Thursday, October 27, 2016

Elderton Command Shiraz Single Vineyard Shiraz

Elderton Command Shiraz Single Vineyard Shiraz (Syrah) 2002 to celebrate Cubs in the World Series

For game one of the World Series featuring my beloved Cubs, I pulled from the cellar a special premium bottle to celebrate the occasion - Elderton Command. Linda prepared grilled steak and loaded baked potatoes for pre-game dinner. As is typical, we consumed about a third of the bottle for dinner and retained the rest for the following night. Coming across as bolder and more forward, we enjoyed it the second night to celebrate the Cub's win in game two. About a 1/4 remains to taste tonight, or perhaps I'll wait till tomorrow to toast game 3, the first World Series game at Wrigley Field in my lifetime.

This is a single vineyard designated bottling from one of the top Shiraz producers in Australia which was first released in 1984. Twice in recent years, Elderton wines have been named in Top 100 Wines in the World by Wine Spectator. Sourced from vines planted in the early 1900’s, Elderton Command Shiraz has a reputation as one of Australia’s best and most sought after shiraz. Previous vintages have won awards from around the world including the World’s Best Shiraz Trophy, International Wine & Spirits Competition in 2000. The wine consistently gets high ratings from wine critics Robert Parker & Wine Spectator. Like many storied labels, this one needs time to reveal its true character and full potential.

I remember tasting this wine back on release at a restaurant and it was closed and tight with the bold concentrated fruits bottled up. (I was surprised to find this premium shiraz on the winelist at Biaggi's restaurant in Champaign, Ill. I couldn't resist at $80 which while expensive, is a wine list bargain at slightly more than retail price.) I recall tasting it again when it was about five years old and it was big and powerful, but still a bit closed and tight, almost obtuse.

Like my last previous tasting back in 2006 when I wrote "this wine was more approachable than the first time we tried it - but it still needs some time to meld and reveal its complex fruit". Well nine years later, it is smoother and more polished and is certainly approachable with its delicious melange of black and blue fruits. Reiterating my initial tasting note when I wrote this was "huge, powerful, dense, richly complex, dark", tonight it was big, dense, rich and complex, but now is a bit smoother and approachable with full forward fruits of ripe plum, blueberry, candied cherry, and black raspberry fruits with tones of camphor, black pepper, hints of anise and dark chocolate punched by firm intense tannins on a long finish.

This was perfect with the grilled steak and potato, and cheese and chocolates after dinner.

RM 93 points. This label got 95 points from James Halliday and Robert Parker and  93 points from Wine Spectator.