Apparently, this is a one-off. The Gilligan red is usually a blend of Grenache, Shiraz and Mataro, but for 2008 it’s a single varietal.
This is a disconcerting wine because, in a sense, it’s nothing like what I expect from McLaren Vale Shiraz. The flavour profile is familar: juicy blackberries and plums, dense brambles, a subtle hint of cocoa powder. But the framework in which these flavours exist is extraordinary: light, fleeting, ephemeral. It’s like seeing someone you think you recognise only to realise you’ve been duped by a particular feature — a noble forehead or fine cheekbones — and each time you look you feel the same flash of recognition.
The aroma was a bit wild at first, not stinky so much as uncontrolled. This quickly settles to a sharp expression of McLaren Vale Shiraz, lithe and piercing in effect. Again, it’s not at all what one expects, yet taken on its own merits it’s very attractive, and almost Pinot-like in manner. There are some underlying complexities too; I’m not sure if there’s any stalk here but it wouldn’t surprise me.
The palate is again brisk and light, with sharpish acidity and loose-knit tannins. I can imagine it lightly chilled, which isn’t something that comes to my mind very often when drinking the region’s red wines. No matter; bright red fruits and orange juice-like sourness dance over the tongue in a lively if indistinct manner. It’s developing an extra degree of depth and richness with time and air, but the fundamental vibe is still bright. No significant development along the line, but the finish is a little surprising in that it seems to end prematurely, then returns to reverberate at the back of the mouth. Quite fun. The alcohol is marked at 15% abv but you’d never know it, which is surprising in itself considering the style.
I’m rather enjoying this.