I'm one of those lucky people who has quite a few wine lovers around her, who, seeing how miserable she looks without a drink, hand her a carefully-chosen bottle now and then.
This Fox Creek Reserve Shiraz is one such bottle. The thing is, I'm not usually a fan of Aussie Shiraz. Too much of the time it's got too much vanilla, it's jammy and stewed in an overripe way, and almost too luscious, so full-bodied it's just like thick, raisiny lead on your tongue. Or it goes the other extreme of being way too fickle, spicy and peppery.
I don't know what the Fox Creek was like younger, but after 8 years, this 2004 is beautiful. (Ok, come on Aussies, let's say it together: BEE-YOU-DE-FOOL!). It's got everything on the Shiraz spectrum, and it comes through in layers. On the nose it's pretty typical - dark red fruits, chocolate. On the palate, you get a bit of vanilla, but it's quickly offset by some green herbs - rosemary, perhaps - and a fruity freshness, like fresh cranberry juice. That freshness and seemingly lighter body is what I love most about this (but it manages to be 14.5%, I guess the fresh fruit is what does it). There's a teeny bit of black pepper too, and yes, some raisins but not too much, and lots of dark chocolate, especially if you're having meat with it. And such a long, velvety finish. Mmm...
If only all Aussie Shirazes were as sophisticated as this, then they wouldn't have such a dodgy reputation!