Clonakilla O'Riada Shiraz 2010

You’ve got to love a Shiraz that looks like a Pinot.

And that’s the first impression of this wine; shockingly light in colour, lacking the density that regular drinkers of Australian Shiraz might easily take for granted. The fact that I could see light pass right through it in my glass had a profound effect on me. That a well-known producer might release a wine so flagrantly at odds with conventional expectations of this varietal made me feel all of a sudden that Australian Shiraz has come of age, that there’s legitimacy to the wide range of classic styles we produce, that we are, indeed, the true home of this chameleon-like grape. That’s a lot to pile on a single wine, let alone one that is effectively a second label. But as the shining, ruby-like liquid poured into my glass, I felt lucky to be able to enjoy such confidently different expressions of our great grape.

There’s no disappointment here. A cursory sniff immediately establishes this wine’s cool climate credentials. Red fruits abound, but what strikes first is a cascade of pepper and spice, dried flowers and etched detail. I can understand why cool climate Shiraz challenges some drinkers, but there’s such pleasure in these perfumed aromatics, which seem closer to fine fragrance than to anything agricultural. Especially beguiling is a shake of dried herbs that darts in and out of what is a complex, constantly shifting aroma profile.

The palate is light to medium bodied, as the wine’s appearance and aroma suggest. A spiced attack leads to more expansive flavours on the middle palate, always focused but with greater range and more fully fruited. There’s a nice meatiness to the flavour profile too, and I would love to try this wine with some top quality snags or a juicy rack of lamb. Smoked herbs dominate the after palate before a detailed, savoury finish lingers on. Acid is bright and fine, tannins sandpaperish.

An utterly satisfying wine and one that banishes all thought of cool climate Shiraz sitting anywhere near the stylistic sidelines in Australia.

Price: $A35
Closure: Stelvin
Source: Retail

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