Back in the day when this De Bortoli Reserve Syrah was made, De Bortoli had a wealth of talent. William Downie was making the Pinot Noir here, Paul Bridgeman was making the Shiraz. There were a handful of other legends there too. As was the case in the swinging 00s a group of us were whisked up to the Yarra in a limo and spent the day tasting, talking, learning eating and drinking. One of the wines we got to taste from barrel was a 100% whole bunch Syrah that Paul was working on, it was under the title ‘The Clap”. A reference to Auguste Clape from the Cornas in the Rhone Valley. The wine was so good. that a little while later Paul dropped of a bottle of this work in progress. Eventually, the wine didn’t get the green light and what was one puncheon became a component in this De Bortoli Reserve Syrah. Every time I drink this wine I think about the boozy day I spent hanging out with people who are now legends of the wine industry. And a little bit about how good ‘The Clap’ could have been.
There is a lot going on here. It is clean, bright, and the screwcap has kept in the freshness. Pepper, dark fruits, there is some of the stemmy/herbal characters there. The palate is silky at the core with some fine tannins around the edges. The acid tucks in underneath all the other parts. But the acid works hard to keep this wine thrilling your palate. There was some new oak used
A region that is just too big to generalise about. The difference between Upper and Lower Yarra can be the ability to ripen some grapes or not. Great wines are made in the Yarra but it is best to know the producers.
A bit of a chameleon, Shiraz can change how it looks depending on terroir and/or winemaker influence. The Syrah-based wines of Northern Rhone are dry and austere while the Shiraz of Barossa is rich and fleshy. A variety that lends itself to long aging but can be drunk at any time of its evolution.