Powell & Son Loechel Eden Valley Shiraz 2017
The Loechel shows generous dark ripe fruits of blackberry, cherry liqueur and cassis which is supported by dark chocolate and mocha tones and subtle herbs and spice. The palate reveals pronounced dark fruits, underscored by smoky, savoury and meaty notes: olives and charcuterie with subtle reductive funk. The palate is medium to full-bodied, yet maintains a mouth-staining inkiness to provide a long and satisfying finish with a persistent orange-rind like acid backbone.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Despite the relatively cool climes of the Eden Valley and the lift of red fruit they provide, this is a big, rich wine with quite a lot of oak influence. Strawberry and cherry fruit is ensconced in minty, chocolaty barrel characters. The palate is equally oak-driven, particularly on the finish. But there’s a silkiness and freshness to the fruit, and tannins are textural and well structured. This is destined for the cellar and should age nicely. Drink 2022–2040.
Higher in elevation and topographically more dramatic than the Barossa Valley floor, Eden Valley abuts it to its south and east. While it is a bit of an extension of Barossa, Eden Valley is topographically different than the pastoral Barossa Valley, and is composed of rocky hills and eucalyptus groves.
Recognizing Eden Valley’s potential with Riesling in the 1960s and 70s, producers started to move their Riesling production from Barossa to these better sites where schist soils on hilltops would produce more steely, tart and age-worthy examples. A most famous site, planted by Colin Gramp, called Steingarten, today produces one of the most outstanding Australian Rieslings. Youthful Eden Valley Rieslings express floral, grapefruit and mineral, while with time in the bottle, they become increasingly toasty and complex.
Riesling isn’t the only grape the region can grow; undeniably at lower altitudes Shiraz does very well. Mount Edelstone is a notable vineyard as well as the Hill of Grace, which boasts healthy Shiraz vines well over 100 years old. This is the only Australian region where Merlot has a made a name for itself and Chardonnay can be spectacular, particularly from the High Eden subregion in the southern valley.
Marked by an unmistakable deep purple hue and savory aromatics, Syrah makes an intense, powerful and often age-worthy red. Native to the Northern Rhône, Syrah achieves its maximum potential in the steep village of Hermitage and plays an important component in the Red Rhône Blends of the south, adding color and structure to Grenache and Mourvèdre. Syrah is the most widely planted grape of Australia and is important in California and Washington. Sommelier Secret—Such a synergy these three create together, the Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre trio often takes on the shorthand term, “GSM.”