Thu. Jan 17th, 2019

Those Heavy Hitting Aussie Reds: Somewhat of a Disappointment

The Wakefield 2016 Shiraz from the Clare Valley in McLaren Vale has a black cherry colour. On the nose very intense blackberry, black cherry, blueberry interlaced with 76% dark chocolate. Moderate tannins but prepare yourself for a tsunami of black fruit on the palate. After the first sip the fruit volume on the palate gets dialed down to a point it becomes almost tamed and the rip-roaring black fruit seems to get diluted to a much-weakened black fruit and cherry liqueur. Has the palate been shell shocked and suffering from PTSD? My goodness what has happened? Initial impressions are often incorrect.

Three gold medals for this wine which are featured on the label but enter your wine, pay a entrance fee and most likely you’ll walk away with a medal. This wine falters on the palate while delivering a big smack to the nostrils.

A blend of Shiraz from McLaren Vale and the Clare Valley. Drink now preferably with beef on the grill possibly a flank steak marinated in soy sauce, ginger and sesame seed oil.

(Wakefield Jaraman Shiraz 2016 Clare Valley McLaren Vale, Taylor’s Wines Auburn, South Australia, $24.95, 14%, LCBO # 377036, 750 mL, Set The Bar Rating 89/100).

We move on to a highly scored wine from 90-93 spanning some 9 years. It is called the Black Chook and is a Shiraz (96%)/Viognier (4%) blend from McLaren Vale-Padthaway in Australia. In colour it is black cherry. Full of dark fruit on the nose such as black cherry, blackberry, cassis with a bit of leather. A notch above mild on the tannins which increase as the wine opens up but a smooth drinking wine. Really good match of acidity and tannins but there is a tad of nervous acidity making this a very good wine to match with rich wine and tomatoe sauce dishes such as Osso Bucco. Black cherry, fig, smoked meat with some barnyard creeping in on the nose and palate as the wine opens up. Moderately long finish. I would say good until 2024. I am a little worried about the barnyard nose caused by a yeast spoilage called Brettanomyces. It is not out of control but noticeable. Many people like a bit of it as it adds some earthy and leathery notes. You’ll find it charming or annoying. I’ll remain neutral as it is not to the degree that it really detracts from the wine. Interesting but as a feature for too many red wines you’d definitely be in the annoyed camp.

(The Black Chook Shiraz Viognier, Black Chook Wines McLaren Vale, South Australia, $18.95, 14.5%, 750 mL, LCBO #66738, Set The Bar Rating 88/100). 

Let’s close off with A Wakefield 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon from the Clare Valley. Red plum in color. On the nose black cherry, cinnamon, fig jam, herbs and cranberries. On the palate medium tannins with cherry pie, sweet red cherries, and pomegranates. Short and somewhat juicy finish. Far different than a Californian Cabernet Sauvignon. This is strange a one might not expect a very rich Cab Sauv from Australia!

I can’t say it is rich and enticing nor can I say it is elegant. Its juiciness rather reminds me of a cheap and cheerful red from Southern France despite all the gold medals plastered over its label. Pardon me Australian wine writers you tend to over score your wines by at least 5 points more than me. In that regard you are the worst boasters of your wine.

Dink now with a pizza, burger or simple pasta.

(Wakefield 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon, Clare Valley, $19.95, 14%, 750 mL, LCBO # 744235, Set The Bar Rating 87/100).

As a closing comment Aussie red are usually fun as they deliver a rich nose and flavour. Rather fun for a initial glass or two. Unfortunately, these Australian reds fail to deliver. Interesting on the nose but on the palate either go full bodied Australian or go home.


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