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Ch. Reynella Shiraz 2002
- Wine Spectator
Stephen Pannell, the winemaker in charge of red wines at Chateau Reynella, has reverted to the traditional methods to produce his reds - restored open fermenters that allow maximum control over small batches of individual vineyard fruit. Following fermentation, rejuvenated basket presses delicately extract the wine from the skins without breaking the grape seeds and over-extracting the harsh tannins from the skins. The result is a classic McLaren Vale red wine with loads of rich fruit and soft delicate tannins.
The Reynell name goes back to the very beginning of the wine industry in South Australia, when John Reynell planted some of the first vines in the infant colony in the area which was later to bear his name. This pioneer of the grape was born in 1809 of a Devonshire farming family.
Shortly after his arrival in 1838 John Reynell established his property, situated 20 kilometres south of Adelaide and 5 kilometres east of St. Vincent's Gulf - the gateway to the McLaren Vale wine region.
The Reynell family were actually the first to grow grapes commercially for winemaking in South Australia. Their first vintage was in 1842.
Tragically, the heirs to the Reynell business were killed in World War 2 and in 1953 the Reynell family relinquished its controlling interest in the company and Colin Haselgrove, the winemaker, was appointed managing director.
In 1970 Walter Reynell and Sons Limited was sold to Hungerford Hill Limited. In 1972 Hungerford Hill sold a half share of its wine interest to Rothmans of Pall Mall.
Towards the end of 1976 Rothmans took complete control of the company after the joint venture was dissolved.
In 1982 however, the old established SA family winemakers, Thomas Hardy and Sons Pty Limited bought Walter Reynell and Sons from Rothmans, with the aim of making the Reynella premises the corporate headquarters for their group of companies.
Known for opulent red wines with intense power and concentration, McLaren Vale is home to perhaps the most “classic” style of Australian Shiraz. Vinified on its own or in Rhône blends with Grenache and Mourvèdre, these hot-climate wines are deeply colored and high in extract and alcohol with signature hints of dark chocolate and licorice. Cabernet Sauvignon is also produced in a similar style. Whites, often made from Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc tend to be opulent and full of tropical, stone and citrus fruit.
Marked by unmistakable aromatics, a savory palate, and an elegant texture, Syrah is capable of producing fascinatingly complex and long-lived wines with a stunning purple hue. Native to the Northern Rhône, Syrah’s best examples are found in Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie. It is also an important component of the GSM blends of the Southern Rhône and beyond, alongside Grenache and Mourvèdre. Both varietal Syrah and GSM blends are common in Australia and California and are gaining popularity in Washington State. In Australia, Syrah is known by the synonym Shiraz, which tends to indicate a bolder, fruit-driven style of wine, and is occasionally blended with Cabernet Sauvignon for added depth and structure.
In the Glass
At its best, Syrah shows aromas and flavors of purple fruits, fragrant violets, baking spice, white pepper, smoke, and even bacon fat. Many examples from California aim to recreate this savory style, while others focus more on concentrated fruit flavors. In Australia, under the name Shiraz, it shines as that country’s unofficial signature red grape, producing deep, dark, intense, and often jammy reds.
Cool-climate Syrah, with its peppery spices, is a natural match with flavorful Moroccan-spiced lamb dishes, where the spice is more about flavor than heat. With Australian Shiraz, grown in warmer regions, heavy meat dishes with abundant protein and fat are a necessity to match the intensity of the wine.
Due to the success of Australian “Shiraz,” this synonym for Syrah has been adopted by winemakers throughout the world. If the label says “Shiraz,” you can typically expect a plush, fruity, and potent wine made in the Australian style. New World "Syrah" will generally more closely resemble the French style.