels (60% new). The palate is full bodied, the tannins supple as might be expected, the finish is long and the balance elegant and poised. Ready to drink now, this wine can be approached over a decade or more. Rating: Very Good. Abv: 14.8%. Price: $100. Website: huntingtonestate.com.au. Source: Sample.
|Image courtesy of d’Arenberg
d’Arenberg’s “The Ironstone Pressings” continues its form as a benchmark McLaren Vale GSM. A blend of 70% grenache, 25% shiraz and 5% mourvèdre, the 2016 vintage is savoury and earthy, but with ripe and full flavoured fruit underneath. The palate is full bodied, viscous and has quite firm but ripe tannins and long length on the finish. This wine can be approached now or over the next decade. Rating: Outstanding. Abv: 14.5%. Price: $75. Website: www.darenberg.com.au. Source: Sample.
The 2014 vintage of Gartelmann’s Mudgee shiraz has rich aromas of plums, oak, vanilla and cedar. The palate is full bodied, with oak and spiced plums on the finish. Approachable if somewhat oaky at this point, this wine may improve with at least five years in the cellar. Rating: Good. Abv: 14.8%. Price: $30. Website: www.gartelmann.com.au. Source: Sample. Tasted: November 2018.