Dan's Blog


Friday, August 24, 2018

This week I am talking about one of the top performing wineries in the Adelaide Hills, SHAW + SMITH. The company was formed when winemaker Martin Shaw joined forces with Australia’s first Master of Wine, Michael Hill Smith. It wasn’t long after they kicked off in 1989 that they started to make very classy Adelaide Hill’s wines.

These days they release their new vintage wines each year by hosting a very elegant lunch at a top Adelaide Asian restaurant. This year it was held at the superb Bai Long Store on Hutt Street.

Upon arrival trade guests were served the 2018 SHAW + SMITH SAUVIGNON BLANC, a very elegant wine without the over the top pyrazines so often seen in Aussie and Kiwi Sav Blanc’s. The bouquet had just a hint of passionfruit and a smidge of capsicum. On the palate it was steely but not too tight with oodles of crisp flavours. It was very approachable and silky smooth. They believe it is the best they have made thus far. VERY DRINKABLE!

Next came the 2016 SHAW + SMITH M3 CHARDONNAY, the follow on from their stellar 2015 M3 (one of the best Adelaide Hills Chardonnay that I have tasted).

The 2016 can sit comfortably alongside its salubrious sibling as it has concentrated flavours and great restrained natural acidity from the lower yields of the vintage. With a higher component of Piccadilly fruit, this wine has lovely, tight aromatics of citrus and vanillin oak. On the palate it has a generous, complex mouthfeel with a crisp, oaky, lingering finish.  SUPERB & VERY MOREISH!

Now on to the reds. Starting with the 2017 SHAW + SMITH PINOT NOIR. This is a stylish Pinot, right from the soft fragrant bouquet of red berries and hints of forest floor aromas. Then through to the smooth, rich, tasty palate that belies its power, with its svelte, grippy tannins to the after taste that lingers for eons. While this wine is ubber delicious now, it will continue to evolve and I think it will be truly spectacular with a further two to three years of careful cellaring. TOP NOTCH!

Finally, we got to one of the most underrated wine styles in Australia – Adelaide Hills Shiraz. The 2016 SHAW + SMITH SHIRAZ is a brilliant example of how good a cool-climate Shiraz the Adelaide Hills can produce. Made from the grapes of close planted vines, using four different Shiraz clones, this wine is all about taste and balance rather than power. Being from a warmer year, it has intensity of colour, elegant berry aromas and a palate redolent with the flavours of medium-bodied darker fruit, fine grained tannins and a superb, lingering finish that leaves the palate wanting more. CLASSY & CLASSIC!

A big thank you to SHAW + SMITH for this enlightening exercise, because tasting wines alongside food is the ideal way to properly assess wines.