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Hugh Hamilton The Rascal Shiraz 2007

Syrah/Shiraz from McLaren Vale, Australia
  • JH92
  • WE90
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Winemaker Notes

Being McLaren Vale Shiraz, this wine oozes ripeness. However, being made from our own fruit, with each batch picked at optimum ripeness, it avoids jammy aromas; instead, it is reminiscent of plums, spices (including cardamom and nutmeg); and has beguiling notes of earth and dark olives. The subtle (predominantly French…) oak is present as hints of vanilla.

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 Acclaim

JH 92
Australian Wine Companion

Quintessential McLaren Vale with a coat of dark chocolate around black fruit flavours leavened by fine, spicy tannins and quality French oak. Screwcap.

WE 90
Wine Enthusiast

Full bodied, creamy in texture and densely concentrated, this is a chunky, Shiraz imbued with ample flavor intensity. Jammy, lifted cherry fruit easily carries accents of espresso and chocolate all the way through the finish. The price is right for a wine of this quality.

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Hugh Hamilton

Hugh Hamilton

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Hugh Hamilton, , Australia
Hugh Hamilton
Five generations of Hamilton winemakers and then there is Hugh. Every family has a black sheep and Hugh is it. Hugh does things his own way and is responsible for all the unusual grape varieties we have in the ground. He is also responsible for a lot of the nonsense that goes on around here and his sense of the ridiculous is known to go into full swing after dark whilst consuming generous amounts of his own product. The one thing that Hugh is serious about is what goes into the bottle and the fact that you are only as good as your last vintage, irrespective of how many years you have under your belt.

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.

Willamette Valley

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One of Pinot Noir’s most successful New World outposts, the Willamette Valley is the largest and most important AVA in Oregon. With a temperate climate moderated by Pacific Ocean influence, it is perfect for cool-climate viticulture—warm and dry summers allow for steady, even ripening, and frost is rarely a risk during spring and even winter. Mountain ranges bordering three sides of the valley, particularly the Chehalem Mountains, provide the option for higher-elevation, cooler vineyard sites. The three prominent soil types here create significant difference in wine styles between vineyards and sub-AVAs—the iron-rich, basalt-based Jory volcanic soils found commonly in the Dundee Hills are rich in clay and holds water well; the chalky, sedimentary soils of Ribbon Ridge, Yamhill-Carlton, and McMinnville encourage complex root systems as vines struggle to search for water and minerals; and the silty loess found in the Chehalem Mountains, somewhere in between the other two in texture, is fertile and well-draining but erodes easily, creating challenges for growers but necessitating careful vineyard management.

The celebrated Pinot Noir of the Willamette Valley typically offers supple red fruit, especially cranberry, without the powerful punch often packed by its California counterparts. Elegance is paramount here, and fruit flavors are balanced by forest floor, wild mushroom, and dried herbs—much more in line with Burgundian examples of the variety. Chardonnay too takes its inspiration from the French motherland, focusing on tart, crisp fruit and minerality, rarely relying upon heavy new oak. Pinot Gris here is fleshy and bright, and Riesling is dry, aromatic, and citrus-focused.

Chardonnay

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One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it’s grown and how it’s made. In Burgundy, Chardonnay produces some of the finest white wines in the world, typically tending towards minimal intervention in the winery and at its best resulting in remarkable longevity. This grape is popular throughout the world, but perhaps its second most important home is in California, where both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines enjoy great popularity. Oregon, Australia, South America, South Africa, and New Zealand are also significant producers of Chardonnay.

In the Glass

When planted on cool sites, Chardonnay’s flavors tend towards grapefruit, green apple, minerals, and white stone fruit, while warmer locations coax out richer, more tropical flavors of fig, melon, and pineapple. Oak can add notes of vanilla, coconut, and spice (as well as texture), while malolactic fermentation can impart soft, buttery acidity.

Perfect Pairings

Chardonnay is as versatile at the table as it is in the vineyard. The crisp, clean, Chablis-like styles go well with simple seafood, light chicken dishes, and salads. Richer Chardonnays marry well with cream or oil-based sauces.

Sommelier Secret

Since the 1990s, big, oaky, buttery Chardonnays from California have enjoyed explosive popularity. More recently, the pendulum has begun to swing in the opposite direction, towards a clean, crisp style that rarely utilizes new oak. These Old-World style wines have been dubbed the “New California Chardonnays,” and anyone who claims they do not like Chardonnay should give them a try.

OPI54284_2007 Item# 107193

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