Paringa Estate ‘Estate Shiraz’ 2004

88 points

Mornington Penninsula, Victoria, Australia. 14.4%

paringa04.jpgBlueberry purple. Extremely concentrated young wine. I opened it, decanted it, took one sip and then put the wine back in the bottle for a day – it seemed very impressive but rather undrinkable. The next night it was still very hard to drink, we still have almost half a bottle.

Concentrated fruit, with lashings of charred French oak, and a fair bit of alcohol though the wine isn’t sweet and heavy on glycerol. Intense and, accounting for the fact that it is easy to taste the basic components of the wine, it is rather one dimensional.

This won best wine at the 2006 Sydney show taking out six trophies. James Halliday, Chairman of Judges, speaking at the presentation dinner, said “there has been a deliberate move away from the big heavily oaked blockbuster shirazes that dominated wine shows in the past to more balanced medium bodied wines that can often come from the cooler viticultural regions”.

Hmm, well I struggle to call this medium bodied (at 14.4% alcohol) though the wine does still show its cool climate roots in palate weight. The problem is the lack of drinkablity even with food. Wine is meant to be consumed not just tasted and awarded trophies. The back label says it can “be enjoyed young with food” which just isn’t true. So the real question is whether this wine will be great given another 5 years or so in bottle, or whether this “designed to withstand nuclear attack” style is just to stand out at wine shows, or is the only way to sell cool climate reds to the Australian palate ?

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