Ever since Shiraz Viognier blends became popular in Australia, a very few years ago really, it seems to me producers have been struggling with how (perhaps even why) to tackle this style. The biggest problem, for me at any rate, is too evident a Viognier influence, turning what would ideally be a feminine, elegant wine into something caricatured, almost cartoonish, with overt apricot flavours and an unattractively pumped up mouthfeel. I’m making all sorts of problematic assumptions about style, of course, but that has been my honest reaction over a few years of tasting local Shiraz Viogniers. So I tend to approach them with some trepidation.
This wine let me down at first. Apricot aromas dominate slightly reticent spicy Shiraz and create a sweet, exaggerated aroma profile akin to a forced smile. The apricot never entirely settles into the fabric of the wine, but it does recede sufficiently with some swirling to allow meaty, white peppery berries to step forward and share the spotlight. There’s also some well judged ice cream oak to add complexity.
The palate is replay of the nose’s evolution over the short term. Starting too sweet and slippery, it becomes much more savoury after an hour of air. Entry is cheeky, with a thread of red fruit sliding along the tongue towards a middle palate that remains tight, but adds an array of peppery, savoury flavours. Weight is light to medium bodied, with a focused architecture and brisk movement along the line. Intensity is only moderate, and the overall impression is one of lithe elegance rather than power. A textured, slightly raspy after palate that emphasises pricklier aspects of the flavour profile, with just a bit of fruit sweetness to keep things friendly. Good length.
Not entirely resolved as a wine, but there’s plenty to enjoy, and it’s nice to taste a premium label that takes a measured, subtle approach to style. Elegant packaging.