2004 Clarendon Hills "Liandra Vineyard" Syrah (Elsewhere $60+)

SKU #1114948 95 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Dark, glass-staining purple. Expansive, floral bouquet of boysenberry, candied plum, blueberry jam and kirsch, with sexy oak spices and vanilla accentuating the impression of sweetness. A gorgeous expression of bright dark berry flavors, complicated by deft notes of cinnamon, cigar box and star anise. This shows impressive power but also an overall sense of elegance and finesse, especially on the juicy, long finish. An amazing wine, with jaw-dropping concentration and clarity.  (7/ 2006)

94 points Wine Enthusiast

 This is sexy stuff that proprietor Roman Bratasiuk says is 'more Côte-Rôtie' than his other Syrahs. Its perfumed nose offers up hints of violets and cracked pepper to go along with raspberry fruit, while it’s supple in the mouth - almost too easy - with pretty mixed berry flavors and a nib of bitter chocolate. Long and elegant on the finish. Drink now - 2015.  (12/ 2006)

92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2004 Syrah Liandra was fashioned from 100-year-old vines grown in clay and sandy soils. Its inky/purple color is followed by a big, sweet nose of creme de cassis, blackberries, tar, and hints of smoke and bay leaves. Full-bodied, opulent, and rich with low acidity as well as sweet tannin, it can be drunk young or cellared for 10-15+ years.  (10/ 2006)

91 points Wine Spectator

 Polished, generous and aristocratic, with currant and boysenberry flavors strongly shaded with mint and eucalyptus overtones, gliding smoothly into the long, open-textured finish. Best from 2010 through 2020  (10/ 2006)

90 points Wine & Spirits

 The aromas are intriguing, as if you'd just opened a jar of exotic fruit jam from the outback. Then the palate is syrupy, a juicy mass of fascinating flavor. You have to like thick wines, but if you do, Liandra is worth seeking out.  (12/ 2007)

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Varietal:

Shiraz/Syrah

- One of France's noblest black grape varieties, Syrah is known for its intense and distinctive perfume reminiscent of briar fruit, tar, spice and black pepper and its firm structure. One of few black grape varietals frequently vinified on its own, the best examples of Syrah come from the Northern Rhône, particularly Hermitage, but also Côte-Rôtie, Cornas, Crozes-Hermitage and St-Joseph. These wines are very astringent in their youth, though some Crozes-Hermitage and St-Joseph can be enjoyed young, relatively speaking. Given the requisite patience, though, these wines can reveal amazing complexity and secondary fruit characteristics like plum and blackcurrant as well as subtle hints of smoke and flowers. In the Southern Rhône, Syrah is used to add structure and complexity to wines dominated by Grenache and complemented by Mourvèdre, like the more immediately drinkable Côte du Rhônes, as well as the long-lived wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. In recent years, plantings of Syrah have spread throughout the Languedoc-Roussillon where it is produced on its own or blended with other varietals. Outside of France, the most important Syrah growing country is easily Australia, where it is called Shiraz. Quality levels here depend greatly on yields and geography, and the wines range from bold, fruity and easy-drinking to intense and ageable, like the famed Penfolds Grange. Often bottled on its own, in Australia Syrah is also can be blended with Grenache and Mourvèdre, as in the Southern Rhône, and is increasingly combined with Cabernet Sauvignon. Syrah has also been steadily increasing in popularity in California, thanks to a group of advocates called the Rhône Rangers. Its most successful iterations come from the Central and Sonoma Coasts, where winemakers are pushing boundaries and creating some incredible wines. In recent years Syrah has also found a number of proponents in Washington State, which is definitely a region to watch for this variety.
Country:

Australia

- While it is true that the greatest strides in Australian winemaking have come in the last 30 years or so, commercial viticulture began as early as the 1820s and has developed uninterrupted ever since. The majority of the great Region are in the southeastern area of the continent, with the Barossa Valley, Claire Valley, McLaren Vale, and Coonawarra in South Australia, the Yarra Yarra Velley and Pyrenees in Victoria and the Upper and Lower Hunter Valleys in New South Wales. Many of the wines from Southeastern Australia are based on Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon and various blends including Grenache and Mourvedre. In Western Australia, along the Margaret River, great strides are being made with Pinot Noir as well as Bordeaux-styled reds. There are also many world-class releases of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling from the land Down Under. While many equate Aussie wines with "value", there are more than a few extremely rare and pricey options, which never fail to earn the highest ratings from wine publications and critics throughout the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from Australia.