Friday, January 27, 2012

Thorn Clark Milton Park Shiraz (2009)

I can still remember the first time I saw a bottle of the Milton Park Shiraz.  Clare and I were selecting wines for our wine club dinner.  It was the first time that we were responsible for bringing the wine.  To make matters more difficult, we had to pair wines with South Indian dishes.  I knew that we would have a problem when, during my research, the first thing I read stated that South Indian food is best paired with ... beer. Nevertheless we persevered and found a couple of white wines that would work well with the dishes.  However, I also wanted to pair one of the dishes with a red wine.  The question turned to which red wine.

This question was difficult to answer, because tannins in red wines can heighten the heat and spice of dishes.  And, South Indian dishes can be both hot and spicy.  Nevertheless, there was one red that grabbed by my attention ... Australian Shiraz.  The Shiraz is same as the French Syrah grape.  The grape was introduced into Australia by James Busby back in 1832.  Over time, there developed four styles of Australian Shiraz: (1) wines that resemble the Syrahs of the Rhône valley, which are grown in Central and South Victoria (north of Melbourne); (2) more dense Shiraz wines grown in the Barossa Valley (northwest of Adelaide); (3) smooth Shiraz produced in the Coonawarra and Clare Valley (near Adelaide); and (4) velvety Shiraz of the Hunter Valley in New South Wales.  

We purchased a bottle of Thorn Clarke's Milton Park Shiraz (2009).  This Shiraz is made with grapes grown in the Barossa and Eden Valleys, placing the wine within the third style of Australian Shiraz.  The Thorn Clarke vineyard is a family-owned estate, which grows some of the grapes used for this wine.  I think that the winemaker also sources grapes from other vineyards, presumably in the same area, to produce this wine.  the wine is aged in American oak barrels for 12 months. 

The Milton Park Shiraz pours a cranberry red.  The cranberry foreshadows the aromas and tastes to come.  The aromatic elements feature those cranberries and blackberries, as well as raspberries.  These fruit carry over to the taste, which also features a hint of strawberry.  Other reviews find plums, blackberries and sweet spice from the oak.  For a Shiraz/Syrah, this wine has a light body and is somewhat refreshing, with a little spice on the finish. 

Some reviewers have suggested that this wine can be paired with a range of dishes, especially red meats and game.  This suggested pairing seems sensible.  Clare and I paired this wine with Vada Pav with Coriander and Tamarind Chutneys.  The wine worked very well with this dish, helping to round out the "spice" in the coriander and tamarind. 

This wine can be found at most wine stores and Whole Foods Markets.   It sells for about $9.99 a bottle. 

ENJOY!

For more about Australian Shiraz, check out Sally's Place.

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