The 2010 Lucky Country McLaren Vale Shiraz is sourced from vineyards in McLaren Vale and Barossa Valley, Australia. It says McLaren Vale as its point of origin on the front label (in Australia 85% of the grapes must be sourced from one region to be identified as being from that growing area) but the winemakers made a point of adding Barossa Valley to the mix. This wine is a project by Michael Twelftree, who is also responsible for the Two Hands line of Australian wines. The grapes from each individual vineyard or section of vineyard were fermented separately and aged (14 months) in French and American oak barrels, again separately, then blended together just before bottling. This is an unfiltered wine, that keeps all the possible flavors with the wine, but you may find some grape residue in your glass. The alcohol content is a reasonable by Australian Shiraz standards 14.5%.
The color is serious purple. The nose is black and blueberries, French vanilla, a hint of bacon frying on the griddle and Nestle Quik powder. This is a big Shiraz, but with balance, definitely not a fruit bomb. It starts of with rich dark berries, Sambuca, milk chocolate, with a bite of Altoids spice. The mid palate adds plum with a light touch of cream and a chewy, slightly earthy flavor, you will be smacking your lips. The tannins are firm and balanced and there is a proper dose of acidity, that does not show itself until the finish and allows the finish to be impressively long and strong.
It time to start looking to Australia for killer inexpensive wine again. The Lucky Country Shiraz ($10.99 at Trader Joe’s though not a Trader Joe’s exclusive the wine is available on line for $9 as a low and a high of $20) is an extremely good quality Shiraz/Syrah. The bottom fell out of the Australian wine market in the last 2 or 3 years, Australian wine went from flavor of the month to yesterdays news almost overnight and for reasons that didn’t have too much to do with the quality of the wines. As a result, there are all sorts of top notch grapes available at historically low prices. If you put experienced talented winemakers together with excellent but inexpensive grapes, you are going to get bargains galore. Many wine drinkers look to South America for excellent quality well priced wines (for very good reason), but as of right now, conditions have vaulted Australia ahead of South America when it come to value. Australia rocks the Shiraz/Syrah thing, but they learned not to put all their eggs in one basket, so they have the full complement of wines available. So face it, you were getting tired of Malbec, so you may as well grab a Shiraz once in a while, the folks at your patio party will thank you.