Shiraz｜Yarra Valley, Australia
Australia is the sixth largest wine producer in the world behind Argentina and the U.S. – a great majority of that is mass-produced "critter" label plonk that finds itself in big-box grocery stores or exported to Asia. Look hard enough, however, and you'll find producers like Ben Haines, crafting under-the-radar gems like this Shiraz from the Yarra Valley.
From dry farmed old vines, this is classic Aussie Shiraz through-and-through: spicy blue fruit, baking spice, and black olive. The nose is exotically floral, with violets, herbs, and a wild forest-y note. It's bolstered by bright acid and savory mineral edge, which comes at no surprise considering its modest 13.5% abv – a rare feat.
He ferments the wine in old, open top French barrels where it ages for nine months before bottling. Of course, his processes are all natural and hands-off yet the wine is clean and pristine, ripe yet balanced, just a delicious glass of plush, herbal, spicy Shiraz, especially for it's modest price point. Haines sums it up thusly: " a hedonistic time capsule that can be revisited, shared, pondered and enjoyed at any time with food and friends."
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