I have a friend that regularly protests her dislike of Barossa Shiraz. “It’s too big, too bold, too much alcohol”. A couple of times I’ve served her one blind – because I love a challenge. It’s worked. The style is changing, and so too are perceptions. Winemakers are embracing freshness. The best ones straddle the seduction of sweet spice with juicy, bright fruit.
Trent Burge is a sixth generation Barossan winemaker. A true Barossa boy. Gently balancing the tradition of his respected family with the perspective of a well-travelled modern palate. He calls this his “love letter to the region, the variety and my home”.
As soon as the cork was removed a heady pink musk stick aroma filled the air; followed by blackberries macerated in sweet spices – star anise, cinnamon and freshly scraped vanilla pod. Black peppercorns and just a hint of freshly turned earth add some moreish savoury notes that suggest how it will evolve.
The concentration on the palate is immersive, like bathing in freshly pressed fruits of the forest (c’mon, you’ve never done that?!?). Plenty of tannin and fresh strawberry acidity promise long cellaring potential, but the tannins are ripe and supple. The flavours seamlessly transition from bright raspberry, to crunchy black fruits, to licorice ice cream, to cosy leather sofa. A little more time in the glass revealed the sweet fragrance of silky marshmallows toasted on the fire before being sandwiched between layers of biscuit and dark melted chocolate.
Drink it now or sometime over the next 15 years with a big tomahawk steak grilled to crunchy-fat perfection, served with thrice-cooked duck fat potatoes and a crisp fennel and celeriac slaw.