Craiglee Shiraz 2017

Sunbury and the Macedon Ranges winemakers are ecstatic. One respondent rated the ripening conditions as the best this century, another went back further to the 1990s. Overall, low to moderate yields will be very high quality. 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 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

Not an exaggeration to say this is one of my favourite Australian Shiraz. It is a little hard to remove the sentimentality attached to these wines for me, but I like to think I am a professional enough taster to examine a wine on its merits and make an educated estimation of the quality. It is my opinion that this wine is grouse. I don’t think you can use that descriptor for a wine produced anywhere outside of Australia but it does work for something like this.

I have never been shy in my praise for the Shiraz produced at Craiglee. In fact I have probably annoyed more than a few people by telling them how much I love these wines.

Rather than recap the story, which most people will be familiar with. Or go through all the accolades and praise that has been heaped on this wine over the decades gone by, this time I thought I would simply say this is a great rendition of classically styled Craiglee. The kind of wines that I fell in love with in the early days of my career and have continued to cherish throughout my time in the trade. You may recall my rant when his cheaper JADV was released? If not the summary is that 2017 is a vintage that feels like Craiglee of days gone by for me. I felt like that with the JADV and that was reaffirmed with the Shiraz.

I got a text from Michael the other day, around dinner time actually, it read “how do you rate that Craiglee mate?”. These kinds of messages from Michael usually lead in to some discussion about if a wine lives up to its reputation or one of us shaking our heads wondering what all the fuss is about. I replied with “It’s good!”. Wasn’t sure at that point if I had missed something and the big boss was going to school me on it. Turns out he just wanted to say “I think it’s classic Graiglee. Like one of the originals made by them”. What do they say? Great minds think alike, but so do Michael and I when it comes to wine.

He also pointed went on to say “I really like it, almost like the fragrance of the thing more than drinking it”. That is very much old school Craiglee for me. They are aromatically enticing when young but they hold a lot of their potential in reserve for later. It’s why they can be overlooked a lot in their youth. They are wines that grow in and transform beautifully with time.

It’s all class and true pedigree. No crazy analogies from me here. No spiels about how this wine will transform your life. I think Michael and Jane (review below) have conveyed my thoughts in a manner more befitting a wine of this stature than I tend to do when I get excited.
It’s a classic Craiglee and one day it will grow in to something special to behold.

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