SwirlSniffSpit @ Era Bistro

This week I attended the monthly gathering of SwirlSniffSpit (SSS), a loose group of Brisbane-based tasting tweeps who gather monthly at Era Bistro Brisbane.

The subject of the night was Shiraz – all were Australian save one from across the ditch. All were served in pairs with mini themes. Tweets went out continuously as each set of wines were assessed then drunk.

Great Western, Victoria featured strongly.

Bests Bin No 1 Shiraz 2009 (USD 27); 14.5%; +++1/2; rich nose of both oaks (American and French); has come together more since the Bests tweetup early in the year; just great flavour around a chunky, juicy palate-rare for a cool area wine.

Bests Bin 1 2009

Bests No 0 Shiraz 2008 (USD 65); 14.5%; ++++; great violet colour, cherry aromas then cedar, sexy sweet, lots of barrel ferment bits, long flavours, chunky oak at present but streamlined texture, drink 2018-2023!

Bests Bin 0 2008

A pair of Queenslanders figured too.

Pyramids Road Shiraz 2009, Granite Belt (USD 32.50); 13.5%; +++; has great violet colour, really stands out, intense spice, flavour gamey and the fruit is sweet, spicy palate with silkiness and subtlety, lovely drink with purity.

Barambah First Grid Shiraz 2008, South Burnett (USD 31.50) is made by this author-was happy to see the SSS’s enjoy the wine in this context; it tasted well with the emphatic aspect being savouriness, which I pointed out to the group, and this being caused by extended aging on lees.

Barambah First Grid 2008

There were a couple of Victorians.

The Story Sableux Shiraz 2009, Grampians (USD 48.75); 14%; +++1/2; has lots of oak work; barrel ferment, some feral notes which are chic, syrupy texture from ripeness, flavour power, choc, mint fruit flavours which stay in the mind. Big stuff from a cool site.

De Bortoli Syrah 2008, Yarra Valley (USD 34.75); 14%; ++++; despite its brown colour (the heat wave year), lots of spice and interesting funk, loads of palate spice and more obvious savouriness, again that lees technique making the wine more drinkable. A terrific drinking sensation.

Then there were a pair from Western Australia.

Vinedrops The Collection Shiraz 2009, Margaret River (USD 21.75); 13.4%; +++; nice aromas, oak cedar from high toned barrels; and a lovely silky palate, very easy to swallow too, impressive.

Plantagenet Shiraz 2008 Mount Barker (USD 48.75); 14.2%; +++; spicy, earthy, forest floor nose, some reduction from the screw cap; now drying out where the oak shows, considerable acid, very soft.

The mixed bag comprised a Hunter and a Kiwi.

De Iullis Steven Vineyard Shiraz 2009, Hunter Valley (USD 43.50); 13%; +++1/2; was great, lots of warm, red fruits, some feral smells to give it character, a composed palate, leanness yet poise, clean and drying.

Te Mata Bullnose Syrah 2009, Hawkes Bay (USD 28.50); 13.5%; +++; simply smelt pretty, flower aromatics, nice currants too, the palate high acid or that effect, a soft, fine and silky swallow results. These styles capture some drinkers-an ultra-cool climate for shiraz where the conditions allow it to ripen.

The final pair were South Australians.

Murray Street Vineyard Greenock Shiraz 2006, Barossa (USD 59.75); 15%; +++; chocolate fruit, lots of oomph and burning alcohol, twitches the nose, now drying yet a very compact palate of flavour and intensity. Not as big as it smells but aging.

Gemtree Obsidian Shiraz 2008, McLaren Vale (USD 65); 14.5%; +++; big and juicy, the super ripe/dead fruit style; big all over and climbing out of the glass, lots of powdery oak from the tannin structure, syrupy texture effects from the high ripeness and winemaking approach. Wine for heroes.

Thought records!

Peter Scudamore-Smith is a Brisbane-based Master of Wine, winemaker and educator www.uncorkedandcultivated.com.au

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