Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Shottesbrooke 2010 Estate Range McLaren Vale Merlot

Nick Holmes kicked off McLaren Vale's Shottesbrooke way back in 1984. He was one of the nice guys of the Australian wine industry who I really enjoyed catching up with during the Trade Show season each year.
They seem like distant memories now with Trade Shows not what they used to be and Nick more in the background nowadays. I've sold plenty of their wines in past years but the contact lapsed.

But now they're back under the care of Wayne the Bird who is very much of the old school and understands I do need to taste wines before I recommend them [you'd be surprised how many reps just don't get that] So eleven days ago Wayne brought in 7 open bottles for me to try. The two cheapies were perfectly pleasant but there are plenty of those around. It was the five Estate wines that wowed me and while we don't particularly need another Sauvignon Blanc or Shiraz at the moment, they were too good ignore.

My favourite, just nudging the cabernet, is this. Produced from 30yo vines they were planted to provide a blending option with Cabernet but Nick realised that this Merlot excelled as a stand alone variety. A happy accident perhaps but this is the best Merlot I've tasted in years. A medium weight, complex, intriguing red in perfect balance. This will be one of our stars over the next few months,
Our Price: $17 per bottle by the dozen


McWilliams "1877" 2008 Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon


Every winery in Australia has its "flagship" red and many of these represent the finest wine buys out there. These are the wines made from the very best fruit and hand crafted by winemakers striving for perfection. In 99% of instances these wines are offered between $30 and $100. Good luck to Penfolds if they can command a wholesale price over $600 but I'm just not interested in that game.

A month ago I detoured through the Hunter on my way back to Sydney. I stopped and speed tasted at two wineries: Hope Estate and McWilliams. The Hope range has really improved in the last few years but I found this standout at McWilliams.

This is one of the finest reds I've tasted in my 30+ years of sipping, spitting or swallowing. It's the ultimate special occasion red at a price that doesn't make you compelled to leave it in the cellar for the REALLY special occasion that never happens.

McWilliams have pooled their resources to combine fruit from Coonawarra, McLaren Vale and the NSW Hilltops and then whacked it in French oak for 20 months. While there's a lot to be said about single vineyard purity I'll happily support this blending of 2 grapes from 3 regions if it creates a wine like this.

Congratulations to the winemakers responsible. While great fruit is the responsibility of the viticulturalist, some very talented winemaking put this together.

Our Price: $55 per bottle by the dozen