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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 deep purple hue and savory aromatics, Syrah accounts for a good deal of some of the most intense, powerful and age-worthy reds in the world. Native to the Northern Rhône, Syrah still achieves some of its maximum potential here, especially from Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie.
Syrah also plays an important component in the canonical Southern Rhône blends based on Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre, adding color, depth, complexity and structure to the mix. Today these blends have become well-appreciated from key appellations of the New World, namely Australia, California and increasingly, with praise, from Washington.
In the Glass
Syrah typically shows aromas and flavors of purple fruits, fragrant violets, baking spice, white pepper and even bacon, smoke or black olive. In Australia, where it goes under the name Shiraz, it produces deep, dark, intense and often, jammy reds. While Northern Rhône examples are typically less fruity and more earthy, California appears increasingly capable of either style.
Flavorful Moroccan-spiced lamb, grilled meats, spareribs and hard, aged cheeses are perfect with Syrah. Blue cheeses are perfect with a dense and fruit-driven Australian Shiraz.
Due to the success of Australian “Shiraz,” winemakers throughout the world have adopted this synonym for Syrah when they have produced a plush and fruit forward wine made in the Australian style. As an aside, Australians are also fond of tempering their fruit-forward Shiraz by blending with Cabernet Sauvignon, which adds depth and structure.