Howard Park Scotsdale Shiraz 2005

88+ points

Great Southern, Western Australia. 14.5%

Densely fruited Shiraz. Very modern, clean. James Halliday rates it very highly and it is his sort of wine. A show pony. I found the amount of new French oak off-putting. Don’t drink until 2011.

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Wild Rock the underarm syrah 2004

89 points

Gimblett Gravels, Hawkes Bay, NZ. 14%

The name refers to an infamous cricket event that reflected poorly on Australia and further fuelled trans-tasman rivalry. What has this to do with wine? Well Australia has more Shiraz than anywhere else, and as far as kiwis are concerned Oz has long been synonymous with Shiraz while NZ thought too cool to ripen the grape. But over the past 20 years great strides have been made. I personally never thought I’d see a wine like this.

It’s labelled syrah to indicate a style closer, far closer, to France than Australia. Anne found the black pepper off-putting but I really enjoyed this wine particularly the lack of overt new oak.

Rich yet medium bodied. Very enjoyable now. Honest wine in spite of the ‘marketing Dept’ label/name.