|Wine Maker:||Alex Mackenzie|
Hello wine lovers!
If you’re reading this locally, welcome to the start of the colder weather and the 2016 AFL premiership season! I don’t know about everyone else, but to me this is the time of the year to sit down and yell at a TV with a nice glass of red, pulling off your bed quilt and wrapping it around you like you’re a toasted human hot pocket. Yes, I am very much an Autumn and Winter person. Yet, that’s enough about me. I am here to talk about and review wine, so with things starting to swing into the cooler climates, it’s time to think about all those winter reds, and more importantly, those medium to full bodied bold red wines like, cabernet, shiraz, and GSM blends.
Let’s look at the wine I have in front of me now.
Annie’s Lane Shiraz
Colour: Purple with dark magenta hue.
Aromas: Plum, chocolate, blackcurrant. They remain quite sedate away in the glass, nothing really leaps out and throws it weight around. Small nuances of black olives, mint and vanilla oak gently caress over the nose. The aromas are withheld and somewhat sedated for what you would expect from a Shiraz. Usually they try to leap from the glass. From this wine, I don’t get that at all. All the aromas sit deep in the glass, and nothing really wants to come to the surface.
Palate: This is a medium bodied wine with semi-rich flavours of black fruits, but really, that’s where it ends. There’s nothing too overly complex up front and the mid palate is somewhat non-existent. It runs into a more savoury finish that promotes the characteristic flavours of Clare Valley Shiraz, being that of black olive and some sweet and savoury flavours combining to the tail of this wine. Tannins are soft. Fruit and acidity is well balanced. The most surprising thing is that with a wine as simple and delicate as this one is that the alcohol, (at 14%) is still somewhat shadowed. This wine in no way feels hot, or oily on the palate. The alcohol does add a bit of rounded body to this wine, but there is no strong tannin to cut into the alcohol presence and this in turn lends it to a wine with soft rounded texture. To me tannin presence is something Shiraz in particular needs. If you have rich fruit in the wine, higher alcohol definitely adds another dimension to the body of a wine. However, it really has nothing to play with and add extra body without more tannin. You will however find this wine rolls around on the palate quite easily.
Thoughts: There is nothing that is overly entertaining about this wine. It is quite simple and refined for a Shiraz, there’s good level of fruit and acidity, but it’s not quite as lush and robust as what you might have gotten from the previous two vintages out of Annie’s Lane. (2012 and 2013) It is surprisingly simple to drink, but unlike most Shiraz’s I have come across in recent times, this one is very laid back and has subdued characteristics. If you’re looking for a challenge in your wine, you definitely won’t find it here. All that being said however, it is quite genuine little wine in terms of flavour. There is nothing to suggest that you won’t enjoy it, especially if you had to open something just for the purpose of consumption or as a compliment to your food. (Pizza in particular with this wine) But more so, there is nothing to suggest that it will blow you away or be one of those surprise packets that you can often find from wines in this price range. For you Shiraz lovers like me, you will find this wine rather pedestrian. Take the label off and remove some of the savoury characters, you could mistake it for a Merlot. For those new to shiraz and working your way into bolder full-bodied reds though, this is a good gateway wine to introduce you to the basic Shiraz flavours and characteristics. Simplistic, soft and delicate, this wine is a supple introduction to this variety.
My personal suggestions: If you love Shiraz then this wine will not do anything much to compliment your reasons for loving the variety and you’re better off looking elsewhere for a Shiraz to suit your needs.
For those of you new to this grape variety, it is definitely a good starting point to your introduction to the world of Shiraz. You will particularly like this wine if you are transitioning from Merlot into Shiraz. Its character and body resemble that of a Merlot more than a Shiraz, but you will be introduced to some new flavours that you only can get from a Shiraz along the way.
Drink: Now to 2022
The SA Wine Guy