Oxford Landing Shiraz 2017
A lightly spiced ragù or massaman vegetable curry would be a great accompaniment.
At Oxford Landing, we like to ‘keep it real’. That means maintaining a sense of perspective and recognising what really matters. Remembering where we came from and being proud of our roots. And making wines that are a true reflection of the place they come from. Many of the famous wine regions of Europe are planted around great rivers. The Gironde in Bordeaux, the Tain in the Rhone Valley and the Rhine and Mosel Rivers in Germany. In Australia, we have the Murray River. Set on the banks of South Australia’s majestic Murray River, the Oxford Landing vineyard is named after a nearby site where an old paddle steamer called ‘The City of Oxford’ met with an untimely end. Drovers once grazed and watered sheep here but today it’s home to a loyal flock of down-to-earth folk who take great pride in making quality wines, enjoyed the world over. With 650 acres under vine, we could never call Oxford Landing small but we act like we are. We micro-manage 130 five-acre blocks as separate ecosystems so we become intimately familiar with each block and can give the grapes exactly what they need to achieve optimum flavour. ‘Small vineyard’ techniques such as detailed pruning, canopy management and crop thinning give us ultimate control in expressing the individuality of each block. And we are nimble enough to harvest small batches of the fruit as soon as it ripens, so not an ounce of freshness is lost. The ‘small scale’ approach continues in the winery with methods usually reserved for boutique winemaking. These include using wild ferments native to the vineyard and back-blending with barrel-aged wines. Minimal handling of the juice also means less chance for error or contamination, so the fruit is processed gently yet quickly. Thinking small does make a lot more work for us, but we take pride in working hard to craft quality wine. Every one of our wines is bottled at our winery in Australia. By nurturing the wine every step along the journey from bunch to bottle we can guarantee the authenticity, provenance, quality and consistency of every wine, every day. We put our heart and soul into every bottle of wine we make so there’s no way we would entertain the variances and vagaries of bulk shipping and offshore bottling.
Though Syrah originated in the Rhône Valley of France, Australia is home to the oldest Syrah (called Shiraz here) vines on the planet. Found in Australia’s Barossa Valley, where phylloxera has never threated viticulture, these ancient vines are between 140 to 175 years old!
Having brought fame and merit to the country’s wine scene since the early 1950s, namely via the debut of Penfolds Grange, today Syrah (Shiraz) claims rank as the most widely planted grape in Australia. In fact, the amount of land dedicated to Shiraz in Australia is now almost equivalent to what it is in France. Australian Shiraz has its own personality with flavors and aromas of intense blackberry, fruitcake, menthol, tobacco leaf and umami. Conveniently one can find great Australian Shiraz at a variety of price points but the very best will be dense, gloriously complex and capable of long aging.