Tasting Notes contains just that notes on wines I have tasted!

Friday, May 27, 2005

2003 Australian Shiraz

Following the acclaimed 2002 vintage the wines of 2003 have not been as well received. But there are claims that good wines can be found and so the search begins.

Shingleback McLaren Vale Shiraz 2003 $14.89USD
Dense cherry red with red edge. Very much generic Aussie Shiraz with sweet oak, blueberry, blackberry over smoke and vanilla. Full bodied with firm tannins, juicy acidity and tarry notes. Lacks depth or complexity. Considering the press it has received I was expecting more from this wine but the value is just not there. 2, 2, 3.8, 8.5 = 17.3/20, 86/100. 14.5% alcohol. Tasted January 10, 2006.

Yalumba Y Series Shiraz 2003 $8.99USD
Cherry red with a faint orange/pink tinge to the edge. Subdued notes of pepper, cloves, cherry and milk chocolate. Full bodied with firm tannins and bright acidity. A competent attempt that lacks depth on the midpalate and finishes short. 2, 2, 3.7, 8.5 = 17.2/20, 86/100. 13.5% alcohol. Tasted January 2, 2006.

Forefathers McLaren Vale Shiraz 2003 (American and French Oak) $21.99USD
Dense cherry red with red edge. Restrained aromas of chocolate, dusty oak, and faint vanilla. Enhanced flavors on the palate of ripe cherry, blackberry, and oak. Full bodied with very soft tannins and juicy acidity. A well structured, classy Shiraz. 2, 2, 3.9, 10.1 = 18.0/20, 90/100. Tasted November 13, 2005. 14.4% alcohol.

O’Leary Walker Clare Valley/McLaren vale Shiraz 2003 $22.99USD
Dense cherry red with red edge. Restrained notes of rich, ripe fruit, blackberry, pepper and fruitcake. Developed savoury note of Bonox. Medium to full bodied with bright acidity, a layer of fine tannins. Lacks depth and the finish is quite short. At 24 hours the acidity was sharper with toasted/roasted flavors of blackberry, oak and vanilla. 2, 2, 4.2, 9.7 = 17.9/20, 89/100. Tasted November, 10, 2005. 14.5% alcohol.

Sanguine Estate Heathcote Shiraz 2003 $39.99USD
Dense cherry red with red edge. Opulent notes of ripe blackberry/cherry jam, cloves and sweet oak. A rich, full bodied wine with excellent carry of flavors onto the palate. Soft and supple with silky smooth tannins and bright, juicy acidity. Very well balanced with excellent depth of flavor intensity across the palate and a lengthy finish. Drinking well now and should do so for another decade. At 24 hours flavors of smoked oak and vanilla meld with the impressive suppleness. 2, 2, 4.3, 10.2 = 18.5/20, 92/100. 14.5% alcohol. Tasted November 4-5, 2005.

Nugan Estate Shiraz 2003 $8.99USD (Screwcap)
Light cherry red with a pink edge. A reductive character initially that gave way to spicy, peppery aromas more typical of Pinot Noir than Australian Shiraz. Full bodied with pleasant mouthfeel. The subtle fruit characters and very soft tannins are balanced by clean acidity. A nicely structured wine providing very impressive value. Highly recommended for every day drinking. 2, 2, 3.9, 9.9 = 17,8/20, 89/100. 13.5% alcohol. Tasted October 26, 2005.

Casella Wines yellow tail Reserve Shiraz 2003 $9.99USD (French Oak)
Dense cherry red with red edge. Big, sweet blackberry jam turning to tomato paste and then toasted oak and pepper. Flavors developed nicely over 60-90 minutes. Medium weight with soft tannins and bright acidity. Tasted at 24 and again at 48 hours the wine retained its distinctive blackberry flavor. A well balanced pleasant wine that should hold up for the next 3-5 years, and perhaps longer. 2, 2, 3.8, 9.5 = 17.3/20, 86/100. Tasted October 24-26, 2005.

Taltarni Heathcote (Victoria) Shiraz 2003 $27.99USD
Sourced from a single vineyard this Shiraz is dense cherry red with a red edge. Ripe, sweet cherry, sweet oak and faint pepper. Full bodied but plain and simple with soft tannins and juicy acidity unable to hold up the lack of depth and complexity across the palate and the short finish. Drink over the next 5years. 2, 2, 3.7, 9.5 = 17.2/20, 86/100. 14% alcohol. Tasted October 21, 2005.

RockBare McLaren Vale Shiraz 2003 $12.99USD (French Oak)
Cherry red with red edge. Initially a little sulphur stink, then subdued hint of sweet toffee, oak and licorice. Quickly opened to cherries, chocolate and pepper. Full bodied with juicy acidity and impressive length to the finish. 2, 2, 3.9, 9.5 = 17.4/20, 87/100. 14.7% alcohol. Tasted October 17, 2005.

