2001 Yalumba The Octavius, Barossa Old Vine Shiraz

03252008.jpgMarch 25th is my Birthday, so you know that means a good bottle of wine… Last night I headed to Kitsilano Wine Cellars to see what might fit the bill I wanted a wine that was drinkable now and would match the Canada prime New York steak I had picked up at Armando’s in the Granville Island Public Market (if you live in Vancouver, you have to go check them out).

As usual, I was checking out the Italian wines when I went in… but pretty much all of the higher-end ones were just too damned young to drink. Next up were the French (I was really looking for a good Bordeaux). Again, nothing really grabbed my eye. So, it was onto the New World.. All the Napa wines (the oldest was a 2002) would have been tighter than a… well, let’s leave it at that. Onto the Aussies.

I know. Anyone who has read this site knows I’m a bit down on the Aussie wines as of late. This choice may surprise you, but when they do it right they can make a bloody good wine. They make Grange and all… and they make this one. Robert Parker gave it a healthy 98 points, and although I don’t pay that too much credit, I have to admit that it helped make up my mind.

Kits Wine’s ever-patient Kirk and I perused their choices and after much humming hah-ing, settled on the wine you see up in the title. It’s a bit of a cult wine from the Land Down Under… and after tasting it last night, I’d say rightly so. It was just what I needed.

To call this tasty would be like calling Tiger a decent golfer. I’d go on and on about how much I liked this wine, but I’ll just sum it up; this was one of the best wines I’ve had in the last 5 years. Period. It’s a bit of a cult wine and I now understand why.

It’s made from old vines – most 70 – 100 years in age – and has a nose that has layers of black cherry, plum, licorice and floral violet. Amazing sip after sip exploded with dark chocolate, plum, vanilla, oppulent dark cherry and a meaty edge (which definitely helped it pair with the steak).

The finish is what really helped it stand out for me. It went on for minutes. Wow, this is what wine is about for me – love in a glass. This is a fantastic wine. It’s polished, balanced and left me wanting more. What more could I ask?

~$130 at Kitsilano Wine Cellars.

4 1/2 stars

  • http://just-grapes.blogspot.com/ Shea

    Happy birthday! And, that sounds like an awesome wine and a fantastic birthday dinner.

    One comment about Australian wine – I think there is a huge divide between what is common and commercial and what is unique and artful. We are lucky enough in Vancouver to have a pretty darn good selection of smaller Australian producers who make really fantastic wine. Check out: clonakilla, greenock, grosset, turkey flat, spinifex, massena, majella, yeringberg, et. al. These are all really great producers. Plus, if you really want to avoid that ripe Aussie fruit, go for a cool climate shiraz or cab – they offer something pretty unique. There’s so much great stuff from Australia at good prices for the BC market. It’d be a shame to miss out on all that!

  • Kirk

    Glad you like the wine, it was worth the hunt.

  • BIG J

    almost within a hair of the 98 so good with a monchego spanish cheese followed by a great steak. thanks higgins for the turn on to this vinyard have yet to be disappointed by any of their products. aint life grand!

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