This wine has been lurking in my box from online retailer Naked Wines for some time now. Not that I’ve been putting it off drinking it for fear of a wack wine, more like I’ve been waiting for the right occasion to do it justice.
At £12.50 it’s more than I usually spend on a single bottle. But this particular single bottle has a sticker on it saying it won a silver medal in the Michelangelo international wine awards, and another that says it got four stars in Platter’s South African wine guide.
Now I know that stickers don’t maketh the wine, but if two independent bodies think it rates, it’s gotta have something going for it, right? Perhaps not, but coupled with the price and the fact this is a Shiraz we’re talking about, I was expecting exciting things.
Anyway, the mythical “right occasion” never materialised, or when it did a full bodied red wine wasn’t right for the menu. So I just busted it out after picking up some slightly dubious looking discount sausages to go with a lentil soup.
And unlike the sausages, this didn’t disappoint. Located somewhere between a restrained French Syrah and flamboyant South Australian Shiraz in character, this South African offering really shows off the grape at its best.
The wine is rich and full bodied, but not overwhelming, and the tannins are surprisingly flexible.
It has spicy blackcurrant notes on the nose that unfold dramatically on the tongue. There’s a real maturity and structure here, that lets the intense flavours reveal themselves fully but not overwhelm the palate. A peppery edge keeps things interesting into a dry, savoury finish.
While this lack of sweetness separates it from many New World Shirazes, it still has an enjoyable looseness around the edges – this is no austere Syrah either.
It’s definitely worth the asking price, and made me remember how much difference that spending a few extra quid can make in terms of quality.
The only problem with it is the 14.5% alcohol. Don’t worry – it’s superbly integrated into the wine. It’s just that it stops me drinking as much of it in one go as I’d like…