Old Bridge Cellars, “The Face of Australian Wine,” is a consortium of sorts spanning more than 20 wineries sprawling across the entire continent of Australia. The focus, of course, is Shiraz, and recently the company sent a range of its offerings — in TastingRoom.com sample bottles — to experience how Shiraz varies from the eastern shores of Oz to the west. Some notes follow.
2007 Brokenwood Shiraz Hunter Valley / $36 / C+ / (Hunter Valley, on the east coast near Sydney) overwhelming, pruny, and a bit astringent; difficult despite a light (13.5%) alcohol level
2007 Innocent Bystander Shiraz Viognier / $20 / B+ / (Victoria region, near Melbourne) a blend of 94% shiraz and 6% viognier; easier and full of life, good acid level, with a touch of herbs on the finish
2007 Plantaganet Great Southern Shiraz / $29 / B / (Western Australia region, near the southern coast) from the far west of Australia, this is a brash and hefty, traditional shiraz; good fruit but a bit like being hit with a 2×4
2006 Kilikanoon Covenant Shiraz / $40 / B- / (Clare Valley, South Australia, inland from Adelaide) 15% alcohol, big and extracted, showing some premature age
2007 d’Arenberg The Laughing Magpie Shiraz Viognier / $29 / B+ / (McLaren Vale, in South-Central Australia) another “big” wine, with lots of fruit and some pepper notes
2007 John Duval Entity Shiraz / $40 / B / (South Australia, near Adelaide, perhaps Oz’s most reknowned wine region) again a very extracted wine but one with some guts; could use some bottle aging