2004 Australian Shiraz
Massena The Eleventh Hour Shiraz Barossa Valley 2004 $37.99USD
Deeply colored, almost purple, with red edge. Very portish, ripe and sweet with plum, blackberry, blueberry and smoky oak. Developing aromas of prunes and dried dates. Soft and supple entry but the wine is disjointed due to sharp biting acidity, especially on the finish. The palate lacks balance, depth and complexity. The fruit is simply overripe and the acidification overdone. 2, 2, 4.0, 8.0 = 16.0/20, 80/100. 14.5% alcohol. Tasted August 14, 2006.
Initially tasted Saturday August 13th at the Vintage Wines Wine Bar with similar notes. (Very porty, dried tea leaves, blackberry, blueberry, plum, and every other dark fruit you might think you can smell. [No, this has to be port.] OK, so there is acidity there, very sharp with firm tannins. Who added the acidity?). The discussion among myself and several others at that time was that the wine was indeed very portish and the acidity too aggressive. It was concluded that the only way a wine of this ripeness could be so acidic would be through addition of acid. While this is not unusual, in this case it has been overdone and has not done this wine any favors. The life span of this wine is likely to be short and it cannot be recommended.
Fetish Wines The Watcher Barossa Valley Shiraz 2004 $16.99USD (Screwcap)
The second in a line of proprietary brands from Joshua Tree Imports, the first wine from Fetish was made by Rolf Binder at his Veritas Winery. Its cherry red in color with a faint orange/brown tinge to the edge. An initial suphur stink (that blows off) hides the toasted oak and cherry liqueur of a too ripe Barossan. The palate is full bodied and displays an excellent carry of flavors, impressive balance with soft and silky tannins and bright acidity, and just a kiss of sweetness. Should give 3-5 years of enjoyment for those who like this style. 1.5, 2, 3.7, 9.9 = 17.1/20, 86/100. 14% alcohol. Tasted July 26, 2006.
Marquis Philips Shiraz 9 McLaren Vale 2004 $35.99USD
The last vintage from the joint venture between Sparky Marquis and Dan Philips of The Grateful Palate. Densely colored, almost purple, with blood red edge. Rich, ripe, opulent notes of blueberry, blackberry, and plum over smoky vanilla oak, developed faint menthol and pepper notes with time. Full bodied with a supple entry and firm tannins on the finish. This is not a shy wine and neither is the alcohol. It’s a distinctive style that requires a palate able to tolerate a slight bruising by burnt, charred, and tarred characters that are not unattractive, just unrestrained. But if you like lip-tinglers, this is your wine. With the fire-sale that is taking place due to the breakup of the partners, I purchased a 6-pack at less than $20/bottle. 2, 2, 4.1, 9.8 = 17.9/20, 89/100. 16.5% alcohol. Tasted July 21, 2006.
Hewitson Ned and Henry’s Shiraz Barossa Valley Shiraz 2004 $15.99USD (Screwcap)
Dense cherry red with red edge. Fruit struggles to get past a little bottle stink initially. But once it does there is plenty of rich blackberry and plum backed up by sweet toasted oak. Medium weight with sharp, biting acidity on the palate, finishing quite thin. Short on structure and balance. 2, 2, 4.0, 8.7 = 16.7/20, 83/100.
Henry’s Drive Dead Letter Office Shiraz 2004 (55% Padthway, 45% McLaren Vale) $28.99USD
Dense cherry red, almost purple, with red edge. There is nothing demure about this wine. Its very attractive, rich, perfumed and coated in cherry liqueur. Very much Henry’s Drive. The palate is full bodied, as you’d expect, well structured, with the flavors giving excellent persistence. The alcohol does poke its head up, not unexpectedly, but the wine is well balanced with soft tannins and bright acidity. At 24 hours the richness was muted by notes of pepper, plum and oak. Should drink well for the next 2-4 years and if the alcohol does not become a problem it could last double that. 2, 2, 4.2, 10.0 =18.2/20, 91/100. 16% alcohol. Tasted June 8, 2006.
Glaetzer Bishop Shiraz Barossa Valley 2004 $34.99USD
Dense cherry red, almost purple, with red edge. Fruitcake rich, roasted and toasted and Kirsch-like. No, there is nothing shy about this wine, but its all tease. On the palate its full bodied with a soft and supple entry, juicy acidity and the flavors carry well providing good length but the structure and complexity is just not there. It may come together in time, but there are better values elsewhere. 2, 2, 4.1, 9.7 = 17.9/20, 89/100. 14.5% alcohol. Tasted April 30, 2006.