Turkey Flat Vineyards Barossa Valley Shiraz 2003 $39.99USD (French Oak)
Dense cherry red with red edge. Rich, ripe cherry with toasted oak, pepper and blueberry. Full bodied with sound structure but the gripping tannins and hard bitter finish have yet to balance with the mouth watering acidity. No change at 24 hours. Not as impressive as the 2002. 2, 2, 4.0, 9.3 = 17.3/20, 87/100. 14.5% alcohol. Tasted October 11-12, 2005.

Craneford Shiraz (John Zilm) 2003 $27.99USD
Pours an intense purple into the glass. On its edge it’s a dense cherry red with a red edge. Restrained notes blueberry, chocolate, sweet oak and pepper, with a little barnyard note underneath. The initial entry onto the palate is of ink together with sharp acidity and metallic hardness. Still it is mouthfilling with a nice soft and supple feel due to the very fine tannins and bright acidity. An earthy note rounds out a lengthy finish. At 24 hours the ink note was still prominent, as was the hardness. Not of the same caliber as the 2002. 2, 2, 3.8, 9.3 = 17.2/20, 86/100. 14% alcohol. Tasted September 19-20, 2005.

Burge Family Barossa Valley Draycott 2003 $47.99USD
Already has sediment. Cherry red with a slight orange tinge to the edge. Smells very much like barnyard. Medium weight with a soft, supple entry, attractive acidity and soft tannins. Nicely balanced. Flavors in the mouth are barnyard and cherries. After about an hour of frequent swirling in a vinum shaped glass flavors of cherries, licorice and dusty oak come up, with the barnyard character fading on the nose and palate. At 24 hours there is still plenty of bright acidity and the barnyard is reduced. 2, 2, 4.0, 10.1 = 18.1/20, 90/100. 14.5% alcohol. Tasted September 15-16, 2005.

The barnyard character in this wine has been discussed on the Auswine forum and Ric Einstein’s TORB site. The winery has tested the wine and the barnyard character is not Brett. But it certainly does smell like Brett, and that smell is consistent with a previous tasting. But it does fade which is unusual for Brett. There was another thing about this wine that was distinctive. The cork smelt of insect repellent! That’s another first for me. Usually a cork with have little smell, especially an hour or so after it has been pulled.

Although I scored this wine quite well, I wouldn’t recommend it. There are plenty of other Shiraz wines out there that will give more immediate pleasure, and because we don’t know what will happen with the barnyard odor with time I would not be comfortable putting it in the cellar.

Two Way Range Barossa Valley Shraz 2003 $49.99USD
A vibrant purple from the bottle. In the glass a dense cherry red with pink edge. Opulent with aromas of chocolate, blueberry, and dusty oak. Developed pepper and background notes of tar and toasted oak. Mouthfilling with drying tannins and sweetness of ripe fruit. Well structured with a lengthy finish. At 24 hours the aromas are a little subdued but there is still a mouthful of pleasure. 2, 2, 4.1, 10.1 = 18.2/20, 91/100. 15.5% alcohol. Tasted September 8-9, 2005.

Torbreck The Struie Barossa Valley 2003 $39.99USD (French (80 percent) and new French (20 percent) oak barriques)
Pours purple from the bottle. In the glass it is a dense cherry red with a red edge. Rich and ripe aromas of blueberry, vanilla and dusty oak followed by notes of toasted oak and licorice. Mouthfilling with chewy tannins and excellent depth and concentration of flavors across the palate. Excellent balance and structure complemented by a impressive length to the finish. A bold expression of Shiraz. 2, 2, 4.3, 10.4 = 18.7/20, 94/100. 14.5% alcohol. Tasted September 3, 2005.

I tasted this wine at the Torbreck Winery in December 2004 and rated it highly then (18.9/20). While the aromas are changing the quality of this wine has held true. Add this to your cellar and leave it for 5-10 years and you will be well rewarded.

The Colonial Estate l’explorateur 2003 $23.99USD (French and American Oak)
Hazy dense cherry red with red edge. Rich Blueberry/Blackberry jam and violets over sweet vanilla oak. Full bodied, well structured. Grainy tannins but not overly astringent. Bright acidity and nice length to the finish. At 24 hours still excellent depth and complexity of flavors of blackberry, chocolate, coffee and vanilla. The palate has some sour acidity but still soft and supple. 2, 2, 4.2, 10.1 = 18.3/20, 92/100. 14.5% alcohol. Tasted August 29-30, 2005.

