It’s interesting to compare wines from a producer that offers just two in its portfolio. Collector, a new Canberra-based producer, sells a lower price Marked Tree Shiraz, and this, its Reserve label. Both are made from Canberra region Shiraz grapes, which makes the comparison doubly interesting.
A heady nose of roast meats, vanilla, spice and rich red and black fruit, and of all things a bit of Yorkshire pudding. Showing a clear resemblance to the Marked Tree wine, this is a whole lot more of everything except perhaps a certain lightness of touch. But this is a Reserve level wine, presumably designed for extra oomph, and it attains this goal admirably.
Deep fruit flavours gush over the tongue on entry, and it’s the sort of cool, firm attack that marks wines of sufficient padding. Despite the rush of flavour, though, this isn’t a large scale or clumsy style. By contrast, there’s real balance here, with each element asserting itself just enough to be perceived before retreating into the complex harmonic flow. This wine has the sort of flavour profile that would be considered lolly-like if it were sweeter; that it shows only a touch of sucrosité means the fruit is beguiling and even a little elusive in character, despite its generosity. A lovely blanket of fine, slightly sandy tannins descends on the tongue as the after palate kicks in; they’re ripe and not especially drying, and so contribute primarily to the wine’s textural dimension. Despite the tannins, I wouldn’t describe the wine as overly structured — acid is not a feature. The finish morphs into a sort of raspberry liqueur-like note crossed with licorice that is utterly delicious.
Interestingly, food (well, the lamb chops I’m having tonight) dulls the wine and hollows out the after palate somewhat. I attribute this to the relatively subtle acidity. So, pair this wine wisely with food, or go the total alco route and drink it unaccompanied.
Date tasted: June 2008