Yalumba Hand Picked Barossa Shiraz + Viognier 2001

Dusty roasted cocoa nibs come to mind, backed with the residue of children’s fruit leather that was forgotten underneath the front seat of a minivan for months: dusty-sweet with faint memories of summertime. The taste, however, seems at odds with the way the wine smells, brightly acidic and with a midpalate reminiscent of a general store pickle barrel, the wine is strangely fascinating, with a spiky, velvety texture that spreads out to a long finish of patent medicines and schmoozingly-textured tannin. This is a real odd duck of a wine: far from elderly, it seems to be holding on just fine eight years after harvest. I’m not sure if I like it, but I respect it: this is a fairly crowded category (South Australian shiraz) and this is one of the most unique bottles I’ve tasted. It’s not jammy raspberry motor oil, it’s not archaeo-funky Rockford, and it’s not Côte-Rôtie light, but something entirely other. I imagine this would pair very well with Japanese food that features grilled mackerel and other umami-intensive foodstuffs: there’s a certain cogency nere with savory, grilled, fishy, salty foods that’s intensely appealing once you get over the shock of it not being like something you’ve had before. Whoever made this wine should be damn proud of what they’ve achieved here. Yalumba
Price: $28
Closure: Cork
Source: Retail

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