McLaren Vale is a diverse wine region located near the coast of the Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia. A multitude of grape varieties are planted in this breathtaking region due to diverse soils, vicinity to the ocean, and a climate comparable to the Mediterranean. Though there is an admirable assortment of wines to choose from, there is one variety that clearly stands supreme above the rest.
Can you guess which variety? You got it, Shiraz! Or Syrah as it’s more commonly known to the rest of the world not living down under.
Here in McLaren Vale, something like 50% of vineyards are planted to Shiraz. At least half, if not more, of the entire region! When you visit the Vale, don’t be surprised to see Shiraz on the tasting lists of every cellar door you visit. Though I’m not complaining because I love Syrah. This is a variety which thrives in cool climates, hot climates, moderate climates, and can blossom under a variety of winemaking styles. What’s not to love about that?
Since I’ve been busy working vintage, like no time for anything but work, eat, sleep, repeat kind of busy, I have only visited about ten cellar doors out of the eighty-ish here in McLaren Vale. That being said, the Shiraz produced at Paxton is by far, hands down, without a doubt my favorite. Easily the best I have tasted in McLaren Vale.
Paxton’s 2016 Jones Block Shiraz is everything you want in a Shiraz. Plus, all of Paxton’s wines are biodynamic and organic so you can feel good about drinking them. Well, even better than you already do because these wines will dance on your palate and honestly make you more connected to the variety in your glass. If you’re not super familiar with biodynamics, check out Paxton’s philosophy on what what they’ve got going on here. We hear so often these days that wines should be representative of place, meaning what you taste in the glass should transport your senses to the vineyard in which the grapes were grown. What better way to achieve this than creating a whole thriving ecosystem throughout the vineyard with the intent of enriching soils to grow the healthiest vines possible?
The 2016 Jones Block Shiraz was incredibly clean on the nose and palate, immediately recognizable as Shiraz. Notes of cooked blueberries and blackberries, warm spices, caramelized sugar and balsamic reduction floated up from the glass. I couldn’t stop smelling this wine, really. For a Syrah, the bouquet was surprisingly fresh. There was even the charming sent of wild greenery and herbs the French call garrigue, the Italians call macchia, and I absolutely love! The 2016 Jones Block Shiraz is full-bodied and rich on the palate with a long, lingering finish. What I especially enjoyed about this wine was the spice present all the way through without being overpowering. The spice comes from a mixture of French and American oak barrels, about 40% of them new, used during maturation for 22 months. This Shiraz was well-balanced with refined tannins and medium acidity and I enjoyed every last drop!
The Jones Block Shiraz is not the only Shiraz Paxton has on offer. I especially loved the 2017 Quandong Farm Shiraz. Actually, that was the other bottle I took home with me, but I was really savoring the moment with that bottle and didn’t take the time to write any notes for a review. You’ll just have to buy a bottle for yourself and let me know if you like it as much as I do! Check out Paxton’s website to see the variety of biodynamic, organic wines they currently have available. I’m planning one more visit to Paxton’s cellar door before we leave McLaren Vale, so keep your eyes peeled for a post with more details about the winery and other wines on offer. Cheers!