Saturday, March 5, 2011

Vintage Progress @ Cowra

So far we have had 39 degree heat, humidity, cool nights, warm days, heavy showery rain, wind, what strange weather!  The last week has yielded milder weather with heavy dew some mornings and sunny skies during the day which is helping finish the ripening process.

The vines appear to be mostly holding up; there is the inevitable powdery mildew in the vineyard.  Some blocks, particularly the Cabernet crop are affected by botrytis as well.

It's shaping up as a year for the patient and clever (?) winemaker, but am confident the end result will be quite good.  Already some of the whites are coming along in tank, sparkling bases are getting there and looking forward to shiraz and tempranillos which are both looking good on the vine still.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Tyrrells Brokenback Shiraz 2009 Review

The Brokenback Range is the sandstone mountain range that runs along the southwestern fringe of the Hunter Valley, you can see it from Cessnock and Broke and pretty much all around the lower hunter.  Vineyards border the range, and according to Tyrrells, fruit is sourced from those vines for this little beauty.

Upon opening, it delivers a mild dose of pong which blows off quickly in the glass, followed by fruits of the forest (raspberries, boysenberries and blackberries) and upon airing, a touch of oak. On the palate it's medium bodied with good concentration of blackberry and dark plum fruit sitting aboard quiet vanillan oak, with the finish becoming distinctly sour cherry from good acidity.  Tannins are soft, rounded and unobtrusive.  Sulfur from bottling is evident, but no more then necessary.

This is an intriguing wine, at just 12.9% alcohol, it drinks well, with well judged acidity that sets it apart from many bigger Australian shiraz.   I see it as a worthy interpretation of Hunter red wine and as such have no hesitation in highly recommending it. There are no airs and graces, just good cheap drinking - and at just $13.99 from Irish Dan's, a 6 pack of these would not go astray in the cellar.

Food suggestion: Baked sweet spring lamb with rosemary and roasted garlic.