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Barossa Shiraz: Panel tasting results

This treat of a tasting showcased the renowned ageability of the South Australian region’s signature grape – just a shame, said our judges, that we didn’t receive more of these high-scoring pairs of current and older vintages.

Justin Knock MW, Tina Gellie and Roger Jones tasted 68 wines with 11 Outstanding and 34 Highly recommended.

Barossa Shiraz: Panel tasting scores

68 wines tasted

Exceptional 0

Outstanding 11

Highly recommended 34

Recommended 22

Commended 0

Fair 1

Poor 0

Entry criteria: producers and UK agents were invited to submit their still, minimum 85% Shiraz reds sourced 100% from Barossa, Barossa Valley, Eden Valley or High Eden, in pairs comprising a current release and a mature vintage, 2015 or older, of the same wine/cuvée.

The Barossa is a special place for Shiraz. At its best, few regions come close (with any grape variety) in matching the fruit quality, layers of complex flavours, depth and richness of tannin – and in such a wide range of stylistic interpretations. Regardless of price or ambition, the majority of Barossa Shirazes age and mature beautifully, holding their fruit depth for many years as they evolve into the equivalent of a much- loved, supple leather recliner.

So it was somewhat surprising that finding producers, or their UK importers, with both a young and more mature vintage of the same Shiraz cuvée proved so challenging. Our request, canvassed widely over several months, was not for commercially available quantities of one or both wines, but simply a pair of bottles (restricted to one pair per producer): the first being the current release, the other a vintage from 2015 or older. While the 34 pairs entered certainly gave a great overview, we expected far more submissions.

Scroll down to see tasting notes and scores from the Barossa Shiraz panel tasting

Barossa Shiraz panel tasting scores

The judges

Justin Knock MW is director of wine for luxury wine merchant Oeno Group, overseeing its buying, marketing, trade and retail activities, and he is one of two DWWA joint Regional Chairs for Australia.

Tina Gellie is Decanter’s Content Manager and Regional Editor for Australia as well as several other New World countries. She grew up in Australia, ultimately working at The Advertiser newspaper in Adelaide from 1996 to 2001, where she first developed her love for South Australian wines.

Roger Jones is the retired former owner of The Harrow at Little Bedwyn restaurant in Wiltshire. He is now a wine writer, judge and consultant with a particular interest in the hospitality trade, as well as helping charities. He is a DWWA judge, with a focus on New World regions.

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