The dynamics of house hunting, it’s a bizarre ritual belonging to the transient, and un-mortgaged amongst us, you would spend more time debating the pros and cons of crunchy verses super crunchy peanut butter, than you would choosing your prospective ‘house partner’. It is much like the first date, the interview stage, and let’s face it, that CV contains a small amount of poetic smudging, describing just how amazingly well adjusted, and ‘chilled’ you are, your love of the outdoors, exercise, and just how do you manage to get the time between work, and that part time job as a dolphin trainer. World peace? Sure let me in your house, and this too can be yours, just don’t mention that your idea of doing the dishes is an in-house Jenga party at the end of the week. You fully realise the lack of personal continuity between interviews, swinging between aloof and mysterious, learned and bookish, loud and engaging, it’s all about playing to the crowd, exhausting? Well I just expressed an interest in tofu burgers, the things we do for underground storage.
My move will take me away from Bearded Wine Man, I dropped the news this week, I was slightly jealous seeing that his beard has been newly sculpted with muffin chops, I had shaved mine, I pretended to preen mine and that it was not bothering me. He informed me that he was taking his beard to London, I had been jealous for no reason. I looked for something heavy to make me feel better, I had not touched a Grampian Shiraz for a while, the last being a Mount Langi 2001 Shiraz. These are for the most part concentrated wines, with depth and character, though in cooler years can get a bit ‘sappy’, a bit like under ripe Pemberton / Demark Shiraz from back home.
Clayfield ‘Massif’ 2009 Shiraz
Victorian Shiraz has a tuff gig in my opinion, the South Australians do it well, Barossa, the Vale, Clare and Eden Valleys push out some serious wines, at some very accessible price points. Many a Melbournite reaches for interstate options instead of looking in their backyard. I have always been a fan of regional Grampians booze, these are some smart wines, being accessible early, and aging with structure. Leading to the Clayfield’s Shiraz; the colour concentration leaps at you in that varietal purple hue, this 2009 vintage is still all primary fruit colours and light, and the nose follows through. I find dark fruits, and a subtle but interesting star anises character, cloves, and the usual spicy pepper suspects. Some older French oak , I was intensely searching for the vanilla hit, and I can’t say I was missing it. The palate re-enforces this, there is no railroading oak regime marching down your tongue, the fruit is generous on the mid pallet but not sloppy, with structure from the fruit tannin and older oak to round out the sensuous mouth feel. Beginnings and hints of secondary characters start to form on the pallet once the wine has seen some air, but she is by no means crumbling into a heap in front of your eyes. There is not a massive amount of acid kicking around, that being said, hit it now, or hold onto 2014.
If you can move away from the Barossa jam jars, this is a wine designed for slow cooked beef cheeks, kangaroo, or lamb shanks with potato puree, or just a simple French styled Cassoulet. The dense gamey / meat characters, with this structured finesse wine, will make for a meal, both warming and comforting, and intricate and sophisticated. I would have to say that this wine surprised me, the Mount Langi wines have more ‘punch’, but I am seduced by the subtle nature of this temptress. You will find yourself topping up for guest glasses, and your own with, surprising regularity, this is a creeper.
For me this is the sexy librarian of Australian Shiraz, understated but intriguing, passive but firm. Maybe she needs a housemate?
7.0 / 10 Sipps