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Flat front label of wine

Chapoutier and Laughton Cluster M45 Shiraz 2009

Syrah/Shiraz from Australia
  • WS94
  • RP93
14.5% ABV
  • RP96
  • WS93
  • RP96
  • WE91
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14.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

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.

Critical Acclaim

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WS 94
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.
RP 93
Robert Parker's 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.
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Chapoutier and Laughton

Chapoutier and Laughton

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Chapoutier and Laughton, Australia
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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.

Australia

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A large, climatically diverse country producing just about every wine style imaginable, Australia is not just a source of blockbuster Shiraz or inexpensive wine with cute labels, though both can certainly be found here. Australia has a grand winemaking history and some of the oldest vines on the planet, along with a huge range of landscapes and climates; it is impossible to make generalizations about Australian wine. Most regions are concentrated in the south of the country with those inland experiencing warm, dry weather, and those in more coastal areas receiving humid and tropical, or maritime weather patterns. Australia has for several decades been at the forefront of winemaking technology and has widely adopted the use of screwcaps, even for some premium and ultra-premium bottles.

Shiraz is indeed Australia’s most celebrated and widely planted variety, typically producing bold, supple reds with sweet, jammy fruit and performing best in the Barossa and Hunter Valleys. Cabernet Sauvignon is often blended with Shiraz, and also shines on its own particularly in Coonawarra and Margaret River. Grenache and Mourvèdre (often locally referred to as Mataro) are also popular, both on their own and alongside Shiraz in Rhône blends. Chardonnay is common throughout the country and made in a wide range of styles. Sauvignon Blanc has recently surged in popularity to compete with New Zealand’s distinctive version, and Semillon is often utilized as its blending partner, or in the Hunter Valley, on its own to make complex, age-worthy whites. Riesling thrives in the cool-climate Clare and Eden Valleys. Sticky-sweet fortified wine Rutherglen Muscat is a beloved regional specialty of Victoria. Thanks to the country’s relatively agreeable climate throughout and the openness of its people, experimentation is common and ongoing, and there are a vast array of intriguing varieties to be found.

Syrah/Shiraz

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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.

Perfect Pairings

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.

Sommelier Secret

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.

OBCPLEIADE_2009 Item# 129989