Thursday, March 28, 2013

M. Chapoutier Brings Elegance to Aussie Shiraz

The country of Australia is known for a lot of things throughout the world. When thinking of the "Land Down Under" you may think of Kangaroos, Koalas, cool Aussie accents, and BIG Shiraz's! Over the past decade, Australian Shiraz has been known for its big candy fruit and high alcohol levels. This style of wine began to gain popularity with the Yellow Tail crazes, which then led many more producers trying to emulate that big style and to push the envelope further. This type of Shiraz has came under a lot of scrutiny, as people feel that Australia should focus on making more elegant Shiraz, similar to the Northern Rhone. Thankfully, Australian wine producers are starting to create great wines that emulate the Syrah from the Northern Rhone, yet obtains it's own identity in the process.

This style of elegant Australian Shiraz's usually comes from producers who have a French winemaking background. A prime example of this is the great Michel Chapoutier. Since the 1980's, Michel has been a driving force in quality and introduced biodynamic to his families winery. In 1997, Michel expanded into Australia and began to partner with local producers and a American wine importer (Terlato). He also bought land in the Victorian Pyrenees under his own label, Domaine Tournon. Here are my thoughts on his Shay's Flat label:

M. Chapoutier Shiraz Domaine Tournon Shay's Flat  Vineyard 2010
This is not your typical Aussie Shiraz! This wine was extremely dark in colour, as the cork end was pitch black! When I opened the bottle the aromas reminded me more of a Northern Rhone St. Joseph than your typical Barossa Shiraz. This wine gave aromas of black fruit (blueberries and blackberries), cinnamon spice and gamey notes. On the palate this wine had great structure and balance. Flavours of dark fruit and white pepper were dominate on the palate. This wine had great length. I really appreciate a wine that evolves throughout the night, as this wine did. This wine has a more "modern style" which gives you a sense of place. A great value at $30, but sadly a majority of the bottles are gone in Ontario. Luckily I have a few in the cellar. A solid and enjoyable Australian Shiraz! 92 Points 

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