It was inevitable that Shaw & Smith would go down the super premium line. Their wines are some of the best known in the Adelaide Hills, and you could argue that the Shaw & Smith Sauvignon Blanc is one of the most important wines in the history of the region.
The Shaw & Smith Single Vineyard wines are crafted with fruit from Lenswood (chardonnay and Pinot Noir) and the original property in Balhannah (shiraz), which sits next to the cellar door. As a group they are not only serious wines but also made to age well. In a recent tasting of back vintages all the shiraz and chardonnay particularly were looking tight, and almost unevolved. They will last a minimum of a decade and in some cases a lot longer.
Shaw & Smith Lenswood Chardonnay 2018
Lenswood is one of the coolest parts of the Adelaide Hills, which no doubt went a long way to saving this wine in the baking 2018 vintage. It has also made it a more generous and rich style than usual from the get-go, to provide plenty of drinking pleasure from Day 1, while still keeping its slimline shape.
The wine is bright pale lemon yellow and instantly appeals with its floral, nectarine and citrus fruit lines into which nougat barrel ferment and spicy oak are well integrated. The palate is then powerful but balanced – hearty fruit is driven by fresh acidity with good balance between fruit and savoury winemaking complexity, including touches of smoky gun flint, on what is a slightly creamy palate. The finish is then long and bright. Ready to drink now but will also age well.
Drink 2022 – 2030
Shaw & Smith Lenswood Pinot Noir 2018
Again from Lenswood and more open knit than usual, the wine is slightly cloudy thanks to a lack of filtering but nothing to worry about there. It is a very interesting and detailed expression of Adelaide Hills Pinot Noir that boasts exceptional complexity delivering powerful and rich black cherry, violet and peppery aromas with a savoury, meaty edge and well matched oak. It is then dry, supple and silky – layers of bacon fat and bark fruits again driving a savoury Adelaide Hills style – finishing with good length. It is approachable and a more early drinking style than other recent vintages under this label.
Drink 2020 – 2028
Shaw & Smith Balhannah Shiraz 2017
If you have ever wanted to understand the impacts of stalks on shiraz then check this wine out with its aromatic lift and that distinctive touch of Chinese Five-Spice, which in this wine sit on top of fragrant cranberry and violet aromas.
It’s robust and tightly coiled on the palate, showing complex clove, pepper, meat and blackberry fruits. It’s also firm and tannic – only mid-weight but dense and energetic, packed with layers of licorice and tarry flavour. Very young, this wine has a long way to run.
Drink 2022 – 2030