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Saturday, 4 December 2010

Brewery Hill Reserve Shiraz, 2008 South Australia‏ - Naked Wines

Part way through my case of Naked Wines, I am beginning to get a feel for their "house style". All bar one of the wines I have tried so far have been exclusive to Naked Wines with their innovative, if not unique method of funding growers directly via their Angels scheme. The wines have been classy and well-made, balanced and enjoyable now but with aging potential.

This South Australian Shiraz is much more up-front than the others I have tried so far; the nose reeks of ripe blackcurrant with hints of liquorice and pencil shavings whilst on the palate, there's lots of ripe, juicy fruit but with a degree of restraint and complexity that I have found to be lacking in the antipodean wines of a certain other ubiquitous internet wine retailer I could mention.

There's also stewed plums and prunes, a soft-yet-mouthfilling texture and good length. Perfect for when Cambridge is in the grip of an early frost - some warming red sunshine in a glass !

Warming, rich and with some initial complex fruit sweetness (but dry on the finish), this would match well with full-flavoured aged hams, such as iberico or parma, salami and sun-dried tomatoes or slow-roast chicken with roasted root vegetables.

I sampled this over a couple of days and with a bit more air, the overt fruit gives way to more sophisticated flavours of plums, prunes and pencil shavings suggesting that it will benefit greatly from some aging.

A quick review of the comments on this wine on the Naked Wines website suggest people felt this was a little sweet, needs further aging and, at its full list price before the Angels' discount, is a little steep. Perhaps all three comments are inter-related and with some more time in bottle, a greater degree of sophistication will show through and justify the price tag.

Producer Jock Harvey runs Chalk Hill Wines, a family-owned winery farming some of the oldest vines in Oz, first planted in 1897 and based in South Australia, a broad-ranging (and Australia's largest) region with a variety of climates and wine styles. This wine is a blend of Chalk Hills' best barrels from 2008, so is all about expression grape variety rather than terroir.

Jock grew up living on various farms that produced wine grapes before studying viticulture and wine. His no-nonsense philosophy is:

•Make wine people want to drink, not spit
•Keep the varietal character of each wine by not adding to much wood
•Use every vintage to better the following one
•Use the best grapes possible
•Remember to enjoy it and not work/worry all day

£11.99 / £7.99 for Angels - provided for review.


Naked Wines - http://www.nakedwines.com/


  1. I think the non-reserve Brewery Hill Shiraz provides probably the best value for money I have ever had. At £8.99/£5.99 for Angels it is extraordinary value.

  2. Thanks jquinn67 - haven't tried the non-reserve yet, but will look out for it.

    All the best, Tom