Saturday, November 21, 2009

***+ $$ SlipStream Shiraz / Grenache, 2005, McLaren Vale, Australia - Wine Review and Rating

Find Slipstream Shiraz/Grenache at WineZap.

Original Review, December, 2007:

The Slipstream shiraz/grenache blend comes from the well-regarded McLaren Vale region of south Australia. This is a negociant label, meaning the grapes have been collected from unnamed vineyards, not attached to a single named estate. That has allowed a value-priced wine.

Slipstream Shiraz/Grenache for this vintage comprises 72% shiraz and 28% grenache. It was made by three well-known winemakers, Ben Riggs, Reid Bosward, and Stephen Pannell. It is finished at a robust 15% alcohol, consistent with the higher alcohol levels often seen in McLaren Vale or Barossa Valley shiraz wines from southern Australia.

In the glass, it is opaque deep purple, coating the glass as it swirls, with just a touch of red/burgundy. Aromas do spill from the glass, pouring out beefy, meaty ripe plum, a little touch of eucalyptus and rubber.

On the palate, you do find an immediate note of bright acids, which melts into more rounded licorice plum notes typical of the McLaren shiraz. Those who find some of the straight shiraz from this region too heavy may like the "lift" brought into this blend by the grenache. For me, it doesn't quite bring in the layer upon layer of flavor that I favor from McLaren Vale shiraz. Modest finish.
For me, I'd like to try it again with some age. Three stars of five.

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate liked this too, awarding 90 points and saying, "Sexy and flamboyant, the 2005 Shiraz/Grenache (72% and 28% respectively) was created by three winemakers – Ben Riggs, Reid Bosward, and Stephen Pannell. A fabulous value, it offers gorgeous notes of raspberries, licorice, garrigue, and sweet cherries. This elegant, medium-bodied wine exhibits loads of fruit, character, and personality. It should drink well for 5-6 years. Slipstream is... from importer Ben Hammerschlag... in McLaren Vale. This young, 35-year-old, who has done so much for Australian wine, expects to release wines under an estate name (the name of which I do not yet know)."

Updated Review, two years later, November, 2009:

In the glass:
Still opaque blood red/purple, no bricking colors apparent whatsoever.

On the nose: Still beefy and ripe, with rubber balloon overtones. This is a fragrance time-machine - virtually no change in the aromas over two years.

On the palate: Today, the first flavors are a deep, rich, sweet strawberry mid-palate, bringing a touch of age and lightly charred oak. The acids have cleared and moderated. A bit of lift still keeps the flavors buoyant

And the finish: Moderately long finish, yields to sweet strawberry fruit as it trails off.

In summary: Has improved slightly with age. I wouldn't store it any longer, though, as it seems fully formed. Three stars with a plus for its new-found balance, on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale. Good value.

Find Slipstream Shiraz/Grenache at WineZap.

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