Craiglee Shiraz 2016 Offer

Pat and Dianne Carmody are what you might call salts of the earth, and make literally exceptional wines that have an unusual capacity to age JANCIS ROBINSON MW

A winery with a proud 19th-century record, Craiglee recommenced winemaking in 1976 after a prolonged hiatus. Produces one of the finest cool climate Shirazs in Australia, redolent of cherry, licorice and spice. JAMES HALLIDAY

finding a Cornas or Hermitage with the same finesse and complexity as a good Craiglee Shiraz would be a frighteningly expensive exercise MAX ALLEN

Pat Carmody is one of the Australian wine scene’s most notable characters and he tends one of our greatest patches of dirt planted to vines. The resulting Shiraz is an Australian vinous icon which is revered by collectors across this big brown land for its gorgeously fruited nature and its ability to age gracefully and grow in both stature and complexity if allowed to rest in a suitably dark, cool place for an appropriaye period of time. An old bottle of well kept Craiglee is a genuine joy to drink, the highest compliment one can offer a bottle of wine.

I think the story is well known but to, very, briefly recap; the property was first planted to vines in 1863. The original owners of the vineyard built an old gravity fed blue stone cellar (Pat still utilizes today). Their 1872 Shiraz was highly awarded internationally. The legend, told to all young wine industry folk, goes that a few bottles of this precious elixir was opened at a certain function in the mid 70s by some of Victoria’s wine elite of the time and the quality was so good that Pat was convinced to plant vines there again, which he did in 1976. James Halliday has a review for that wine on his site, tasted in 2011 which was 139 years old, which is well worth a read.

As to this year’s incarnation, well it’s predictably super. It has been said that Craiglee fares best in warmer years and the 2016 demonstrates that clearly as this is, in my mind, one of Pat’s wines that people will talk about in years to come. The kind of thing you pull out when you have to go to a dinner and the theme is “classic Australian producers in great vintages” or, if like most people, you don’t have to go to silly dinners like that then it’s the kind of wine you would rip out of the stash at some point when the weather has turned chilly and you are in need of a great bottle of Victorian Shiraz.

My love of these wines goes back to the very early days of my wine career and while my tastes have changed drastically over the years I still find immense pleasure in the wines of Craiglee, they are a unique and special prospect in the Aussie wine game and genuinely deserving of the reverence in which they are held by so many.

As is often the way there are no reviews for the wine yet so you will have to trust me when I say it’s remarkably good. Or you could take Pat’s near spotless record for crafting remarkable Shiraz. If neither of these will do then I guess you could hear what the great man himself has to say in a video of him talking about his 2016 Shiraz by clicking the link HERE.

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