Pikes Los Companeros Shiraz/Tempranillo 2015
Clear and deep ruby in appearance, Los Companeros greets the nose with seductive blueberry fruit framed by suggestions of chocolate, mint, earth, and spice. On the palate, this wine is rich and dense yet approachable. The concentrated dark fruit and chocolate are tempered nicely by fine, silky tannins and balanced acidity. On the finish, the wine shows harmony among its structural components and suggests a comfortable cellaring period of three to five years.
Los Companeros is a sturdy and versatile, and while there are many appetizing matches, it may prove a challenge to find a better partner for a nice rib-eye on the barbecue.
Blend: 90% Shiraz and 10% Tempranillo.
The Pikes estate is situated in the picturesque Polish Hill sub region of South Australia’s beautiful Clare Valley. Brothers Andrew and Neil Pike established Pikes Wines in 1984 and continue to manage every aspect of the business today. They take great pride in producing quality handcrafted wines that reflect vintage, variety and region. Pikes flagship wine is Riesling Traditionale which has gained an international cult like following as Australia’s best dry Riesling. The Pikes story in South Australia is one rich in history dating back to 1878 when Englishman Henry Pike, Andrew and Neil’s great-great grandfather, immigrated to South Australia and established the family brewing business called H. Pike & Co. The company used the English Pike fish on the label, which remains to this day a symbol of Pike’s long heritage, now spanning three centuries. Pikes is situated in the North West section of the Clare Valley, in a sub-region known as Polish Hill River. The vines enjoy east to southeast exposure and for the most part are ungrafted, with just a small percentage planted on rootstock. The soils are red brown earth over clay, with slate and broken bluestone subsoil. The property is 240 acres (97 hectares), of which 200 are under vine. The region of Polish Hill is renowned for its black slate, which runs underneath the Pikes vineyards. Pikes aims to produce wines that reflect their varietal, regional, and vintage conditions. They are quite happy to watch over the wines during their formative stage and intervene only when necessary.
The Clare Valley is actually a series of narrow north to south valleys, each with a different soil type and slightly different weather patterns along their stretch. In the southern heartland between Watervale and Auburn, there is mainly a crumbled, red clay loam soil called terra rossa and cool breezes come in from Gulf St. Vincent. A few miles north, in Polish Hill, is soft, red loam over clay; westerlies blowing in from the Spencer Gulf influece this area's climate.
The differences in soil, elevation, degree of slope and weather enable the region to produce some of Australia’s finest, aromatic, spicy and lime-pithy Rieslings, as well as excellent Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec with ripe plummy fruit, good acid and big structure.
Clare Valley is an isolated farming country with a continental climate known for its warm and sunny days, followed by cool nights—perfect for wine grapes’ development of sugar and phenolic ripeness in conjunction with notable acidity levels.
With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a variety that creates a fruity and full-bodied wine would do well combined with one that is naturally high in acidity and tannins. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.