Long term fixtures in the Coonawarra wine scene, Nick Zema and his family will celebrate the fortieth anniversary of their winery next year, a wonderful achievement. It has not always been easy and they often slide below the radar, but they have never faltered in producing quality regional wines which represent excellent value. I do have a small problem with these two Family Selection releases from 2016 (great to see aged wines released at such brilliant prices), both wearing the new, and to be honest, much more impressive livery.
Usually, in Coonawarra, it is taken as read that the Cabernet offered by any producer will be a superior wine to their Shiraz, despite Shiraz having played such an important role in the development of the region. For me, this Shiraz is at least the equal of the Cabernet. The Shiraz was fermented for a week with part barrel fermentation for complexity. The wine then spent two years in a mix of new and one-year-old American and French barrels.
A deep purple/magenta colour with the nose offering an array of fragrances and giving the immediate impression that this is a finely balanced wine, right off the bat. Aromas of blackberries, animal hides, dense fruit and serious concentration of flavours. Some oak is evident but it is well integrated. There is a slightly surprising character on the nose which is more reminiscent of a cracking Rhône red than what one might expect from Coonawarra. On the palate, it is back to normal with typical choc/mint notes and excellent persistence. Really good length over very fine tannins. The more I looked at this wine, the more I liked it. It is already showing early complexity. A good decade ahead.