Generally speaking, most wineries nowadays produce more “drink now” wines than long-term cellar specials and cooler climate regions tend to suit this lower lifespan style.
So what we have here is an unusual beast – a fifteen year old cool climate shiraz. I’ve surprised myself and managed to not only not drink this already but also cellar it quite well for most of the dozen or so years it has been in my possession. For the most part it has lived a life of cool, dry darkness so this is a good chance to see how a Yarra Valley red stacks up over this length of time.
That being said, I was apprehensive about opening this bottle. Part of me truly believed I would be disappointed by what was inside.
I remember being very impressed by this wine all those years ago. As expected it lacked the bold peppery-ness you’d find in a Barossa shiraz, instead displaying deep, lingering fruit with a surprisingly smooth finish.
Fifteen years on and I’ve opened this bottle to discover a much more robust wine. There’s a dry bitterness but that strong, smooth dark berry is still there.
Most importantly, it hasn’t turned to vinegar and doesn’t taste like crap.
In fact, some of the smoothness has gone, replaced by tannic acidity, but overall this is still a pretty tasty drop. I’ve probably missed it’s peak and I doubt it has too many good years left, but I’m genuinely impressed at how good this wine still is. A little jammy, very fruity and nicely balanced.
So there you go. Will a Yarra Valley Shiraz last 15 years if you look after it? In this case, yes it will. Proper cellaring is always important and will usually see most wines through to the end of their life expectancy – perhaps even a little beyond.
In this case, I think I’ve struck a mixture of decent storage and good luck. The 2005 Yarrawood Estate shiraz is still an impressive drop fifteen years on. I partially attribute this to the cap closure which is less likely to compromise the wine like an old cork might. In fact, this particular cap was sealed quite tightly, letting off a soft and encouraging pop when I cracked it open.
The best part of this shiraz? I still have one more bottle.