Olive Hill Winery Jimmy Section Shiraz McLaren Vale 2004 $34.99 (French Oak) (Screwcap)
Glass staining dense cherry red with red edge. Opulent aromas of blackberry jam, plum and vanilla with smoky nuances. Powerful stuff, with just a little mint peeking through to add to the complexity. Full bodied with juicy acidity upfront and nice firm astringency holding the lengthy finish. Developed anise and citrus notes with time. At 24 hours overripe and over-aggressive. May be a little too stewed and overripe to be the neighborhood favorite, the next 5 years will tell. 2, 2, 4.2, 9.5 = 17.7/20, 89/100. 14.8% alcohol. Tasted April 27, 2004.
Deakin Estate Shiraz (Victoria) 2004 $4.50USD
Cherry red with pink edge. Restrained plum and blackberry over vanilla and smoky oak. Medium weight with good presence of flavors on the palate. Juicy acidity and firm tannins underlie a nicely balanced wine without great complexity. Good value for those who want an inexpensive, more restrained version of Australian Shiraz. Good for 2-3 years more. 2, 2, 3.8, 9.3 = 17.1/20, 86/100. 14% alcohol. Tasted March 30, 2006.
Tuesner The Riebke Ebenezer Road, Barossa Valley Shiraz 2004 $17.99USD
Deep cherry red with red edge. Sweet, ripe cherry over smoky oak and blackberry. Excellent mouthfeel with punchy acidity and firm but not overt astringency leading to a lengthy finish. Well structured with great depth and fine balance. Drinking well now and should do for the next 5-10 years. 2, 2, 4.1, 10.1 = 18.2/20, 91/100. 14% alcohol. Tasted February 10, 2006.
Strathewen Hills Patterson Lakes Shiraz Port Phillip (Vicoria) 2004 $23.99USD (Screwcap)
Cherry red with pink edge. Big attractive pepper and herbal aromas over plum, cherry and oak. Medium weight with firm tannins and bright acidity. Lacks depth and complexity across the palate. 2, 2, 4.0, 9.2 = 17.2/20, 86/100. 14.8% alcohol. Tasted February 7, 2004.
Mitolo Jester McLaren Vale Shiraz 2004 $17.99USD (Screwcap)
Dark cherry red with red edge. Loads of smoky vanilla oak over blackberry that covers a little sulfur stink that came up with time. Full bodied with sweet fruit and soft tannins. A mouthful of flavor balanced by racy acidity but little complexity. At 24 hours it was full and soft with toasted and roasted flavors. 2, 2, 3.7, 9.8 = 17.5/20, 88/100. 14.5% alcohol. Tasted January 23, 2006.
Jip Jip Rocks Limestone Coast Shiraz 2004 $7.99USD (Screwcap)
Cherry red with red edge. Attractive sweet, ripe fruit aromas together with pepper and a little ethyl acetate (EA). Full bodied with sweet oak, fine tannins, overt, juicy acidity and a short finish. Reasonable value for the price. 2, 2, 3.9, 9.7 = 17.6/20, 88/100. 15% alcohol. Tasted November 6, 2005.
3-Rings Barossa Valley Shiraz 2004 $15.99 (Screwcap)
Intensely colored dense black cherry with cherry red edge. Flavors of blueberry, vanilla, chocolate and dusty earth jump out of the glass. Full bodied with fruity sweetness, fine soft tannins, and clean acid underlie a well balanced wine of excellent value. At 24hours abundant sweet aromas highlighted by blueberry and vanilla framed by clean acidity with a core of fine, subtle tannins. 2, 2, 4.2, 10.0 = 18.2/20, 91/100. 14.9% alcohol. Tasted August 18, 2005.
Marquis Philips Shiraz 2004 $11.99USD (Screwcap)
Dense cherry red with red edge. Very aromatic with notes of blackberry, plums, vanilla, dusty oak and a hint of menthol. Full bodied with soft and supple tannins. Well balanced with some alcohol on the abbreviated finish. 2, 2, 4.2, 9.7 = 17.9/20, 89/100. 15.5% alcohol. Tasted August 15, 2005.