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Barossa Valley Garagistes revisited

Last summer (2003) I reported on an exciting group of Australian wines being imported by David Thomas of the Cellar Door in Hampshire, under the banner of DWT Wine Imports. I recently had the chance to re-taste some of these wines, many of which are now in a new vintage. For more details of these producers, I refer you to the earlier report on this site. Overall impressions: these really are interesting wines. For those of you looking for some real Aussie ‘terroir’ wines with plenty of personality and interest, this is the place to come.

In some ways it is quite nice to get to wines before the big critics – most notably, Robert Parker. I like to evaluate each wine on its merits, whether or not it comes with hype, high scores or a glowing reputation. I suspect there are some critics reluctant to go out on a limb and score a wine before they’ve seen what others think. I enjoy the challenge. I’d maintain on the basis of two tastings I’ve had so far, that you’ll be hearing a lot more of these four producers – Tin Shed, Spinifex, Massena and Schwartz – so my recommendation is to take advantage of the current access UK consumers enjoy to these wines before they become prohibitively expensive and impossible to find.

Tin Shed Wild Bunch Riesling 2003 Eden Valley
Intense limey nose is very fresh and expressive, leading to a hugely concentrated palate with vivid fruit character. Very youthful, but lots of promise. Very good/excellent 91/100

Tin Shed Melting Pot Shiraz 2002 Eden Valley
Amazing nose of ripe, pure berry and blackfruits: it’s extremely aromatic with a creamy richness. Lots of rich, almost over-the-top fruit on the palate showing good definition and a spicy, chocolatey finish. Very good/excellent 92/100

Tin Shed Three Vines Mourvèdre, Shiraz, Grenache 2002 Barossa
Rich, almost liqueur-like fruit on the nose, which is very ripe and full. Ripe, full creamy berry fruit on the palate which has a spicy edge. Bold, delicious and fruit driven. Very good/excellent 90/100

Tin Shed Single Wire Shiraz 2001 Barossa
Rich, intense spicy nose showing pure, full fruit. The bold palate is intensely spicy and quite structured. A big, full flavoured style but still in balance. Very good/excellent 91/100

Spinifex Indigene 2002 Barossa
Dark coloured. Taut, rich intense nose with spicy dark fruits dominating. The palate is very concentrated with lots of structure – firm spicy tannins are evident. This is an immense wine that’s still very youthful. The only potential problem might be that this is currently showing a tiny bit of heat. Very good/excellent 93/100

Spinifex Shiraz Viognier 2002 Barossa
Very deep colour. Smooth and quite perfumed. The palate is rich with ripe, pure fruit and some tannic structure. Lots of flavour here although it’s still youthful and may well develop. Very good/excellent 92/100

Spinifex Esprit 2002 Barossa
Beautiful pure ripe fruit on the nose, with nice savoury complexity. Lovely elegant structure on the palate with good balance between the rich fruit and savoury, spicy tannic structure. Delicious and quite serious. Very good/excellent 92/100

Massena 11th Hour Shiraz 2002
Inky black. There’s a slight hint of ginger on the spicy nose, which exhibits lots of intense fruit character. Good concentration on the palate with lovely rich, spicy-edged fruit. Very bold and ripe with smooth tannins. Too much alcohol, though? Very good/excellent 90/100

Massena The Moonlight Run 2001 Barossa
Taut, spicy, slightly herby nose with some savoury woody notes. The palate is richly fruited and has a lovely savoury spicy character. Nicely structured, this is a bold wine. Very good/excellent 92/100

Schwarz Wine Company Thiele Road Grenache 2002 Barossa
Savoury varietally true nose with some minerality to it. The palate shows rich savoury fruit with lovely texture and weight: not a blockbuster style but an authentic Grenache. Very good/excellent 91/100

Schwarz Wine Company Nitschke Block Shiraz 2001 Barossa
Adorable perfumed sweet berry and black fruit nose. The palate is bold and rich with lovely structure and great balance: an impressive wine. Very good/excellent 93/100

Contact details
The Cellar Door, No.9 Winchester Street, Overton, Hampshire, RG25 3HR
Tel: 01256 770 397 Fax: 01256 770 944
E-mail: info@thecellardoor.co.uk 
Website: www.thecellardoor.co.uk

Wines tasted Jan 20th 2004

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