Elegant Shiraz from Victoria
On Tuesday afternoon I had some time to spare in central London, so I went visiting wine shops. One was Philglas & Swiggot, round the back of Selfridges. The wonderfully named Philglas also has a branch in Richmond, and the original shop in Clapham/Battersea, but this was the first time I'd been to their Marylebone store. Mike Rogers, the owner, was there, so I had a good chat with him and browsed the shelves. They've got a fantastic, hand-picked selection that's particularly strong in Australia and Italy. Mike admits that if he had to chose between France and Italy, it's the former that would get the boot.
A shop like this is wine geek heaven. You want to learn about wine? Find a shop like this, staffed by smart people who know wine. Use their recommendations and develop a relationship. Forget that wine-searcher shows that somewhere else has the same wine a pound cheaper - it's a false economy. [I'm not suggesting that Philglas are expensive; just that a shop like this won't always be the cheapest because of the overheads, and also the higher cost of hiring smart staff and buying geeky high-end wines.]
I bought just one bottle, but I'd liked to have walked out with a case. It was an Aussie Shiraz that Mike and his wife Karen have developed in conjunction with genius winemaker Mac Forbes. Now I'm not buying much Aussie wine at the moment, but I know Mac and the sort of style he likes, and I know that Mike and Karen understand Aussie wine really well, so it's worth a punt, I reckon to myself. And this is actually a really good wine, although it will be better in two or three years.
Rogers & Pietersen Mullens Vineyard Shiraz 2006 Moonambel, Victoria, Australia
At just 13% alcohol, this is an elegant, bright expression of Aussie Shiraz. It shows a nose of sweet, spicy blackberry and raspberry fruit that's well defined and a bit tight at the moment. The palate has good acidity and some tannic grip, with fresh, focused fruit and a sense of the flavour being hemmed in a bit, waiting to come out. There's some Rhone like meaty, spiciness that adds complexity, and I reckon that in three years this wine will have opened out beautifully and will just be singing. A serious effort, but don't drink it just yet. 91/100 (£16.99 Philglas & Swiggot)