Wirra Wirra Church Block (Shiraz, Cab Sauvignon, Merlot) 1999
Bouquet: Lifted, violets & blackberries on the nose with loads of star anise & cinnamon overtones. "Worcestershire sauce", savoury, & smoked ham character. Along with slight licorice/molasses & cinnamon spice.
Palate: A structured, full palate with fine fruit tannins & smooth rounded edges. Damson plums & very refined mocha/coffee characteristics from the Shiraz & a subtle herbal note from the Cabernet Sauvignon with a long finish & fine oak tannins.
General: The 1999 Church Block has the elegant structure of Cabernet Sauvignon complemented by approachable Merlot & the depth & warmth of Shiraz, all typical of Church Block.
Serve: At room temperature 15ºc, with most foods especially pastas, roasted & grilled meat dishes & strong cheeses.
Technical Notes: Alc / Vol: 14.0%
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Wirra Wirra Vineyards was originally established in 1894 by known South Australian eccentric and cricketer Robert Strangways Wigley. The winery prospered in its early days, producing many wines including a much acclaimed Shiraz, which was exported to England and the Empire until his death in 1926. The winery ran into disrepair and was eventually abandoned. In 1969 under the watchful eye of the late Greg Trott and his cousin Roger, the winery was rebuilt from the remnants of two walls and some slate fermenting tanks. As with all subsequent Trott endeavours, it was the sheer magnitude and unlikeliness of the project that made it so attractive.
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, these hot-climate wines are deeply colored and high in extract 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.
With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended red 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 resulting in a wide variety of red wine styles. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a red wine blend 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.
How to Serve Red Wine
A common piece of advice is to serve red wine at “room temperature,” but this suggestion is imprecise. After all, room temperature in January is likely to be quite different than in August, even considering the possible effect of central heating and air conditioning systems. The proper temperature to aim for is 55° F to 60° F for lighter-bodied reds and 60° F to 65° F for fuller-bodied wines.
How Long Does Red Wine Last?
Once opened and re-corked, a bottle stored in a cool, dark environment (like your fridge) will stay fresh and nicely drinkable for a day or two. There are products available that can extend that period by a couple of days. As for unopened bottles, optimal storage means keeping them on their sides in a moderately humid environment at about 57° F. Red wines stored in this manner will stay good – and possibly improve – for anywhere from one year to multiple decades. Assessing how long to hold on to a bottle is a complicated science. If you are planning long-term storage of your reds, seek the advice of a wine professional.