I’m quite sure the tide will turn in favour of Australia’s heritage styles eventually. Right now, the (often deserved) attention being paid to our Chardonnay and Pinot wines comes at the expense of wine styles with genuine lineage. I’m thinking of dry Riesling, fortified wines and, of course, the Cabernet Shiraz blend. As things stand today, this wine from Mudgee is firmly on the wrong side of fashion.
Which is a shame because, as many have remarked before me, there’s a lot to commend this particular blend. Shiraz’s tendency towards flesh on the mid-palate can work well with a leaner Cabernet, giving weight to the latter’s focus and structure. I sense when tasting this wine that the components are working in harmony. The dominant influence is certainly Cabernet, and the wine is quite linear on the palate. But there’s some sweet juiciness too, a swell on the mid-palate, that screams Shiraz. The balance struck between the two seems right to me and, while it’s not a wine that prioritises finesse, it does retain an elegance of fruit despite its fundamentally ballsy character. The wine’s region also sings loudly, with a characteristic red dirt/dust note featuring on both nose and palate.
I do find, though, that oak plays a fairly strident role in the wine’s flavour profile at present. It’s glossy and glamourous for sure, yet I can taste it quite separately from the fruit, which suggests a bit of time for it to integrate would be of benefit. Acid is also a smidge disjointed at the back of the palate, leading to an orange juice, sweet-sour impression as the wine moves through its final moments. So, a wine that remains youthful and edgy, in need of time.