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  • James-Paul Marin / Enfant Terrible

Less is More When Making Shiraz

I don't often make strongly regional wines, as I tend to forgo regional and varietal character in order to make a wine that is more drinkable. Thus my 2016 McLaren Vale Shiraz is somewhat of an enigma for me.

In making my first McLaren Vale Shiraz under my Handcrafted Enfant Terrible label, I was looking to create a wine that would sit extremely well in a line-up of my favourite McLaren Vale Shiraz's; Scarpantoni Block 3 Shiraz, Kay Brothers Basket Pressed Shiraz and Mr Riggs Piebald Syrah.

Sourced from 3 distinct McLaren Vale sub region vineyards; Blewitt Springs, Seaview Heights and Tatachilla Road (The Golden Mile), this wine takes advantage of the depth of 'Terroir' to produce a regional Shiraz of utmost style and elegance.

I believe less is more when making Shiraz. By this I mean that Shiraz grows like a weed (in a positive way) in McLaren Vale. So if you get the site selection /vineyard selection correct, great Shiraz makes itself in the winery. The wine making is quite straight forward; the fruit is crushed and destemmed on average at 14 Be, fermented with EC118 yeast, pumped over twice a day for 5 days, pressed off skins via tank press and seasoned for 12 months in 1-2 year old French and American oak. The wine is racked and sulphured after an initial 6 months in oak. The three parcels of Shiraz (Blewitt Springs, Seaview Heights and Tatachilla Road) were blended together at the last moment prior to bottling on September 11th. In short, 101 winemaking!

This wine is dark crimson-purple and treads a fine line between being both elegant and bold. It shows the rich, dark fruits that McLaren Vale does so well, and lingers on the pallet making the result quite intriguing. With 8-12 months of bottle age, this wine will come into its own with its slightly higher acidity. This wine has the potential to cellar for 5-8 years. Patience will be rewarded!

Allow it to breath. A big, bold, young wine like this McLaren Vale Shiraz might taste a little ‘in your face’ when freshly opened or acidic and will generally benefit from 'airing' or allowing the wine to 'breath'. Do not let it air for longer than an hour, any longer and you will lose some of the aromatics. A little surprising, but a wine like this when young might taste better after a day of being open. Why not give it a try!

Lastly when pairing with food; the refined tannin structure and higher acidity gives it great length, balance and persistence in flavour to compliment hearty dishes, like my mum's slow cooked lamb roast.

Please share or leave your questions and comments below and follow me if you wish to keep up to date with my latest wine ramblings.

Enjoy the Unconventional, -JP

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