South Australia vs South Africa Shiraz

South African vs. South Australian Shiraz- A comparison…
2001 Ross Estate “Reserve” Shiraz, Lyndoch, Barossa Valley, South Australia
2001 Fairview “Solitude” Shiraz, Paarl Region, Western Cape, South Africa

Both of these wines were rated very well by the tasting group underlying Shiraz’ (Syrah) ability to produce remarkable wines under a number of different conditions, philosophies, and purposes.

The two wines in the glass were poles apart. The Ross Estate was highly extracted- a deep opaque purple to the rim, the FV a bricky, almost tawny rust. The Fair View ironically had more sediment in the bottle- a result of the unabashed French style it was made in.

The nose’s were distinctly different : The FV’s savouriness and spiciness easily bearing the high alcohol. Fine spice said French oak- in stark contrast to the Ross Estate – a very south Australian “vanilla pod” style. The tawny hues of the FV transitioned well over to the palate, with sticky rancio notes countering the 15% alc vol. The richness of the RE did not head into confectionary mode (I find a common experience with Barossa Shiraz) in a seamless, but large fashion. Darker berries (almost in a stewed fashion) dominated this nose in comparison to the heady red berries of the FV.

The palate followed well for both wines- FV offering no surprises besides its extreme ability to cope with its high alcohol, with its savouriness/tobacco base. A lingering finish that was hard to separate between flavour and burn. This wine, with its slight porty notes reminds me of a wine I had recently- Hillstowe Udy;s Hill Pinot (1999- Adelaide Hills South Australia)- that same subtle dirtiness that comes with the combination of fine tannin, spicy/brown fruit and Tawny. A great wine to sit on- its not in a hurry, and did not change much in the glass. I would not leave this one much longer- alcohol I suspect will soon dominate now pleasant linger. RE showed excellent combinations of big round berry fruit, silky vanillin, and tannins that were almost absent. The finish was attractive, but relatively short. A great example of the sweet spiciness of French oak FV vs. the vanilla pod Ross. The Ross, in my opinion will be slightly longer lived.

by Travis

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