Waiting, Wanting, Hoping for More

As a break from work on Friday, a coworker and I went to one of the best wine stores in the DC.  It’s a little distracting to know that this place is within walking distance from my office, but I try to limit my trips to a Friday afternoon treat.  On this particular visit, my friend and I focused on the Australian wines, since I said that I was looking to do more exploration of the reds from down under.  As a fan of Elderton winery, an appreciation that was shared by the wine guy from the store, my friend recommended the 2005 Elderton Shiraz (winery, snooth).

As you may have guessed, before writing up each wine, I do a little research on the winery.  Sometimes I find information that that gives a better perspective on the wine or speaks to a particular interest.  Considering the feedback in “green” wines that I received after last week’s reviews of the Benziger Signaterra wines, I thought the environmentally-friendly practices at Elderton were worth mentioning.  When I bought the wine, I was unaware of their winemaking philosophy, but I was interested to learn that Elderton was the first South Australia winery to use the Trees for Life Carbon Neutral program.  The program’s certification ensures that Elderton examines their carbon footprint and offsets their emissions by planting trees.  According to the website, in 2007, Elderton planted more than 4,000 trees with this in mind.  Additionally, the winery is in the process of switching to biodynamic viticulture and expects to release their first biodynamic Shiraz this year.  While the move towards biodynamic and organic wine is clearly still in transition, if the philosophy is something that is important to you, Elderton’s wines may be something that you want to explore.

As for the 2005 Shiraz itself, it had a medium-to-deep purplish-ruby color that signaled the complexity of the wine.  On the nose, I was excited by everything I found.  The sweet black fruit aromas—black cherry, blackberry, blueberry—dominated, but didn’t overpower.  Beyond the fruits, I smelled sweet spices—mostly licorice, cloves, and some powdered cocoa.  Hiding behind all of those aromas, a light touch of vanilla and black pepper rounded out the wine.  In the mouth, I was a bit taken aback by how “hot” the wine was, which I admit made me feel that the alcohol was slightly out of balance with the flavors, the acidity, and the tannins.  The alcohol actually seemed to take away from the juiciness of the black fruits.  Those flavors, though, matched what I found on the nose and were followed by licorice, cloves, powered cocoa, and nutmeg flavors, which added a spicy, sweetness.  The intensity of the tannins matched the intensity of the flavors, so the tightening around my gums, combined with the full-body of the wine, added to the depth.  It was the alcohol level that didn’t work for me.

Was this worth a glass after work?  Sure.  To be honest, I feel like I should be more excited about this wine.  It was very complex, offering a wide range of aromas and flavors.  However, the high alcohol took away enough that it left me wanting more from it.  That said, at $30, the 2005 Elderton Shiraz is a wine that has a lot to offer from a winery that is trying to be eco-conscious.  The wine drinks ok on its own, but is better paired with food to help tone down the alcohol.  It was with food that the wine really showed its potential.    

Overall: 3 Corks


  1. Alleigh says

    Cam–thanks for popping by A Glass After Work and thank you even more for the comments.

    Winemaking is definitely an art, and you and the rest of the Ashmead family are doing some exciting things at Elderton. I look forward to seeing what the future holds for your wines.

    Hopefully, I will make it to Barossa in the not too distant future, in which case I wouldn’t miss the opportunity to visit!

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