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International Trophy Red Rhône Varietals over £15 – Sidewood, Mappinga Shiraz, Adelaide Hills, South Australia 2013

A delicious, ambitious, cooler-climate Shiraz, with floral lift on the sweet nose alongside a twist of black pepper and dark cherry fruit. Ideally this needs a few more years’ rest in bottle, by which time it will be absolutely singing, but there’s still buckets of appeal right now, with its velvety tannins and liquorice-tinged fruit (14.5%).
POA Davy’s

HONG KONG-BORN Owen Inglis is making waves in the cool-climate Adelaide Hills, sparing no expense to fulfil his dream of making quality wines. Successful business ventures in China enabled him and his wife Cassandra to pursue a dream of winemaking in an area Inglis has loved since childhood, when he rode horses on his aunt’s farm.

In a taste-off against rivals from Marlborough, the Rhône and the Languedoc, this wine won the closely judged contest thanks to the panel’s love of its warm fruit and savoury, balsamic character.

Inglis’ love of the Adelaide Hills persists despite its challenges: frosts (the vineyards have a sprinkler system), heatwaves and rain risk in the run-up to harvest. Key to Sidewood’s success is diversity in its vineyards, which have three soil types, differing orientations and five clones of Shiraz.

Mappinga Shiraz is made from individually selected bunches, of which 25% are placed in open-top fermenters, with the remainder destemmed and poured on top. A wild-yeast fermentation is followed by an extended, three-week maceration prior to pressing off and returning to tank for settling after malolactic fermentation is completed.

Prior to barrel selection, the wine spends 18 months in a mix of French oak puncheons and hogsheads, 35% new. Made by former Shaw and Smith winemaker Darryl Catlin, it is only made in top vintages, and Inglis believes the wine could continue to evolve for about 50 years. Look out for the upcoming 2015 vintage: the team reckons it’s the best yet.

Sidewood TeamSidewood owner Owen Inglis (centre, with wine) has loved the Adelaide Hills since childhood
Tasted against

Château Cesseras, Minervois La Livinière, Languedoc-Roussillon, France 2012 • Domaine Le Pointu, Aeternalis, Châteauneufdu- Pape, Rhône, France 2010 • Giesen, Single Vineyard Clayvin Syrah, Marlborough, New Zealand 2012 • Saronsberg, Shiraz, Tulbagh, South Africa 2013.

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