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Madfish Western Australia Shiraz 2003
This is an elegant Shiraz with complex aromas and characters. Its texture and structure reward's cellaring with the use of French oak instead of traditional American oak giving rise to a wine of greater sophistication. Internationally renowned Wine Critic Robert M Parker Jr recently reviewed the 2001 referring to it as a "knock-out effort."
Displays an outstanding rich and vibrant color with a fragrant nose of black fruits, chocolate and fresh black pepper; classic Shiraz characters from the South-West of Western Australia. The palate is rich in flavour but with seductive lightness and elegance. Dark cherry fruits with spicy savoury notes are supported by fine tannin and elegant background oak. The Mad Fish Shiraz has sufficient fruit to allow early consumption but would benefit from short to medium term (5 years) aging.
The Madfish label, produced by Howard Park, offers pure, fresh and clean fruit driven wines that are often seen gracing the tables of cafés and at backyard barbeques from Broome to Rottnest Island on the coast of Western Australia. Its following is mirrored in Sydney and Melbourne where Madfish devotees are keen to share in a taste of the enviable lifestyle of the west coast.
Howard Park first released the Madfish label in 1992 with the Madfish White, soon followed by the Madfish Red in 1993. Today they produce a number of styles, namely the much-lauded Madfish Chardonnay and Shiraz. These contemporary styles are made from cool climate fruit with an emphasis on enjoyment and drinkability.
The traditional aboriginal water turtle design on the label is a symbol of perseverance and tolerance – no doubt characteristics displayed by the poor fish in Madfish Bay who are constantly under attack by their predators.
A large, climatically diverse country producing just about every wine style imaginable, Australia is often misunderstood by consumers. It is not just a source of blockbuster Shiraz or inexpensive wine with cute critters on the label, though both can certainly be found here. It is impossible to make generalizations about a country this physically massive, but most regions are concentrated in the south of the country and experience either warm, dry weather, or more humid, tropical influence. 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 is a vast array of intriguing varieties to be found.
Marked by unmistakable aromatics, a savory palate, and an elegant texture, Syrah is capable of producing fascinatingly complex and long-lived wines with a stunning purple hue. Native to the Northern Rhône, Syrah’s best examples are found in Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie. It is also an important component of the GSM blends of the Southern Rhône and beyond, alongside Grenache and Mourvèdre. Both varietal Syrah and GSM blends are common in Australia and California and are gaining popularity in Washington State. In Australia, Syrah is known by the synonym Shiraz, which tends to indicate a bolder, fruit-driven style of wine, and is occasionally blended with Cabernet Sauvignon for added depth and structure.
In the Glass
At its best, Syrah shows aromas and flavors of purple fruits, fragrant violets, baking spice, white pepper, smoke, and even bacon fat. Many examples from California aim to recreate this savory style, while others focus more on concentrated fruit flavors. In Australia, under the name Shiraz, it shines as that country’s unofficial signature red grape, producing deep, dark, intense, and often jammy reds.
Cool-climate Syrah, with its peppery spices, is a natural match with flavorful Moroccan-spiced lamb dishes, where the spice is more about flavor than heat. With Australian Shiraz, grown in warmer regions, heavy meat dishes with abundant protein and fat are a necessity to match the intensity of the wine.
Due to the success of Australian “Shiraz,” this synonym for Syrah has been adopted by winemakers throughout the world. If the label says “Shiraz,” you can typically expect a plush, fruity, and potent wine made in the Australian style. New World "Syrah" will generally more closely resemble the French style.