Coming from the Chapoutier vineyard in the Pyrenees, this is the first syrah that Owen Latta has made since 2015. And it’s stunning stuff, an incredibly complex and darkly seductive wine, with wild fruits accented by exotic spices and craggy minerals – midweight, chewy and speaking loudly of place.
This is so bright but also so mineral, with wild dark fruits – forest berries, sour plums and cherries – laced with a granitic minerality, white pepper and dark spices such as brown cardamom, star anise and cassia. There’s a gentle spritz on the palate that marries with natural acid zip and linear tannins to give this a buoyant freshness that sits in balance with the dark fruit flavours and crushed rock mineral notes.
Themes of this wine
Shiraz dominates the Australian wine industry, accounting for nearly a third of this country’s vines. The grape’s traditional home is in France’s Northern Rhône, with wines that combine elegance and power, while Australia is perhaps best known for the muscular styles from warmer areas. Today, drinkers of Australian shiraz are spoilt for choice with expressions ranging from the elegant and spicy to the monumental.
The wine zone of Western Victoria contains the three major regions of the Grampians, the Pyrenees and Henty. Being the furthest inland to the north-east, the Pyrenees is more continental in climate with warm days and cold nights. The Pyrenees were planted to vines in the 19th century, with the last vines disappearing in the 1940s, before replanting in the 1960s. Interestingly, sparkling wine was an early focus in the Pyrenees, though the warm summer days make ripening later picked red varieties, such as cabernet sauvignon, a reliable proposition. The fact that both things are possible is testament to the heterogenous nature of the region. The modern founders are still the region’s most acclaimed names, such as Blue Pyrenees, Taltarni, Mount Avoca and Dalwhinnie.