For Shiraz, the South Pack is really heading in the North direction to Heathcote (Syrahmi) and the Yarra Valley (Jamsheed and Luke Lambert). Quite marked differences in geography between both regions result in very distinctive styles of shiraz. A straight up comparison between the wines of Gary Mills and Luke Lambert is an eye-opener in itself. Whilst these wines are priced higher, I’d strongly recommend seeking out these collectible wines which for a good vintage (such as 2010) can be easily cellared for the next 10 years and might prove to be interesting drinking beyond that.
Bracket #4: 2008 Shiraz/Syrah
Jamsheed Silvan Shiraz 2008
These vines reside on a late ripening patch in the lower part of the Upper Yarra Valley. South-facing, the soil here is rich and comprised mainly of red clay so there is relatively low cropping. Typical for Gary Mills, this is 100% whole bunch of course, with an extended 65 days on skins. Aged for 7 months in old oak barrels, only 180 cases produced. The wine is of intense ruby purple colour. Notes of blackcurrants, anise, green peppercorns and greetn stalk cuttings. Medium+ bodied, there is a moderate level of sappy tannins, and at 14.5% alc, the high level of acidity is necessary for freshness. Dark savoury berry fruit dominate the palate, good fruit weight and overall balance. A lovely finish, with a trace of olive salinity. Drink now – 2017. 91/100.
Syrahmi Maelstrom Shiraz 2008
The year that Adam Foster stopped using Viognier, this marks a wine distinctly different from his previous attempts which I can’t admit to liking. The Maelstrom describes the 2008 working conditions for Adam, and the wine is of an intense ruby colour with a big youthful and perfumed nose of salt rock, fermented yellow beans, clove, violet florals, blackberries and cigarette tobacco. It was a silky texture, with young grainy tannins and fleshy acidity. Rich flavours of plum and black berry fruit which linger on the well-rounded finish. Lovely and balanced. Drink now 0219. 92/100.
Luke Lambert Syrah 2008
Sited at St Andrews in the North-Western end of the Yarra Valley. For Luke, before the 2012 vintage came into existence, this was his favourite baby. There is a hint of brett, which will put off some, but is consistent with Luke’s admiration of the rustic nature of Clape Cornas wines. If you manage to per past that curtain, you can make out some lifted black pepper fragrance and dark berry fruit. Palate-wise, it is medium+ bodied, has nicely weighted berry and red currant fruit, and appears balanced by sufficient acidity. Only 12.8% alc. I would personally pick some of Luke’s other efforts. Drink now – 2017. 89/100.
Bracket #5: 2010 Shiraz/Syrah
Jamsheed Silvan Shiraz 2010
A wonderful nose to this wine with blackcurrants, dried jasmine tea and a pinch of lemongrass. Smooth velvety texture with ripe acidity and powdery tannins. Rich fleshy fruit flavours of black plum, dark cocao, black peppercorns and anise. Plump long finish. Needs a couple more years to settle further before it really shines. Drink 2015 – 2022+. 92+/100.
Syrahmi Siren Shiraz 2010
This yet-to-be released wine (will be upon Adam’s whim) is from the Greenstone vineyard in Heathcote. Adam picked the name because he described the vineyard as singing to him across the vintage and that it was almost as if the wine made itself (after effects of the ball speaking through here perhaps?). A baby of a wine, youthful sweet aromas of strawberry and black raspberry candy, dense and still being swirled. Youthful tannins, still rather raw but diffusing out. Fleshy acidity with red berry and plum tart fruit. Long finish. An interesting wine which I look forward to trying when it gets released. Drink 2015 – 2022+. 92+/100.
Luke Lambert Syrah 2010
After the previous two, this wine appear somewhat suppressed. Intense ruby colour, an unusually primary nose of restrained petal aromatics, blackcurrants and red berries. A slight hint of talc, rather pretty. Medium+ bodied wine with med+ level of tannins. There is plenty of acidity, with lifts the pure fruit flavours of red berries and pomegranate. This wine is easy to enjoy. Drink now – 2019. 92/100.