Shiraz big guns and Co, featuring Standish Lamella 2017

A lineup of shiraz I wanted to present to our little wine club in last autumn, but then the Covid situation got worse again and prevented the event from happening. It was only this June when I managed to gather my friends again, and despite some disappointing bottles, we could finally enjoy some good, even some world class wines.

Losonci Syrah 2018, Mátra, Hungary

This could be from the Northern Rhone, except that it’s a low tannin, delicate wine. But the aromatics… black pepper, savoriness, Old World, just lovely. Integrated oak, hardly medium body, harmony. Charming, and so easy to drink. One of the very best Hungarian syrah I tasted in recent years. 89 points (sold out)


Cline Sonoma Coast Syrah 2017, California, USA

Nothing candy-like here, but it’s New World for sure. Warm climate ripeness, it’s dark and a bit raisiny. Big, broad on the palate, with soft acidity and a creamy texture, but it’s not sweet or cloying at all, and has a real backbone of firm, chewy tannins. A generous, bit rustic, but very good wine. 89 points


Váli Syrah 2016, Balaton, Hungary

Well kept bottle, but it’s over the hill already. –


Vinden Estate Headcase Single Barrel Shiraz #3 2018, Hunter Valley, Australia

My wine of the night. Stunning, exceptional. Modern, precise, oaky and fruit packed, but in a good way, there’s nothing artificial about it. Not the earthy Hunter Shiraz you would expect, and neither like most Aussie Shiraz. Ripe yet crunchy black cherries, a bit of rum and marzipan oak. Generous and has great depth, yet it feels unforced. Loaded with flavor, juicy and supple and driven by great acidity and real, beautiful tannins. A dream wine. 95 points (stockist: The Vinorium)


Fram Shiraz 2017, Swartland, South Africa

It looks like a whole bunch experiment that went really wrong. Extremely weedy, distracting. 70 points


Kreinbacher 2015, Somló, Hungary

Quite possibly the most expensive Hungarian syrah at 40 Euros. Cork in perfect shape. Acetaldehyde nose, sharp taste. I’m afraid it’s not a single bottle issue, others reported similar issues about this wine. 60 points (stockist: Bortarsasag)


Josh Cooper Wines The Springs Syrah 2017, Victoria, Australia

This is a crime. Pickled cucumber and other veggies, a thin and very sharp palate. Sick, disgusting. 55 points (stockist: The Vinorium)


Takler Syrah Reserve 2017, Szekszárd, Hungary

Big, ripe, oaky, Shiraz style. Hedonistic but it has varietal character and I won’t deny the appeal of that richness. Smoked ham, dark berries, grapefruit, cinnamon and lots of oak mark the nose. So dense and concentrated. Creamy, soft texture, it tries to seduce you with its generosity. A bit hot on the finish. Not my cup of tea, but very good. 89 points (stockist: Bortarsasag)


Standish Lamella Shiraz 2017, Eden Valley, Australia

Grandiose. Big, dark and ripe but it’s all about purity. Honest and unforced, not oaky at all. Mint and lots of spicy notes. Feels like silk on the palate, so smooth and definitely salty (I literally mean salt, not an uncommon feature in Barossa reds). Well structured with great firm tannins. A top notch, new wave Aussie Shiraz, although it can’t hide the high alcohol, the heat masks the aftertaste. With better balance it would be a superstar. 94 points (stockist: The Vinorium)


Rall Ava 2018, Swartland, South Africa

Vinous, Old World-like. Restrained, savoury and has lovely, natural acidity. Not overripe but shows its warm climate origin as dark, ripe berries. I love that it tastes like real red wine, unforced, not manipulated, and it’s also a serious, complex one, but on the other it’s a bit too earthy, lacks some varietal character and it’s overtly tannic, raw, somewhat unbalanced, the type that you can only drink with some heavy meal. I think the 2017 was a better wine. 91 points (stockist: Taste-of-Africa)


Greenock Creek Seven Acre 2014, Barossa Valley, Australia

Maturing beautifully. Showcases what I like in Greenock Creek wines, this charming Old World character – tar and Mediterranean herbs, it smells like a Tuscan red rather than anything Aussie. So distinct and really complex. Time has soften its edges, it’s now smooth and seamless, with nice acidity and without any alcoholic heat. It’s definitely salty, not just a bit. A long aftertaste. A noble, great wine in great form, it’s worth opening now. 93 points (stockist: The Vinorium, NM Weine)