Posted by: Andy Kelly
I was recently gifted this wine by a friend and was immediately struck by the bottle. Like the majority of bottles coming from Australia, it shuns the typical picture of a chateau or region followed by the name of the wine etc. and instead aims for a modern take on a label that’s designed to jump out at the potential buyer. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. For this wine, it works and it will look good on any wine rack.
The Black Craft is one of many wines made by Magpie Estate, a partnership between winemaker Rolf Binder and prominent UK wine merchant Noel Young. The partnership was forged in 1993 and they boast an impressive array of wines, many of which are instantly recognisable. I’d tried their Mixed Thing Red Blend in the heady days of my wine youth and it was rather forgettable to be honest but I’m a firm believer in second chances so why not give them another go?!
There was no ritual cork smelling on this occasion as it is a screw cap but the bottle gave off a lovely aroma as I stuck my nose in.
The colour was clear ruby with a hint of carmine, I was initially surprised by this as I expected inky black but that’s not a bad thing.
I was immediately hit with peppery spice as I stuck my nose into the first glass. This gave way to a bit of smoke, red cherries and a touch of jam. Going well so far.
The wine was initially fruit forward on the palate. Cherries dominated with jammy notes and the spice, though there, was subtle on the long finish which also gave just the slightest hint of vanilla. The tannins were silky smooth. My gums wouldn’t initially dry out after having swallowed, but out of nowhere the tannins would hit me. This created a pleasurable experience and meant that every time I took a sip, I looked like I was incessantly swallowing mouthwash as I swilled the wine over my gums.
The real quality of this Shiraz was what it did when it opened up. Red fruit notes gave way to notes of blackberry and that ever so subtle hint of vanilla disappeared as the peppery spice became more pronounced as the wine went down. There were some fantastic angel’s tears running down the glass too as I would give it a swirl.
I’d forgotten how much I enjoy a good Shiraz and for the £12 price point you’re really not going to get a better Shiraz than this. So, thank you to my good friends who gifted me this wine and thank you to Magpie Estate for creating a very good Shiraz at an even better price point. I think I’m going to try your Wit & Shanker next as I appear drawn to it but I can’t quite figure out why….