Peter Lehmann Wildcard Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon, South Australia - March 2018 Wine of the Month
This month we bring you a wine which is a ‘Wildcard’ by name, but a very safe gamble for those of you looking for a truly delicious and youthful soft style of shiraz.
About the Producer
Produced by winemaker Peter Lehmann, the Wildcard wines are named after ‘Sky Masterson’, the gambler hero of the musical ‘Guys & Dolls’. Peter Lehmann Wines was originally named Masterson Wines between 1977 and 1981, as it was the biggest gamble ever taken by ‘Peter Lehmann’ and the growers.
The Wildcard wines are soft and easy drinking, produced in the Riverland region of South Australia. In the Riverland, grape growers and winemakers are encouraging new styles of wines, and making full-flavoured, generous and approachable wines that are popular the world over.
Set within a panoramic backdrop of limestone cliffs, with their layers of colour and texture, the Riverland follows the twists and turns of the Murray as it rolls toward the Ocean. The Riverland climate is Continental, resulting in long sunny days and noticeably cooler nights. Long sunshine hours ensure fruit ripens fully and low relative humidity results in little or no disease pressures.
The shiraz grape is also known as syrah. There are two 'classic' regions in which the shiraz/syrah grape thrives; the Northern Rhône valley, where it makes fabulous, dense, spicy wines which age majestically for decades, and Australia, to which it was introduced in 1832 by the settler James Busby and goes by the name Shiraz.
The two different names usually denote two very different styles. Shiraz has come to be used for richer, blacker wines with more ripe fruit flavour on the mid-palate, while Syrah tends to be used for structure-driven wines with more restrained flavours of black pepper and spice with characteristic black fruit.
The grape is thick-skinned and prefers warmer climates, although its flavours tend to degenerate jammily if subjected to too much heat. Excellent examples in the Syrah style can be found in the Languedoc-Roussillon, the Hawkes Bay area of New Zealand and now some cooler parts of Australia. The continential climate of Riverland is perfect for the growing of shiraz grapes.
The 2016 vintage benefited from a hot growing season, particularly in December, with some welcome rain during the first half of the harvest period. Yields were above average and fruit ripened in optimum conditions, with picking starting in early February and carrying on until mid March.
The Wildcard Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon is a blend of 80% shiraz and 20% cabernet sauvignon. The result is a soft, fruit driven wine showing typical shiraz richness reined in by the soft tannin finish. Vibrant red with a dark purple hue in colour, it has rich aromas of plum, blackcurrant and raspberry on the nose. A uniquely Australian blend, the Shiraz provides layers of ripe plum and moncha that integrate seamlessly with mint and blackcurrant flavours from the Cabernet Sauvignon. The resulting wine is the perfect balance of fruity, savoury and spice characters.