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2001 Water Wheel Shiraz
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- Closure: Cork
”BARBARIANS AT THE GATES”
Shiraz has become the grape that is synonymous with the Australian wine industry driving much of the international wine market to the point where Australian wine exports are now approximately two billion dollars per annum. This has caused much anxiety amongst the French who are now facing a bitter reality. Their ‘sovereignty’ over the world’s wine territory has been challenged, and not only by Australia. Between 1990-2000 the French wine market share has dropped from 49% to 22%. Charges from all directions incited the French ministry of Agriculture to action, compiling an eighty-page report calling for sweeping change. The author of the report, Jacques Berthomean stated that: “Until recent years wine was us. We were the centre, the unavoidable reference point. Today the Barbarians are at our gates.”Wine lore has it that Shiraz (also known as Syrah, Sirrahs, Ciras, Scyras) was taken from Persia to France by the Phoenicians. However, research by scholars Dr.Carole Meridith of the University of California Davis and Jean Michel Boursiquot of the Wine Institute in Montpellier, France have determined that Shiraz is indigenous to the Rhone Region of France. DNA sequencing indicates that Shiraz is a descendent of two little known French grape varieties, Durela and Mondeuse Blanc, and has been grown in the Rhone Valley since 500 B.C.
Shiraz was first brought to Australia in 1832 by James Busby, unwittingly with the help and co-operation of the French themselves. Busby left Australia in February 1831 and arrived in the Rhone Valley on the 10th of December. He recorded his trip in the ‘Journal of a Tour’ published in 1833 and wrote of the hospitality and generosity of information that French vignerons eagerly passed on: “I had no advisers…I uniformly prefaced my request for information with a statement of the object for which it was required. So far however, from having been in any one instance at all deceived or mislead. I have found every person to whom I applied anxious to forward my undertaking.” So it was indeed thanks to the co-operation of the French, that Australia owes much of its present success. If the French knew that their wisdom, knowledge (as well as their Shiraz cuttings) were being placed at the feet of Barbarians, perhaps they would not have been so obliging. What a remarkable twist of fate!
WATER WHEEL CONTINUE THEIR RUN OF EXCEPTIONAL SHIRAZ AT A PRICE THAT BLOWS THE COMPETITION AWAY. IT’S NO WONDER THAT THIS WINE SELLS OUT IN A MATTER OF MONTHS!
The 2001 Water Wheel Shiraz is produced by an old campaigner and some might say, a “Barbarian Chieftain” in his own right – Peter Cummings.
Tasting Notes: This is a big ‘joosy’ Shiraz filled with intense black pepper flavour and reflective of an excellent vintage. The colour is almost opaque with black, purple hues. The nose is much more lifted than in previous vintages with strong notes of spice, blackberry and violets followed by distinct endnotes of fresh liquorice strap and black pepper. The palate flavours are generous to say the least, but without the bulky body weight of some past vintages, however, this is not a point of criticism. The palate reveals mouth filling, ripe blackberry and powerful black pepper flavours which continue well into the aftertaste. Fine dry tannins, perfect balance – yet another Shiraz ‘conquest’ for this Barbarian who continues to reward his ‘tribe’ with exceptional value.
Cellar 4-5 years. (2006-2007)