A Wirra Wirra Wine Winter
As the temperature drops, our intrepid wine writer and sommelier-about-town Tony Cox seeks the warm embrace of Wirra Wirra wines.
Another Noosa Food & Wine Festival has come and gone (definitely good for those who prefer a wet track) and a big thank you to all sponsors, exhibitors and visitors on our part of the planet who, without their passion, we couldn’t put on such a spectacular event.
Once the month of May is well underway and Noosa Food & Wine Festival is quite literally ‘under our belts’, I always look forward to a little red through the cooler months and pulling out some sticky braised dishes to ward off the winter chills. What better place to start a search for rich, warming red wines than in South Australia’s McLaren Vale wine region.
Delicious grenache, shiraz and cabernet being the key grape varietals from this region which is less than an hour’s drive from the centre of Adelaide and overlooks the ocean to the west. What better vineyard to savour than the glorious reds from Wirra Wirra which is celebrating 50 years in its current incarnation but has a history that stretches as far back as the 1890s.
Best known for its Church Block blend of cabernet, shiraz and merlot, Wirra Wirra has a full stable of eminently drinkable reds ranging from the Original Blend, grenache and shiraz, which as the name suggests was the original Church Block blend, right through to the top of the tree Chook Block, a stunning shiraz released only in years where the fruit quality is deemed good enough.
The last decade has seen a concerted programme towards sustainability with several of the Estate vineyards being biodynamically certified since 2013, a dedicated native tree planting programme watered with the winery’s recycle system and dramatic water saving practices implemented to reduce the winery’s footprint.
The 2017 Catapult Shiraz is grown in vineyards which are elevated providing a lighter-bodied, spicy, perfumed wine with bright acidity to close. Generally only found at Cellar Door, restaurants and a small selection of independent retail it is a beautiful wine with lamb shanks.
The next rung up the shiraz ladder is the 2016 Woodhenge Shiraz which is riper and fuller than the Catapult full of dark fruits, dark chocolate and fuller textured – one for those who prefer a classic McLaren Vale shiraz.
The 2016 RSW Shiraz is the pick of the Wirra Wirra shiraz wines that are produced each year. An amalgam of fleshy dark fruits, plum and chocolate are interwoven with fine tannins and French oak. There is also subtle spice appearing, evidence of parcels of fruit from vineyards at higher altitudes.
There is also a smattering of single vineyard shiraz that are not released every year with the Chook Block shiraz well worth trying should you discover it on a wine list.
With their commitment to sustainability being in motion for in excess of a decade now Wirra Wirra is well placed to play the role of custodians of their land for the next generation whilst also staying true to their focus of making exceptional wines. For a full range go to their website or better still, drop into their cellar door if in the region.
Cheers! and good drinking!