Hugh Hamilton The Rascal Shiraz 2007
Syrah/Shiraz from McLaren Vale, Australia
Being McLaren Vale Shiraz, this wine oozes ripeness. However, being made from our own fruit, with each batch picked at optimum ripeness, it avoids jammy aromas; instead, it is reminiscent of plums, spices (including cardamom and nutmeg); and has beguiling notes of earth and dark olives. The subtle (predominantly French…) oak is present as hints of vanilla.
While some Rascals probably earned their reputation by taking a swing at you, this one won't try and knock you over. Yes, it is rich; but it is not a "blockbuster". Instead, it has great balance between sheer weight and serious structure. The nose is completely consistent with the palate, which has flavours of plums, spice and a touch of earth; it's generous yet fine, with gently gritty tannins and length from time in those lovely French oak barrels. One articulate rascal, it speaks of its origins and variety – without shouting at you.
It's a great wine to accompany any full flavoured fare like Prime rib, Scotch fillet, veal medallions & Osso Bucco, foie gras, BBQ and demiglace meats, vintage Cheddar, hazelnuts and dark chocolate.
Australian Wine Companion - "Quintessential McLaren Vale with a coat of dark chocolate around black fruit flavours leavened by fine, spicy tannins and quality French oak. Screwcap."
Wine Enthusiast - "Full bodied, creamy in texture and densely concentrated, this is a chunky, Shiraz imbued with ample flavor intensity. Jammy, lifted cherry fruit easily carries accents of espresso and chocolate all the way through the finish. The price is right for a wine of this quality. "
Hugh Hamilton Winery
Five generations of Hamilton winemakers and then there is Hugh. Every family has a black sheep and Hugh is it. Hugh does things his own way and is responsible for all the unusual grape varieties we have in the ground. He is also responsible for a lot of the nonsense that goes on around here and his sense of the ridiculous is known to go into full swing after dark whilst consuming generous amounts of his own product. The one thing that Hugh is serious about is what goes into the bottle and the fact that you are only as good as your last vintage, irrespective of how many years you have under your belt.
Hugh is the fifth generation of the family that planted the first vineyards at Glenelg in 1837, less than one year after European settlement in South Australia. As with all families one is a black sheep and Hugh Hamilton is it. You can expect therefore to enjoy the difference. The black sheep is the master of a most reprobate flock, with characters such as 'The Rascal' Shiraz, 'The Scallywag' Unwooded Chardonnay and 'The Villain' Cabernet Sauvignon – this is no ordinary line up. The wines are not ordinary either. There is a fascinating range of very individualistic wines that have great character. Have a look at the range in the "Flock of Wines" section of this web site. Hugh has a clear vision about the way he sees wines and he produces accordingly. He is a firm believer in the wine and food experience. Neither is magic. Both are great, especially in the company of good friends and lively conversation. His wines therefore are eminently drinkable and certainly very "more-ish"; (that means you'll always come back for the next glass!). These wines are not simple. They have such character and depth of flavour they can become a topic of dinner party conversation on their own. View all Hugh Hamilton Wines
About McLaren ValeView a map of McLaren Vale wineries
McLaren Vale is home to the oldest Australian vineyard, with grapes planted in 1838. It's a coastal area, the Indian Ocean bordering the west, which leads to a cooling factor that prevents the grapes from getting too hot. In all, the climate is a perfect one for the vines.
Notable FactsIn McLaren Vale, there are vines as far as the eye can see. As in other parts of Australia, Shiraz and Grenache are the top grapes of the region, with some Cabernet Sauvignon planted as well. While red rules, whites are able to hold their own here too. With the warm yet reasonable Mediterranean climate, white grapes like Chardonnay, Semillon and even some Sauvignon Blanc grow well. The wines are round and smooth and the producers in the regions are excellent.
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.