The Cycle Buff Beauty Shiraz Malbec 2013 is 90% Shiraz, sourced from 2 vineyards in McLaren Vale and 1 in Clare Valley and 10% Malbec sourced from a single vineyard in Clare Valley, both a part of the South Australia growing region. Shiraz (Shiraz and Syrah are two different names for the same grape) and Malbec are a non-traditional wine blend. Malbec is one of the 5 approved Bordeaux Red grapes and Syrah is one the main grapes of France’s Rhone Valley and the grapes of the 2 regions are not typically combined (there is no reason why you can’t combine the 2, it is just not something that many wine regions traditionally do). This wine was aged in French oak barrique barrels for 10 months, 20% new oak. Oak barrels are not all the same size and shape, a barrique refers to the type of barrel used in Bordeaux, it is a little smaller than the usual oak barrel and holds around 60 gallons. The alcohol content is a healthy 14.5%.
The color is a rich dark cherry red with an almost clear halo. The nose is nicely balanced, dark berries, Dove chocolate, cherry, baking spices and French vanilla.This Shiraz may have a 1960s biker movie label, but the wine inside the bottle is elegant and well-balanced. It tastes of blackberry (ripe and juicy, but not over extracted), vanilla, licorice and blueberry. The mid-palate shows soft pepper spice, raspberry, faint cold coffee and cassis. The tannins are definitely there, but they don’t bite and the acidity is abundant enough to give this Shiraz Malbec some excellent length. The finish is full and lengthy.
The front and back label of the Cycle Buff Beauty Shiraz Malbec 2013 does not take itself seriously, it reminds me of the perfect wine to watch a Tarantino movie, but the wine inside the bottle is a very serious effort. Fruit forward, without being overly ripe, with firm structure, without being too formal and boring. 15 years ago Australian Shiraz was the first wine that caught my interest, the best of them were wild mad dog wines that walked a tightrope between too much and just right. The Cycle Buff Beauty reminds me of those wines, but more grown-up and self-assured, with just enough of the wild and crazy to keep things fun and interesting.