Tim Smith Wines Barossa Valley Shiraz 2003 $39.99USD
A wine made with bunch fermentation, lees aging, and some barrel fermentation. Dense cherry red with red edge. Rich and ripe with notes of blackberry, vanilla and coconut (and a little ethyl acetate, EA). Full bodied with excellent depth across the palate, clean acidity and fine tannins. A toasted note tops the finish. Excellent flavor carry onto the palate with toasted coconut, blackberry and vanilla with integrated sweetness. At 24 hours the acidity a little more biting but still a very impressive wine with more flavors on the palate than nose. A glass tasted after five days was port-like with burnt, tarry almost camphor characters. 2, 2, 4.1, 10.4 = 18.5/20, 93/100. 14.5% alcohol. Tasted August 24-29, 2005.

Henry’s Drive Padthaway Shiraz 2003 $32.99USD
Dense cherry red with red edge. Opulent with its rich ripe fruit, sweet vanilla oak, and chocolate notes backed up by plenty of cherry and plum flavors over faint mint. Mouthfilling with excellent depth and intensity of flavors across the palate. The alcohol is very well hidden and even the tannins lurk in the background. The lengthy finish has a slight bitterness to it. 2, 2, 4.1, 10.0 = 18.1/20, 91/100. 16% alcohol. Tasted August 10, 2005.

Elderton Wines Barossa Shiraz 2003 $23.99USD
Dense cherry red with red edge. Restrained blackberry, and cherry-liquor underlying chocolate and smoky oak. Full bodied with excellent structure. The flavors carry well across the palate and are backed by powdery tannins. The wine is upset by some hardness to the finish, and does not appreciate too much exposure to air. 2, 2, 3.9, 9.6 = 17.5/20, 87/100. 14.5% alcohol. Tasted July 25, 2005.

Winter Creek Barossa Valley Shiraz 2003 $27.99USD (French Oak)
Dense cherry red with red edge. A very seductive wine. Oozes blueberry and chocolate over blackberry, licorice and smoke. Full bodied with excellent structure. A veneer of tannin coats the palate without overt astringency and dovetails well with the bright acidity. Reminiscent of the 2002 Heathvale Shiraz. 2, 2, 4.3, 10.3= 18.5/20, 93/100. 14% alcohol. Tasted July 20, 2005.

Marquis Philips Shiraz 9 2003 (McLaren Vale 60%, Padthaway 40%) $35.99USD
Very dark in color, almost purple. Seductive and complex with notes of earth, chocolate, blueberry and smoke. Full bodied with soft silky tannins. Certainly big but not overly bold. A charred bitterness surrounds the palate and lingers on the finish. Developed a pepper note, and what can only be described as a pleasant aroma of soap. A wine of questionable longevity. 2, 2, 4.3, 9.4 = 17.7/20, 88/100. 16% alcohol. Tasted June 4, 2005.

Lennard’s Crossing Shiraz 2003 (Pokolbin, NSW) Cost?
Light cherry red with pink edge. Sulfur stink over dusty oak, spices and licorice. Medium weight with soft tannins, a sour acidic finish and residual sweetness of strawberries. Little to recommend it. 2, 2, 3.5, 8.7=16.2/20, 81/100. 13.5% alcohol. Tasted May 26, 2005.

Kangarilla Road McLaren Vale Shiraz 2003 $16.99USD
Dense cherry red with red edge. Exudes blueberry and cherry flavors backed up by smoky vanilla oak. Full bodied and well structured with firm tannins and lively acidity to provide balance. Flavors carry well onto the palate. Less restrained and more impressive than the 2002. 2, 2, 3.9, 10.1=18.0/20, 90/100. 14% alcohol tasted. May 24, 2005.

Morambro Creek Padthaway Shiraz 2003 $14.99USD
Dense cherry red with red edge. Very open with a seductive floral note surrounded by cherries, spices, pepper and toasted oak. Full bodied and well balanced with flavors carrying extremely well onto the palate. The soft tannins make for a drink now style that should live for at least 5 more years. Excellent value. 2, 2, 4.2, 10.1 =18.3/20, 92/100. 14.5% alcohol. Tasted May 19-21, 2005.

Hazyblur Baroota Shiraz South Australia 2003 $31.99USD
Dense cherry red with red edge. Intense blueberry/blackberry, cloves and vanilla aromas. Soft and supple entry with medium to full bodied mouthfeel. Flavors carry well across the palate and are balanced by soft tannins and good acidity. The alcohol is evident although not to the extent seen in the 2002, but again it tarnishes what could be a memorable wine. This character was even more evident after 24 hours and the tannins firmer. 2, 2, 4.0, 9.8=17.8/20, 89/100. 14.5% alcohol. May 2-3, 2005.

Jim Barry The Lodge Hill Clare Valley Shiraz 2003 $11.99USD
Dense cherry red with red edge. Very intense, chocolate, blueberry, sweet oak. Full bodied, well balanced with good acidity, but does not carry across the palate cleanly. Alcohol is evident. After 24 hours smooth, rich and ripe. Not a patch on the 2002. 2, 2, 3.9, 9.8 = 17.7/20, 88/100. 15.5% alcohol. Tasted April 21, 2005.


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