jamie goode's wine blog

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

High alcohol is a big problem with many wines these days. But here was an Aussie Shiraz, at 15.5% alcohol, which wasn't unbalanced or alcoholic. How does that work? I guess it is something to do with the Clare Valley, which seems to be able to make big reds that are in balance.

Jim Barry The McRae Wood Shiraz 2003 Clare Valley, Australia
A really fantastic, traditional-styled Aussie red with lovely pure, sweet, well balanced fruit backed up by some classy oak (largely American, but some French too). It has a sweet, fresh red and black fruit nose with some spicy, chocolatey complexity. On the palate there is great concentration of pure fruit with some creaminess to the texture. Great balance: the oak supports the fruit very effectively, making a classically styled Aussie Shiraz of real appeal. Very good/excellent 93/100 (retail around 15, UK agent Negociants UK)


At 12:08 PM, Blogger PMH Wines Ltd said...

The same can be said to Cloof Crucible, this comes in at 15.5% but is very well put together. Wouldn't drink it right now though, save it for a cold evening by the fire or on the couch.


At 12:22 PM, Blogger grazza said...

I might be mistaken, but isnt this vintage basically just declassified Armagh? I recall reading somewhere that Mark Barry didnt feel the wine was deserving of the Armagh and so declassified it into the McRae. So Its a bargain really, even if the vintage wasnt quite as good as the winemaker hoped for.


At 3:20 PM, Anonymous Keith Prothero said...

Jamie------presume this will improve with a few years bottle age? Did you decant the wine for a few hours before tasting?

At 4:24 PM, Anonymous Kinley Smith said...

While these wines are impressively flavoursome, the amount of alcohol is just too high. I like to share a bottle of wine of an evening, but when there is this much alcohol, the bottle never gets finished. It seems a waste.

At 4:43 PM, Anonymous Keith Prothero said...

Kinley----do not know why you cannot drink the bottle,if the wine is well balanced as this obviously is.
Just ensure you drink plenty of water before and after the wine, and you will not get a hangover. I have been drinking and enjoying high alcohol wine,for years and have a very healthy liver!!

At 9:53 AM, Blogger Jamie said...

Grazza, you're right - no Armagh made this year. Reckon this is pretty good stuff, though.

Keith, it will probably age - I enjoyed it now - didn't decant it, but drank half one night and half the next.

Kinley Smith, it didn't seem that alcoholic. Only noticed how high it was after I drank it.

At 7:55 AM, Anonymous Keith Prothero said...

Well I have ordered a case but cheapest I can find is 18 a bottle.---from Noel Young.Still, if it is as good as you advise it will be worth it!!

At 5:13 PM, Anonymous Kinley Smith said...

It's not the taste of the alcohol, it's the effect. 12.5% is optimal for drinking a half bottle of an evening.

N.B. 15.50 a bottle here

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