Jimbour Station Shiraz 2008

I like the idea of this wine. Its fruit is sourced from a single estate vineyard in the (I believe undeclared) Darling Downs region of Queensland. The region was an important centre for winemaking at the turn of last century, so there’s some provenance at work here. 

I admit to having no experience of Shiraz from this or any other producer in the area, so I’ve no preconceived ideas as to flavour profile or style. Which can be a little anxiety-producing when it comes to tasting. I’m not sure if anyone else finds this, but having no immediate context in which to place a wine recalls, in a sense, Sartre’s nausée. It’s always more comforting to know what to expect. 
To the wine itself, the nose shows fresh juicy plums, some vegetal or stalky influences, and a high toned note that is not quite white pepper. There’s also a bit of vanilla oak. Not complex but very lively and quite distinctive. It’s also a bit angular, as if the Other Mother’s spindly hands from Coraline are reaching out of the glass to poke at your nostrils. 
The palate reflects many of these impressions in the way it is put together. There are, individually, some attractive elements. The fruit flavour in particular is really vibrant and fresh, with good depth and clarity. There’s also spice and some higher toned stalky notes (not sure if the winemaking included an element of whole bunches). I like this expression of Shiraz; it’s built for tasty quaffing. But I’m struggling with the structure here. It feels clunky and disjointed and really needs some time to settle down. Spiky acidity is the most prominent influence, contributing excitement but also fatigue after a few sips. Tannins are quite dry and even, though a tad raw too, ensuring good thrust and persistence through the finish. The alcohol is unbalanced, with perceptible heat on the palate and a roundness to the mouthfeel that doesn’t quite match the wine’s flavour density and profile. One longs for a less pumped up presence that enables great gulps of tasty Shiraz flavour.
A mixed experience, then, but full of promise too. There’s real merit to the fruit in this wine, and I’d love to see a more balanced expression of its flavours. 

Jimbour Wines
Price: $A13.30
Closure: Stelvin

Ballandean Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2005

I feel a bit lame for not writing up more local wines, so consider this an assuagement of my sense of guilt as much as anything else. Still, my notes on Full Pour are in large part a reflection of what I choose to drink for pleasure, and the reality is I haven’t explored Queensland wines to any significant extent. Not to diminish this particular wine before I’ve even started, of course. Here we have a straight Cabernet from the Granite Belt region, produced by one of its oldest wineries. 

There are some distinctive things happening on the nose here; quite a strong smell of turned earth and dusty red fruits in addition to more typically Cabernet aromas of leafiness and dark berries. The fruit character strikes me as quite ripe, a bit stewed even, and the earth notes aren’t squeaky clean, but the whole is expressive, generous and quite fun.
Stewed fruit is more evident in the mouth, robbing the wine of a sense of freshness and varietal character. If you can get past this, though, there’s certainly some enjoyment to be had. Despite relatively assertive tannins, the structure of this wine is loose, flavour tending to collapse onto the tongue in a generous but messy wave. Perhaps it’s my mood, but the flavour profile as a whole seems tangled, and I’m having trouble resolving the individual elements in amongst a crowded, yet indistinct, mass of elements. The after palate thins somewhat, allowing a bit of heat to emerge on the finish.
I’m tasting this wine critically, so it’s probably fair to say the observations I’ve made will matter very little to someone looking for a flavoursome dry red to throw back on a weekday evening. In this functional role it performs admirably. 

Ballandean Estate
Price: $A14.25
Closure: Cork

Sirromet Perfect Day Burnbelt 2005

Sirromet, located about twenty minutes from my house, is a winery I’ve driven past on many occasions but never visited. I thought I’d browse its website as part of writing this note, and in doing so discovered a rather large range of wines. Whilst there is a vineyard at the cellar door facility in Brisbane, I gather its fruit comes primarily from vineyards located in the Granite Belt region, near Stanthorpe. This wine, a blend of Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, is part of Sirromet’s entry level “Perfect Day” range, and is made from Granite Belt grapes.

I tasted this over two evenings, which is just as well as the wine improved markedly overnight. At first, I wasn’t terribly inclined to taste in depth; it struck me as all stalk, with very little underlying fruit. The second night brings things somewhat back into balance, although I still think the stalky/vegetal notes are overplayed. Funky, prickly aromas of stalk, with some spice and a hint of red fruit. It’s different, but whether in a good way will depend on your tolerance for greener flavours. The palate is quite bright, with more funk and stalk overlaying subservient yet attractive red and black berry flavours, and powdery vanilla oak. The wine veers from astringent greenery to sweet oak, without the depth of fruit to harness and make sense of this progression. Structure is quite well judged, with balanced acid and just enough dry tannins to round off the unremarkable finish.
I don’t have enough experience with this label or region to know how this wine sits in the overall scheme of things. It’s certainly interesting enough in its way, and I’d prefer to drink this, flaws and all, to a mass-produced wine of technical correctness but absolutely no character.