Gilligan Shiraz Mourvèdre Grenache 2012

In this slippery world of wine writers’ ethics, best to begin with a few disclaimers. Leigh Gilligan, proprietor of Gilligan Wines, is:

  1. a McLaren Vale legend;
  2. a friend; and
  3. a partner in Dowie Doole, the winery with whom I did vintage last year.

That said, I had no involvement in the making of this wine and approach it, as usual, with the perspective of a curious onlooker. I’ve tasted previous vintages of this label and have always found it a surprisingly sophisticated, savoury interpretation of the GSM blend. This continues in that line and, to my palate, is the best release so far.

The aroma is as much McLaren Vale as anything else: rich plums of liquerous intensity, fairly generous oak and a fluidity of character that is the hallmark of this region’s delicious red wines. Indeed, the Vale’s tendency to impart a round, angle-less character to its reds is one of the things I like most about this region, and it’s in full evidence here. There’s a savoury depth, though, that becomes quite striking with some swirling and glass time. Having worked with Shiraz from the Old Rifle Range vineyard, I know it tends towards a dark savouriness with overtones of aniseed. Mourvèdre, too, makes a noticeably meaty contribution to the aroma, such that the whole ends up much darker and more adult than it first seems.

The palate gives more of the same, a rush of fruit onto the mid-palate its most notable feature. It’s all so easy, one could overlook the fact that there’s some good complexity of flavour at work, with licorice allsorts playing alongside vegetal Mourvèdre and some bright red Grenache fruit. I like that it’s both plush and quite savoury, and that its tannins are chalky and fine, just prominent enough to lightly dry the finish.

There’s an honesty at work here — a connection both to region and varietal composition — that translates to a generous, delicious wine. Truly a wine for drinking.

Gilligan Wines
Price: $A22
Closure: Stelvin
Source: Sample

4 thoughts on “Gilligan Shiraz Mourvèdre Grenache 2012

  1. Having enjoyed this wine twice now, and having never met Leigh I am happy to vouch for it being a most excellent drink and also able to punch it’s weight with spicy food – even some of those Sichuan dishes.

    • Ah yes, good reminder on the food matching front Keira; you’re right, it did go quite well with ultra-spicy food, as fruit-forward reds can do. It was a nice counterpoint to all those Rieslings that preceded it on the night.

      On which point, I know off-dry aromatic whites are the go-to match for “Asian” food, but I can’t help feeling the delicacy those wines bring is often quite overpowered by the pungency of the more aggressive Eastern cuisines. For example, I’d never match Riesling with Korean food. Without simply resorting to beer, are there more creative wine matches out there? I do think generously fruited red wines are on the right track, often…

  2. My knowledge of Korean food is scant. Some roses work well with spicy food, like a PN rose with Thai food. Viognier can be great too, it’s oiliness with the acid cut of Vietnamese and Thai is a good match. Then there’s those who recommend durif with Indian curries….

    • I don’t know any of those Durif people 😉

      Viognier’s an interesting suggestion – not something I’ve tried. I must admit I did once have a sparkling Shiraz with Indian food and it was great. 🙂

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