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Dublin, Ireland
Hi, I'm Dermot Nolan, and I became a Master of Wine (MW) in 1997, and resigned from the Institute of Masters of Wine in 2023 after being an MW for exactly 26 years. I opened a wine shop in DĂșn Laoghaire, Ireland, called The Wine Library, which closed in 2018, and this is my personal wine blog. I will do my utmost to be fair and responsible in my posts – please read my Who Pays article in re the ethics of wine trips and writing. I have worked in wine education, retail, and consultancy since 1990. I was a Director of the Institute of Masters of Wine (IMW) from 2008 to 2014 and was also a member of the Events Committee, founder of the Trips Committee, and member of the Governance Committee. Having had problems with potentially libellous comments from unidentifiable posters, I now require that if you post a comment, you must identify yourself properly or it won't be published. Please note that I do not review products or services on request so kindly don't ask. I value my independence and I believe my readers (few that they may be) do so also.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Shiraz a go go

After the excellent riesling session, we then had a shiraz and blends session with Stephen Pannell. We started with four mature wines - Craiglee 1990 from Sunbury in Victoria, Plantagenet 1991 from mt Barker in Western Australia, Mt Edelstone 1991 from Eden Vally, South Australia and Wendouree 1991 from Clare Valley, also South Australia.
These four were varied; I found the Craiglee to be good but tiring, the Plantagenet to be very mature but lovely, the Mt Edelstone to be superb and the Wendouree to be very youthful still and a super wine.
Then we had a tour d'horizon of shiraz in Australia. To start, a trip down the road to Adelaide Hills with Shaw & Smith's 2006. Lovely and fruity, elegant and long. Then a big run all the way to the Yarra Valley for De Bortoli's Reserve 2006.I didn't think this was that good - it had a lovely nose but was a bit grippy and green on the finish. Then a swing back into west Victoria for Giaconda Warner 2006, from Beechworth. Dense, tight and long. Very very good. Down the road to Grampians and another Mt Langhi Ghiran 2006 - typical pepper and firm palate but elegant. Lovely stuff. A Seppelt Mt Ida 2006 from Heathcote was quite fragrant in style and a good wine. Then, back to SA and a McLaren Vale wine, Clarendon Hills Astralis 2006: classic big, black McLaren fruit, slight black olive note, with a long almost sweet finish. Finally, a Charlie Melton Grains of Paradise 2006 to return us to the Barossa. Brambles and bright berry fruit in a big style with a broad palate and very good.
Finally, a quiz for us - five wines blind, all blends. Does regional character show? Can we spot the blend mates? Eh, no, not really, eh, could we do that one again LOL. To start with the atypical Clonakilla Shiraz Viognier 2006 from Canberra is not easy - kudos to Sean Razee for spotting viognier. A good wine in an unusual style, but more of this anon. Then, S C Pannell Shiraz Grenache 2006 from McLaren Vale - spicy with red and black fruits, long and fresh. Next, Spinifex Indigene 2006 Shiraz Mourvedre from Barossa. Big and spicy, plums and new oak - good booze! Number 4 was another Wendouree (never tasted it before in my life and I get three in one day - bit like waiting for a bus!), this time a 2005 Shiraz Malbec blend. Why oh why? Nope, didn't like the redcurrant style of the malbec in the blend. Finally, Grange 2004 which is 85% Barossa and 15% McLaren Vale. I guessed Barossa but not Grange. Big, peppery with integrated oak, pretty damn good.
What to learn? That Australian shiraz is not a one size fits all style; rather, there is a range of styles depending on origin, vintage and blend mates, as well as winemakers, giving consumers a really great choice when looking at these wines. So, off you go now and buy some shiraz!

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