The Guild of Fermentation Fanatics Coonawarra Shiraz 2016

The Guild of Fermentation Fanatics Coonawarra Shiraz 2016 is a $8.99 ALDI import wine sourced from the Coonawarra region of the Limestone Coast district in southern central South Australia. The Guild of Fermentation Fanatics are the winemakers for Kingston Wine Estates of Australia who banded together to produce their own wine brand. This Shiraz (Shiraz and Syrah are the same thing) seems to be exclusive to ALDI in the United States, but available on its own in different countries. Coonawarra’s vineyards are located within 40 miles of the coast and has a climate very well suited for Cabernet Sauvignon and because this is Australia, Shiraz, too. The notes on the bottle label says they only used enough oak seasoning to add some structure and this is a wine that is meant to be enjoyed young. The alcohol content is a moderate, especially when compared to the Aussie Shiraz of 6 or 7 years ago, 13.5%.

The color is a blackberry jam with strawberry highlights. The nose is bright and slightly candied, blackberry, blueberry, licorice, cherry hard candy, menthol, a touch of molasses, and cinnamon. This is well-balanced Shiraz with rich fruit flavors. It tastes of ripe blackberry, licorice, lots of licorice, sweet black cherry, dark chocolate, and light spice. The mid-palate brings tart blueberry, orange zest, and vanilla. The tannins are very smooth and the acidity is balanced by the body of the wine. The finish is full and stays around for a while.

In the past, inexpensive Australian Shiraz were hoot, over-the-top, full of ripe fruit, spice, alcohol, I loved them, they were loads of fun. But The Guild of Fermentation Fanatics Coonawarra Shiraz 2016 is something different, it’s sleek, almost elegant and refined. Yes, it’s a young and “drink it now”, but it tastes like more expensive wine. For many sub-10 buck Red wines it’s pop the top and drink (here it’s twist and drink, there is a screw cap), but the The Guild of Fermentation Fanatics Coonawarra Shiraz 2016 deserves to opened hours early, maybe even decanted. This is a cheap Shiraz with subtlety of flavor and solid structure. ALDI also has the Cabernet Sauvignon and after researching Coonawarra wine I am interested in seeing what that one is about.

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Don’t tell anyone, but there is absolutely no correlation between the cost of wine and the quality of wine.