Friday, October 24, 2014

Favorite Aussie Shiraz - Flinders 2005 Aging Gracefully

Favorite Aussie Shiraz - Flinders 2005 Aging Gracefully

I raved about this wine when I discovered it several years ago and have featured it numerous times since in this blog. Like the recent experience where I discovered this wine downstate in a local wineshop, I then found and purchased more on-line. Then I convinced local mega-merchant Binny's to carry obtain some and we cleaned them out too. Happily, we still hold and continue to enjoy this big bold fruit filled Shiraz. Holding more than several bottles into their ninth year, one rightfully wonders how is it aging and how long will it last?

For a quiet causal evening at home, we opened an old favorite, Flinders Run Southern Flinders Ranges Shiraz 2005. Our Cellartracker inventory says we still hold about two cases of this vintage release, with a slightly lesser number of the '06 release remaining. I noted when we were opening this that it came on the scene with these two vintage releases and disappeared, not to be seen again. According to their website, it appears to still be in production, but its not to be found in distribution in Chicagoland, or in the on-line wine community.

Indeed, the Flinders Run website ( states, "We knew from the first trials of the 2001 and subsequent 2003 vintages that the Flinders Run wines were going to be something special, but nothing prepared us for the overwhelming success, we would experience with the release of the 2005 Vintage. Subsequent vintages have been crafted in the same careful manner exhibiting a consistency in flavour and style and most importantly capturing the elegance of region climate and above all varietal character."

Of course that 2005 vintage got a raving 95 point review from legendary wine critic Robert Parker. He wrote,"Purple/black in color, the wine exhibits a big, brooding bouquet of pain grille, pepper, Asian spices, blueberry, blackberry, and licorice. This leads to a full-bodied (15.2% alcohol), super-rich, plush wine with layers of spicy black fruit flavors, excellent balance, and a long, pure finish. For a wine of this size, it is remarkably light on its feet. Give it 2-3 years to more fully evolve and drink it through 2020. This is quite a debut for Flinders Run!"

I must admit, I do not recall knowing about this rating or having read his review. I did know he shared our love of big bold Aussie Shiraz's, even if we did think his enthusiasm was at times 'over the top' and even exceeded ours. That said, I am pleased to see his projected drinking window extending through 2020. That certainly seems to ring true with our experience tonight.

Flinders Run Southern Flinders Ranges Shiraz is the artwork of Emanuel Skorpos whose winemaking heritage goes back many generations to the Greek Island of Samos where his Grandfather Manoli Skorpos and his father attended to the olive grove and vineyard in the rugged mountainous region known as Morteri which they still farm to this day.

In 1991 Emanuel, after travelling to Samos to visit the Family Estate, set out to return to Australia to locate the perfect piece of land in which to establish the vineyard and olive grove in the Skorpos tradition. Emanual has been working in Viticulture/Horticulture  in the Riverland and Southern Flinders Ranges regions in South Australia since then. He worked with Ian Smith, Vineyard Manager and Vitticulturalist for Leasingham wines who identified the Southern Flinders Ranges as one of the best kept secrest in Australia’s wine industry. Emanuel manages the vineyards and olive grove and works closely with the Flinders Run winemaker to produce artisan boutique wines that emeplify the distinct  flavour and personality of the Southern Flinders Ranges. Emanuel’s wife, Laura manages the logistics and operations of winery business.

My recollection of these two vintages was that we liked the 2005 more than the 2006, being more approachable, more polished and balanced, while the '06 was bigger, more brooding and bold, but less polished or in no sense elegant. I selected the '05 tonight, dutifully to work off the older vintage, but also to test my recollection of it being my favored of the two, and to monitor its aging.

While more subdued than the bigger '06, it retains all the nuances and character it exhibited in its youth - nicely balanced, polished, and flavorful. While the fruit is not as big and bold as its follow on vintage, the '05 still holds full, dense, complex layers of blue and black berry fruits, accented by licorice, hints of black pepper, and tones of black tea and what Parker refers to as 'pain grillé' which is the French word for 'toast'.

RM 93 points. 

Our original plan was to grill a beef steak but after the spectacular starter course that Linda prepared, a grilled tuna tartare (above), we enjoyed the rest of the bottle with a selection of cheese and chocolates.