Chateau Beaumont 2005

80 points

Haut-Medoc. 13.5%

Bitter un-salted olive flavour. I hope this fades and some fruit sweetness emerges with age. But that seems optimistic.

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Chateau Cantemerle 2009

89++ points

Haut-Medoc, Bordeaux. 13%

Perfectly correct left-bank claret. Showing the quality of the vintage but still in a restrained (the house) style. Quite a degree of youthful acidity – the wine needs breathing if you are going to drink it now, this is not one of the opulent 2009s.

Great future in front of it. Best from 2025.

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Peter Lehmann Stonewell Shiraz 1998

92 points

Barossa Valley, South Australia. 14.5%

Surprising touch of mercaptan aroma.

A close knit Barossa shiraz that has only recently started to mellow. Nice balance, not overtly sweet like some, or too dolled up with added acid and Am oak like some.

That said while it’s quite correct it isn’t that exciting. For the price and vintage I had hopes of something a bit more interesting.

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Peter Lehmann Stonewell 2008

87?++ points. 14%

This has been given very high scores by wine critics who are far more accustomed to drinking young intense wines.

For me, it smells of shiraz. It tastes tight and quite tannic. No Barossa lusciousness yet. French oak. All very correct. No glimpse of soul or terroir yet.

Leave for 10 years at least.

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Shiraz by Farr 2008

92 points

Geelong, Victoria. 13.5%

Wow, this is a million miles from the Barossa, well not quite just 100km south of Melbourne, but clearly cool climate shiraz. Whole bunch fermentation shows, as does the flick 4% of viognier. Tannins are almost non-existent. It’s young, still showing an almost just fermented character but it’s riper and with softer acid than many Northern Rhone wines so it comes across as very pretty. The young cool shiraz fruit isn’t as cloying and floral, though I’d still recommend cellaring for a few years. That said, I can imagine this being a big restaurant favourite, especially amongst New World Pinot drinkers.

Which raises the question why drink this when you can drink Pinot? Perhaps a fair question at this stage but give it a year or three and this will assert itself more clearly as cool climate shiraz rather than a shiraz made in a pinot style.

Very interesting wine.

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Seppelt St Peters Shiraz 1998

93 points

Great Western, Victoria, Australia. 14.5%

In spite of the 14.5% label this comes across as a medium bodied wine and with practically no tannin. But the flavour is gorgeous, classic shiraz, plus aged complexity. Top Aussie cabernets just don’t seem to show this aged character, at least at this age.

The acid is very soft. The oak is French and very restrained.

Absolutely not a blockbuster. Gorgeous.

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Seppelt Original Sparkling Shiraz 2006

91 points

13.5%

Youthful and dark colour.

This once was Seppelt Great Western Sparkling Burgundy. In more recent years it’s been sourced from a variety of places and quality varied somewhat but in recent years it is back as the best value sparkling red in Australia and a wine of distinctive style.

It’s red fruited, quite unlike some sweeter and black fruit to prune flavour competitors. Quite tight and reserved, though there is clear varietal flavour. This is rather dry, very food oriented. Indeed almost too dry to drink without food. I have a fear that it may simply dry out and fall over with age as some Seppelt Victorian wines have had a tendency to do – even though they start life seeming so dark and concentrated that they will live a long while.

Time will tell. But at the moment it’s a classy flagbearer for sparking shiraz in Australia.

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Voyager Estate Shiraz 2004

91++ points

Margaret River, Western Australia. 14%

Great colour, balancing acidity, deft oak, ripe grapey tannins. Lots to admire in this modern Rhone style, but the deep fruit seems locked away. It certainly doesn’t seem like an 8 year old wine. A cold cellar and screwcap have perhaps arrested development.

I have high hopes. One for the cellar.