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Hugh Hamilton The Rascal Shiraz 2007
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.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
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.
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.