Que Syrah, Shiraz and Shiraz

A trio of Syrahs crossed by table this fall (9/22/2010), providing me with the opportunity to explore the similarities and differences among wines from Australia and South Africa.

90+ Cellars Lot 4: Shiraz Viognier 2007, McLaren Vale, Australia, $17.00
92% Shiraz, 8% Viogner; Co-fermented and aged for 14 months in new French oak.
Co-fermented as is done with Côte-Rôtie, this wine displayed aromas of medium+ intensity that included blueberry black cherry, oak, earth and dried herbs. Of the three wines, it had the deepest nose. On the palate, it was full-bodied with medium+/high tannins, medium acidity and flavors of blackberry, cherry, oak, earth and spice, culminating in medium+ length. Overall, the wine showed good fruit concentration along with complexity and elegance.

Rudi Schultz Syrah 2007, Stellenbosch, South Africa, $30.00
100% Syrah; Aged for 20 months in French oak barrels (30% new; 70% second and third fill).
Winemaker and proprietor Rudi Schultz was prompted to go into winemaking after tasting great Northern Rhone wines. Thus, it is no surprise that his wines are crafted in a similar style. Notes of blackberry, earth, rubber, leafyness and meatiness were present on the nose, which was the most savory of the three wines. Another full-bodied wine with medium+ tannins, the palate showed blackberry, blueberry, leather, rubber and meatiness, all of which lingered in the wine’s long length. Overall, the wine was both powerful and aromatic.

Xavier Flouret Waroo Shiraz 2009. Pemberton – Western Australia, $18.00
100% Shiraz; Aged for 8 months in oak barrels (75% French, 25% American oak).
From the cooler area of Western Australia, this wine had blackcherry, vanilla, floral and dried/jammy fruit aromas. Similarly full-bodied to the others, this wine provided medium+ acidity and medium tannins on the palate. Its flavors included blackcherry, herbaceousness, leather, and a tart cherry note in the undercurrent. An earthiness remained throughout the wine’s long length. This wine  had the brightest acidity of the three, most likely due to its origins in a cooler climate.

This was an interesting exercise, showing the influence (and confluence) of grape variety, climate and production on the finished wine.