Chapoutier and Laughton Cluster M45 Shiraz 2009
Syrah/Shiraz from Victoria, Australia
This Shiraz is grown in the Heathcote region, home of Jasper Hill. The tiny vineyard is planted with both Australian Shiraz clones, selected by Ron, and French Syrah clones, imported by Michel from cuttings from his Hermitage vineyard. The label depicts 'La Pleiade' (Seven Sisters), a small star cluster in the constellation of Taurus that can be viewed from both partners' home vineyards in Tain l'Hermitage and Heathcote.
Wine Spectator - "Supple, polished and open-textured, with a green olive note adding interest to the dark plum and tobacco notes at the core. The finish is expressive and impressively long, showing an appealing transparency."
The Wine Advocate - "The 2009 Cluster M45 presents a very deep purple-black color and aromas of ripe blackberries and crushed black currants over aromas of cloves, smoked bacon, Sichuan pepper and tar plus a whiff of dark chocolate. Full bodied with mouth-filling rich, ripe fruit, it has a good backbone of crisp acid, firm grainy tannins and a long pepper and smoked meat finish. Give it another 12-18 months to open and soften and drink it to 2020+. A joint venture between Michel Chapoutier from the Rhone and Ron Laughton of Jasper Hill in Heathcote, "Cluster M45" is the USA label for this wine, known as "La Pleiade" elsewhere. It is made from 100% Shiraz from a single vineyard near Jasper Hill's Georgia's Paddock, which is planted with a 50/50 mix of vines taken from Jasper Hill and Chapoutier vineyards."
International Wine Cellar - "Dark purple. Deeply pitched aromas of dark berry preserves, cherry-cola, vanilla and licorice. Velvety and seamless in texture, offering sappy blueberry and cherry flavors that coat and stain the palate. Extremely rich but not at all heavy (this weighs in at a relatively civilized 14.5% alcohol), with excellent finishing power and persistence."
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Chapoutier and Laughton Winery
A chance meeting in the mid-nineties sealed a certain fate for two great winemaking families of modern times – the Laughtons of Heathcote, Victoria, and the Chapoutiers of the Rhone Valley, France. Ron Laughton and Michel Chapoutier, both passionate winemakers with a belief in biodynamic farming and its potential to express pure terroir, found they shared a common vision: to create a pair of wines from far-reaching corners of the globe that would each express their distinct origins, yet remain allied through the philosophy of their creation. The Agly Brothers, as they have named themselves, Côtes du Roussillon (Carignan blend from 100 year old vines) and Cambrien Shiraz represent the labors of the Laughton and Chapoutier families in this endeavor.
This dynamic partnership also yielded a Shiraz vineyard in Central Victoria’s Heathcote region, the home of Jasper Hill. Planted in the spring of 1998, this tiny vineyard was established on virgin red Cambrian soils and planted with both Australian Shiraz clones, selected by Ron, and French Syrah clones, imported by Michel from cuttings off his famous Hermitage vineyard. The label depicts ‘La Pleiade’ (The Pleiades, Seven Sisters), a small, wispy star cluster in the constellation of Taurus that can be viewed by the naked eye from both partners’ home vineyards in Tain l’Hermitage and Heathcote. Revered in legends by ancient cultures of most civilisations, including the Gauls and Aboriginal Australians, the Greek mythology of the Pleiades is linked to the seven beautiful daughters of Atlas and Pleione and their pursuit by Orion. View all Chapoutier and Laughton Wines
From stickies to Pinot Noir, Victoria is varied in its wines. The southernmost state of Australia, Victoria is third in wine production, after South Australia and New South Wales. The state is home to Yarra Valley as well as other cool climate growing regions, and yet, it also houses the regions of Rutherglen & Glenrowan. These two areas are hot and dusty and famous for their sweet, fortified stickies.
Notable FactsLots of coastline gives Victoria a cool climate, appropriate for growing grapes like Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Many new regions are discovering their growing potential – especially with these grapes. Inland is a bit warmer, and some of the best fortified wines are made here,as well as some good shiraz. Victoria also makes the most Sparking Shiraz.
About AustraliaLike the United States, which is about the same size, Australia's winemaking regions are huddled into one or two pockets of the country. The state of South Australia, which produces about 60% of the country's wine, also has the most wineries and sub-regions, including McLaren Vale, Clare Valley, Coonawarra and Barossa Valley. New South Wales is home to the Hunter Valley, while the smaller, southern state of Victoria is best known for theYarra Valley. Head way west to the very large state of Western Australia and you'll find the tiny region of Margaret River at the southern tip.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.