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Evans Wine Company Nine Stones McLaren Vale Shiraz 2009
Named for its founder Len Evans who emigrated to Australia in 1953 and has been a tireless owner, innovator, and promoter of Australian wines. Evans has had his hand in many Australian wineries including Rothbury Estate and Petaluma. Evans Wine Company was founded in 1980 and specializes in wines from the Hunter Valley for the Evans Family Wines label.
Hilltops is in the South-Western Slopes of the Great Dividing Range, situated around the rural towns of Young and Harden in Southern New South Wales. It is about four hours drive south of Sydney and about one and a half hours from Canberra the national capital. An historically important part of Australia, it has an established reputation as a producer of high quality stone fruit. The vineyards are mostly to the South East of Young, which is known as "The Cherry Capital of Australia" and there are about 1,000 acres under vine in the area. The region sits on a large granite rock, which over millions of years has weathered to produce deep topsoil, red coloured as it has mixed with ironstone sand blown in from the Red Centre of Australia.
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.