Y’all, I have bit of a crush on this wine. A bit of a crush. The superserious bigtime notaschoolgirl CRUSH crush is on this wine’s bigger
much pricier sibling (the 8 Songs Shiraz, and even more so the Stonewell). This, however, is still pretty awesome.
And dude. Check the label. Check the poster in the background. Look at the top middle square. DUDE.
Region: Barossa Valley, Australia
Grapes involved: Shiraz*
Food pairings: LAMB OMG. Or beef. Or chocolate. Or heavy, heavy foods. Or cheddar – like, I had this with mac and cheese and it was pretty much A+ fantastic. I don’t think you could go wrong here, really, unless you didn’t like the food you were pairing with the wine (at which point, you know, get something else).
The wine: It’s a really dark plummy color. The nose is a fantastic concoction of bright blackcurrant and plum, shot through with hints of black pepper, earth, leather and a touch of sage.
The mouthfeel is smooth and velvety, with a mid-range tannin level (probably due to the fact that the bottle has been open for two days as much as anything else – Shiraz tends to have a pretty solid level of tannins, and I think they’ve softened up quite a bit in 48 hours). It’s a super dry wine. The beginning flavors are all plums and blackcurrants with something bright and slightly hot. Then there are hits of white and black pepper (more white than black) and maybe a touch of pink pepper, followed by something warm and earthen. At the swallow, there’s a bright punch of something that reads (albeit very briefly) like tangerine and more pepper, before everything smoothes out into a nice warm plummy finish with a back hint of earth and chocolate.
So. You know. It’s quite nice. Lovely, really.
Quick label info: for an Aussie wine to be labeled with a vintage, at least 95% of the grapes have to be from that vintage. At least 85% of the grapes have to originate in a particular area for the label to include the district. In this particular case, I’m pretty sure all the grapes come from the Barossa – the winemaker was pretty clear on that when he told us the story of how the winery came to be (to sum up: Peter Lehmann worked for someone else (I forget who) who was going to stop buying grapes from a huge group of families. He took it upon himself to start up a winery specifically to make sure those families would still be able to sell their grapes. The winery still buys the same grapes, and they do make pretty fuckamazing wine).** (Thanks be to Kevin Zraly’s Windows on the World Complete Wine Course for all this sort of stuff. I’m learning it, so I’m making you read it).
*with the recognition that 99.5% of you reading this blog already know this: Shiraz and Syrah are the same grape. Shiraz is Aussie. Syrah is pretty much everywhere else.
Roughly three-ish weeks after I started my current job, I ended up at a trade tasting of Peter Lehmann wines at a local steakhouse.+ The winemaker was there. He’s a funny, animated guy who told us all sorts of stuff about each wine, the winery, all that sort of stuff, while a roomful of us listened and slurped happily. Things I learned:
- this winery’s Dry Riesling is one of the best I’ve ever had, and will have a review soonish
- winemakers sign posters of their wine labels, even if begging for the said autograph involves a minor moment of stalking because the poor chap was attempting to sit down to dinner
- in Australia, redheads are called Ginger Ninjas ( <—— read that in an Aussie accent). Or so I was told.
+I know, my life is hard.