Region: McLaren Vale
Hi once again wine lovers!
Tonight I have gone big. I have purchased rib-eye steaks, and I require an equally big wine to step up and match my steak. This bottle had been tucked away in the cellar for a good 5 years, I remembered when I tasted it at the Wirra Wirra cellar door I was blown away and now, 5 years on I want to know what it is like.
The term “RSW” is taken from the gentleman who established the company in 1894. “Robert Strangways Wigley. The RSW fits into the Wirra Wirra “flagship” category.
Before I get onto the wine. I want to state that this wine is now 7 years old. Its recommended drinking is 14 to 16 years from it’s vintage year. Thus, in the case of this wine, peak drinking is 2022-2024 according to its makers. Therefore, I hope to find this wine starting to turn, and hit the next stage of its development in the bottle. When a wine ages, the fruit starts to mellow, the oak starts to drive forward more, and the tannin starts to ease off. The massive party in the bottle starts to become more like a civilised conversation without anything being loud, outspoken and domineering. Every element of the wine starts to get its own story across and the best wines are an example of a perfect team. The wine begins to have reason and finally after being “bottled up” (pun intended) the different characters have sorted their differences and have managed to work together. For those of you who own 3 bottles of the same wine, take notes. How is it drinking now; when you first tasted it? How is it drinking in the middle of its life phase? Finally, what is it like in its optimum drinking period? This is also, why wine is cheaper when you buy it in half dozens. The rule is to use 3 bottles for the trial and the other 3 you drink when you are happiest with its progression. For some, it might be early, and for others it might be at the peak drinking phase where everything is in balance. I say, over and over again; wine is preference drink it when you want. Idiots, like myself, love the complexity and must know everything about the wine we are drinking. All I can really say to you, is if you have a big expensive bottle of wine. Cellar it as long as you can, the wine was never meant to be drunk straight away, but like saving for a massive holiday to be enjoyed down the track, and you know it is coming. The wine is not going anywhere, it is just happy being left alone, and after years of leaving it in the cellar uninterrupted, you now have a wine that you will love and enjoy.
Now on to the wine in question.
This wine, on the nose, hits up with big blackberry encased within coca and oak. There is also signs of blueberry and dark cherry, and other oak notes. More defiant from American, rather than French oak.
On the Palate; and the best way to describe the wine is that it is in its “puberty” stage. The oak is starting to push up, but the fruit is still fighting back. (Like a typical teenager argument.) There is quite brilliant balance with fruit, oak, and tannin though. There is three prominent unmistakable stages on the palate with this wine. It kicks things off with black and blueberry fruit, and follows into driving oak numbing the sweetness of the wine down. It is full bodied and bold and clashes beautifully. The finish is reminiscent of a smattering black pepper, (So typical of McLaren Vale Shiraz) and chinotto/blood orange acid working with some noticeable tannin. You get the sense this wine is on the cusp of hitting the next stage of development in the bottle. (Hence, the first stages of Puberty.)
This wine has pleased me once again; and it is aging beautifully. There is still that dense dark colour in the glass, but it is starting to slowly turn to that brick colour. Seven years on, and there is nothing negative to say about this wine. It is one of the absolute top echelon wine’s in the McLaren Vale region. I only wish I had a second bottle, so I could address this wine once again 10-15 years from now.
If you can ever find a bottle of the 2008 Vintage of this wine, purchase it. It is also the last of the old label vintages, before they moved to the all black bottle with white RSW writing. This is one of the best McLaren Vale Shiraz’ I have ever come across.
Drinking: Now and up to 2030
The SA Wine Guy