Mail is a strange thing, nowadays it tells us less and less; no more Franklin Mint, I now have to pay my bank to get a piece of paper with how much of my money they have, it has resulted in a cesspool of Crust coupons, and strata title meetings that are not addressed to me. Though occasionally something of note arrives that sends things a tad out of kilter. It appeared much as any other slightly larger than normal packages, with a slight, “I’m important” edge to it. It was my eTag, it was quite bizarre really, but as I slowly unzipped the anit-static packaging, and I realised that it was over, license changed, old plates gone, and now this beeping plastic wonder, the jewel of the Victorian transport privatisation policy, was now in my possession, there was a pang, if only mild, for the familiar, bad coffee, limited trading hours, dry heat, overtly high beverage prices, and the awkward notion that sooner or later that day, without doubt, you will run into your old ex-girlfriend on the street.
I launched an expedition to Bearded Wine Man (BWM), with haste, convinced that I needed to source the taste of home that would instantly cure my Westerncollia. Dreaming up in my head on the way, ideas of lashes of french oak in lively chardonnay, cassis and minty pleasures, leading to Metricup Road Cabernets. This was going to be the greatest expedition since Burke and Wills, and well, it looked just as shakey. I quickly reeled off some names to BWM, he blinked, preened his beard, I preened mine, together we preened, and as I gazed around the shop at the un-western labels, I was in a quandary. BWM walked out the back, now ‘out the back’ is always interesting at independent wine stores. Now what he brought out was quite interesting seeing as a.) I’m not a huge fan of multinational beverage companies, b.) I’m not a huge fan of Margaret River Shiraz.
Cape Mentelle 2010 Shiraz
Colour, that’s the one thing that always amazes me about Shiraz, especially youthful examples, it’s the plundering purple that gives it away. This can be seen in blind tastings, by girlfriends, fiancés, HR Managers, its vibrant, and has an affiliation with white business shirts. This wine just ‘pops’ out of the glass, you just want to swirl it around in the hope that she lights up even more. Not since drinking some central Victorian Shiraz/Viognier, have I seen such potent hues, so yes she looks pretty, but well, we have all been there, looks great at the dinner table, but can it talk. Margaret River Shiraz can for me sometimes be disorganised, I think people are always trying to make it something that it is not, and well look at the region, Margs makes, at its best, refined, elegant wines, with well assimilated french oak, with balanced, non over ripe fruit. We can’t make the Barossa fruit cake, or the McLaren Vale velvet hammer, and do we really have to? I think some wineries have been tripping over this equation for a while, and we have the scope to make some smart, sub regional blended wines styles with fruit from Wilyabrup, all the way south to Karridale.
This wine for me is ‘pretty’, the colour, the nose, the palate, the oak integration, the fruit is there, but not heavy. For me it almost has that Côtes Du Rhône, ‘oh there is some fruit, ah its gone again’, it’s almost refreshing in nature, find that in a Shiraz article. It has some great coating vanilla characters from the oak, lifted notes of black berries, violets, and all things nice, if it was not for the outrageous colour in the glass, you could start to wonder from whence she came. Now this shiraz is not going to be for everyone, she needs some lamb, fresh rocket, pine nuts, Roquefort, aged pear, and well for me some fetta mashed potatoes, but I am a starch slut. Its delicate, but I appreciate the effort seeing 2010 was a solid vintage ripening wise, they could have made the jammy monster but decided not to. I’m torn with this one, the fruit is almost subdued, but elegant, and there are some savoury oak characters that I would like to explore, at length.
This is a difficult dance given the talent in the Chardonnay, and Cabernets section, I would try this with an open heart, and an open wallet, she is a sophisticated monster, her legacy I feel will be uncovered with years.
6.0 / 10 Sipps