Kay Brothers Hillside Shiraz 2003
Bouquet: Sweet fruit perfume of black cherries, blackberries, white pepper and spices over subtle toasty oak.
Palate: A rich, round, soft, voluptuous, fruit driven Shiraz with a hint of confectionery sweetness in the background. A very approachable full bodied combination of blueberries, plum, Ribena, mocha chocolate, spice box, vanilla and pepper fill the palate with pleasurable flavours and the balanced soft tannin finish has both length and persistence. Excellent cellaring potential.
Vines: 100 year old
"One of Australia's most traditional winemakers, Colin Kay fashions old style, high quality, distinctive Australian reds. Tarry, chewy, and fleshy, the 2003 Shiraz Hillside has a bit more punch (15% alcohol) as well as a sappy character that is not present in the regular bottling. It is a broad, savory, expansively flavored, full-bodied Shiraz to enjoy over the next decade."
Established in 1890 by Australian born brothers Herbert and Frederick Kay, it is the oldest McLaren Vale
winery still in the hands of the founding family, with Herbert’s grandson Colin Kay continuing the family
winemaking tradition. Bordering St. Vincent’s Gulf, 24 miles south of Adelaide, the Kay Brothers
McLaren Vale vineyards grace the rolling foothills of the Southern Mt. Lofty Ranges. The winery is
located at the top of a hill three miles from the McLaren Vale Township and the cellar door, which is part
of the original winery complex, boasts some stunning panoramic views of the surrounding picturesque
valleys and hillsides.
The Kays are specialists of traditional grape growing and winemaking, utilizing grapes from their own 54
acre vineyards to produce their wines. The main grape variety grown is Shiraz (including the 1892
planted Block 6) followed by Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Grenache, Mataro (Mourvedre) and Muscat
Blanc. Colin’s winemaking philosophy is to make rich full-bodied fruit-driven wines (using the original
open fermenters and basket press) with a minimum of 18 months aging in small American oak casks.
The Block 6 Shiraz & Hillside Shiraz spend up to two and a half years maturing in a combination of
American, Eastern European and French oak barrels.
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 an 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.