I’ve just returned from a very exciting, though quick, trip through the Grampians and Pyrenees regions of Victoria, and find myself with a backlog of thoughts and not enough time (or energy, for now) to put them into words. I do, however, have a bottle of current release Thomson Family Shiraz in front of me now, and am compelled to make a few notes.
This is on its third day after opening. My first tasting, at the winery, revealed a wine so backward in structure that I found it hard to tease much from the glass. What I did manage to extract — classy oak, dark plums, dense spice — seemed very promising at the time, and it’s only now that I have an opportunity to retaste.
What’s wonderful about it on day three is how elegant a wine it is, perhaps unexpectedly given its initially dense structure and reluctant expressiveness. Now, indeed, this wine is classic medium bodied Great Western goodness, an array of spice notes leading the olfactory way to complex plum fruit aromas and a background of slightly charry oak. It’s less high toned than some, preferring brown spice to sharper cracked pepper. Nonetheless, the wine is regional to its core, and that’s a great thing for lovers of Western Victorian Shiraz.
The palate shows a degree of restraint that is most impressive. There’s a light, almost casual, edge to the clean plum flavours running along the line that makes me smile in this context, because such confident simplicity goes against the grain of many self-consciously brutish “reserve” level wines. No such pretension here, though. The palate structure is easy and elegant, flowing cleanly through all stages with good continuity. Textured red and black fruits mingle with a range of spice flavours and relatively restrained oak, precisely layered and all sitting within a medium weight frame. There are all sorts of complexities to the flavour profile too — some interesting tobacco notes, for example — that help the wine evolve in the glass. An excitingly extended, spiced finish is impressive in quality terms but for me comes across simply as delicious.
One would be hard pressed to find a truer, more relaxed, expression of Great Western Shiraz than this. A great example of one of our great regional styles.