Two fantastic Syrahs from Great Southern
Great Southern is a region in Western Australia. As the name suggests, it's in the south of the state, and it's one of Australia's coolest wine regions. These two Syrahs are very cool-climate in style, and they're fantastic.
'The inspiration for La Ciornia comes from my time spent working in Barbaresco in Piedmont 2002-2003. The local Piedmontese varieties (the well-known Nebbiolo, Barbera and Dolcetto, and obscurities such as Freisa, Grignolino, Pelaverga) encompass the extremes of red winemaking (in terms of site expression, colour, tannin, aromatics, acidity, using oxygen constructively, etc) so you need to think creatively and have a steady nerve to get the results. Also, being an important culinary centre, most often the focus is on how the wines will function in context with food - rather than aiming for maximum ripeness/fruitiness/extract. When I first came to Denmark and tasted the extraordinary 2007 Kalgan River shiraz in barrel, I immediately had the desire to get hold of some fruit from that vineyard and see what I could do with it, aiming for a slightly divergent style - a shiraz that my Piedmontese friends would love to drink - relatively strict and unadorned, expressing the vineyard character.'
Kalgan River Shiraz Viognier 2008 Great Southern, Western Australia
14.5% alcohol, hand-picked. Very fresh and peppery with vibrant dark cherry, raspberry and blackberry fruit, together with a savoury olive streak. This shows lovely peppery cool climate Syrah character, as well as having some rich fruitiness. Youthful, quite serious, with some structure. 92/100 (£16 auswineonline.co.uk)
La Violetta ‘La Ciornia’ Shiraz 2008 Great Southern, Western Australia
14% alcohol. Very fresh and bright: almost Burgundian in its style. Subtly meaty with sweet cherry and red berry fruit, as well as some restrained spicy notes. Quite rich, but overall more red fruits than black with good acidity and a peppery edge. Pure, primary and vibrant with brightness and freshness. I think this will be sensational in a few years (and would therefore get a higher rating), although it’s still impressive in this primary state. 91/100 (£23 auswineonline.co.uk)