Tuesday, February 5, 2019

2014 Shirvington Cabernet Sauvignon: A Compelling Australian Wine

One of my goals this year is to taste more Australian wines, to give them reconsideration and see whether they have changed during recent years. As I mentioned before, I have drank very few Australian wines in the last few years, having been turned off by the large amount of jammy fruit bombs that country seemed to produce for a time. I didn't want a sledgehammer of wine to assault my palate, but I rather desired wines with more subtlety and complexity. And I'm starting to realize that those jammy fruit bombs may not seem to be the norm any longer.

The Shirvington Winery, which is located in Willunga, just south of McLaren Vale, was founded in 1996 by Paul and Lynne Shirvington, with their sons Tony and Mark. Their first vineyard, about 16 hectares, was named Redwind, and they began by planting Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon, though it now includes Mataro (aka Mourvedre) too. The Redwind vineyard is at an elevation of about 50 meters, has red clay and limestone soil, and has a Mediterranean climate with maritime influences. They later purchased two additional vineyards, Kurrawyba (in McLaren Flat) and Manjalda (in McLaren Vale). All of their vineyards are sustainably farmed.

I received a media sample of their 2014 Shirvington Cabernet Sauvignon ($58.99), which is produced from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, which was barrel fermented and then aged for 19 months in 100% French oak (33% new, 11% 1 year old, & 56% 2 year old). I was especially pleased to note that this wine only had a 13% ABV, indicative to me that this wine was unlikely a jammy fruit bomb. I also chose to pair this wine with Filet Mignon, figuring that it would work well with a nice piece of steak.

With a dark red, almost plummy color, the wine had an appealing nose of red fruits with subtle spice notes. On the palate, there was an initial taste of bright red fruits, cherry and raspberry, and on the finish it transformed so there were more black fruit, plum and black cherry, flavors. Throughout the complex palate, there were subtle spice notes, restrained tannins, and a hint of sweetness. It was a more elegant wine, with a lengthy, satisfying finish, and it was a delightful companion to the Filets. This Cabernet had more in common with European wines than California ones. Simply delicious and it earns a hearty recommendation.

Another win for Australian wines. And I have more reviews coming in the near future.

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