Taking a break from the wines of France for a moment, I’ve decided to feature a grape that actually began its cultivation there after being transplanted from Iran,  but arguably rose to fame through its association with another country- Australia. I’m talking about Shiraz, or Syrah as they call almost  it everywhere else. It’s the same grape, and it is probably my favorite of all. You’ll find all different types of Syrahs now across the planet, as California and Washington are developing unique terroir-driven examples, South America creates minerally examples, Australia ramps up the fruit, heat and spice, and France keeps doing what they do. In slight contrast to the typical Australian style, I ran across a bottle of Shiraz that is remarkably refined and balanced between fruit and mineral notes, and at an impressive price point for its quality. I’m pretty certain that in a blind tasting I would not guess that this wine is produced in Australia; while the fruit is present it isn’t as immediate, and is complimented by so many other nuances. This is probably the best value I’ve found this year.

Shoofly Shiraz South Australia 2010, 89 Points, $10, 5000 Cases Imported-  Deep and leathery on the nose with hints of pepper spice and mineral. Full and lush on the palate, brimming with dark plum, black cherry and licorice flavors that give way to a spicy, lightly minerally finish. Impressive for its depth and texture at this price point.

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