The Sour Grape

The Black Shiraz 2014

A deceptively complex Ozzy Shiraz for the price that makes the most of the tiny amount of Durif (Petit Syrah) and Cabernet Sauvignon blended in.

It’s been a while since I gambled on an Australian Shiraz, as quite a few of my friends struggle with the thick ‘heady’ weight of fruit and powerful American oak characteristics, (usually from a thorough oak chip ‘tea-bagging’) that typified the wines when they were at their most popular. However, time has moved on and the Australian wine industry has been learning it’s lessons while value has shot up with the world focusing on other ‘in vogue’ wine countries… I’m looking at you New Zealand! ‘The Black Shiraz’ from Berton Vineyards has developed something of a cult following on the restaurant circuit, providing the kind of consistent quality and value that has made supermarket brands like ‘Casillero del Diablo’ a household name… so I thought I’d check it out as the ‘The Mighty Co-op’ has been stocking it.

 

It has a deep ruby black colour with pink rim and an inky blackberry and plum fruit aroma with soft vanilla, tobacco leaf and a charcoal carbon edge. In the glass there’s concentrated blackberry and blueberry fruit, liquorish, black pepper and vanilla pod characteristics. There’s a weight a density to this wine that really benefits from the clean acidity cutting through and a well-judged use of French oak… Had American oak been used, a Shiraz this dense and powerful could easily have been overbearing and headache inducing. Instead ‘The Black Shiraz’ has a suppressing subtlety and freshness at play amidst the weight of fruit, dense ripe tannins (from the Durif/Cabernet in the blend) and an earthy minerality beating at its heart. The finish is medium long, moving from ripe fresh fruit to soft pastel vanilla and tobacco leaf along the way. A pleasant surprise at this price point and one I’ll take great pleasure introducing friends to that would normally run a mile from an ‘Ozzy Shiraz’ this bold. £5.50 a bottle on offer (£7.50 full price) from The Mighty Co-op.

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