Mulyan Block 9 Shiraz Viognier 2007

Some wines tread a fine line between angular and offputting. This wine (or this bottle) is certainly a good example; at least at first, where the overriding impression is one of tacky New Zealand geothermal theme parks (“Craters of the Moon!”) and mud. But just as I was about to reach for the term “European” to describe what felt like a borderline faulty wine, it has zapped into focus, becoming a peppery, meaty expression of Shiraz Viognier that is decidedly improving with air.

Full-on pepper steak aromas smother core of dense berry fruit, quite dark in character and brambly in expression. The aroma is actually quite fascinating in its cacophony; I can’t decide whether it’s disjointed or a radically different interpretation of coherence. I suppose that it prompts such aesthetic flights of fancy is a point in its favour, irrespective of taste.
The palate is also curiously styled, with a plump apricot presence alongside red berries and more cooked steak. It’s flavoursome for sure; the entry has good immediacy and zips along in the mouth, thanks mostly to some fairly prominent acidity. The middle palate relaxes a little, though it’s still bright. Medium bodied, this wine’s mouthfeel is slippery despite the acid, and reminds me a little of the way apricots feel when you bite into a ripe one. Fruit character is quite sweet, which is a provocative counterpart to the funky, meaty notes and makes for a flavour profile that is full of contradictions. Good continuity through the after palate, and a nice flourish on the finish helps berry flavour to linger on for a good while.
Despite its oddity, I’m fascinated by this wine. Its profile is far from conventional, and tends towards exaggeration. But it’s also more beautiful than many conventionally styled wines. 

Mulyan Wines
Price: $A25
Closure: Stelvin
Source: Sample

2 thoughts on “Mulyan Block 9 Shiraz Viognier 2007

  1. I was watching a performance by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds at BBC 4 Studios on TV last night and it was claer that what I was enjoying was the angular component of the performance of songs that had been recorded in a more cohesive manner on original release.

    Warren Ellis had taken over from Blixa Bargeld (Einst├╝rzende Neubauten) as the primary purveyor or catalyst for the cacophony, but the aesthetic idea was still the same.

    What does this have to do with wine? I guess I’m wondering if we haven’t put all the emphasis on “harmony” in wine when there exist other fields of endeavour that are of interest.

    Mind you, “Rock” music is very theatrical & suits exaggeration. The question is whether the specificity of the medium of wine can benefit from the same applied aesthetics…

    • It’s worth challenging received ideas around what constitutes a desirable aesthetic with wine. We apply measures like balance, harmony, and so on, as if they necessarily lead to a beautiful end-point. But I don’t see this as a given, not in wine nor in other fields.

      Sure, symmetry and balance can be beautiful. So can violence and exaggeration.

      So, yeah, I think your comment treads some very fertile ground.

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