Mount Pleasant Philip Shiraz 2005

What with all the Burgundies lately, I thought it might be amusingly ironic to taste what used to be known as Hunter Burgundy — made from Shiraz grapes, of course. Philip is usually a reliable choice in that it generally displays good typicit√© within the context of the vintage — no mean feat at this price point. 2005 being a good vintage in the Hunter for red wines, I was keen to try this one.And, I must admit, I was rather disappointed at first. Although Hunter character was present, the wine was swamped with a spirity, fortified edge that more or less obliterated any nuance of fruit character, and created an overblown, filling-yet-hollow mouthfeel of little textural interest. I had almost decided not to write it up, but left half the bottle to retaste the following day, just to be sure.It’s remarkably better after a good night’s airing. Although it hasn’t magically transformed into a different wine, it has a sense of balance that was not present on opening. Good Hunter savouriness alongside sweet yet subtle red fruits on the nose. There’s a bit of oak in there too; sweet but not overwhelming. The palate shows the most marked improvement, with a noticeable diminution in portiness, which has the effect of bringing the fruit into focus, and allowing the wine’s delicious, savoury tannins their proper place. It’s Hunter, but on a large scale: medium verging on full bodied, the alcohol still noticeable (though not all-consuming), denser flavours than one might expect. In the end, a good wine and excellent value. Despite the wine’s dimensions, it retains the elegance and softness of good Hunter Shiraz, so should please fans of the style.McWilliams Mount PleasantPrice: $A13Closure: StelvinDate tasted: February 208

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