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Archive for November, 2011

An Interview with Miles Corish

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

Having been massively impressed with Finch’s Line Shiraz ’07 the wonderful chaps at Find Wine arranged for me to speak to Miles Corish, the winemaker behind the wine itself.

(1) What is the ultimate goal for Finch’s Line?

Finch’s Line began life as an attempt to create (or recreate) a traditional expression of Hunter Valley Shiraz. I therefore try to source old vine, dry-farmed fruit that is then handled without too much intervention other than ensuring that as much of the vintages character is maintained whilst avoiding faults.  Wild yeasts, gentle extraction (pigeage), basket pressing, and maturation in larger older oak puncheon (25% new) are some of the techniques employed. The ultimate goal for Finch’s Line is to develop sales to the degree that they support a dedicated, permanent base within the Hunter Valley.

(2) Do you think the future of Aussie Shiraz is moving away from the typical Southern Australian style?

Throughout the late 80s, 90s and early 00s, some producers of Australian Shiraz (encouraged by certain high profile wine writers) made wines that championed a super extracted, concentrated style. It was almost as if concentration rather than complexity was the key to quality and in many instances, this was at the expense of terroir. Happily these styles (a number of which were South Australian) are now evolving. Producers have become increasingly aware of how to get the best out of their sites and are less fixated on phenolic ripeness and extended maturation in small new oak. Given that our climate will, in general, limit the production of ultra delicate styles of Shiraz, producers are continuing to adapt winemaking methods to enable the creation of balanced, more complex, terroir driven wines. Techniques utilised include slightly earlier picking, placing more emphasis on fruit (less and larger oak, lower ferment temperatures), and adding less acid (slightly higher pH = better mouthfeel). In summary, I do believe that the future of high quality Australian Shiraz is to continue to evolve away from the more super-concentrated “typically Australian” styles of the past.

(3) Who do you particularly admire in the wine world?

Maurice O’Shea. I have been lucky enough to taste three wines that he made from the 40s and 50s and they remain the most fragrant, flavoursome, refined and complex wines I have tasted to date. A genius, and underappreciated.

(4) What’s your view on English wines?

From those that I have tasted, some of the whites have been interesting whereas I think reds (particularly Pinot) struggle to ripen (in terms of flavour). In contrast, sparkling wines show huge potential and for me offer the best route to prosperity.

(5) And the question everybody hates…. If you were to be one wine what would it be and why?…..

Barolo. Adaptable enough to embrace modernity yet traditional at heart – with maturity and under the right conditions, capable of developing complexity and refinement.

 


Finch’s Lines Shiraz, Hunter, Australia, £19.99

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

We have unleashed our critic on one of my favourite wines we have ever sold!

I make no secret of my love for Australian Shiraz, but like many people I’ve become increasingly keen on examples which shy away from the massive fruitbomb typed wines that previously have defined this wine.

Happily this has been replicated by a number of Australian winemakers, including those from South Australia, previously Fruitbomb Alley, showing the same preference…..

The Hunter Valley has never in my view embraced wines of a massively over extracted style, preferring to keep things slightly more Rhone-like. I find myself buying more and more wines of this style which has also seen me becoming increasingly keen on Syrah from Hawkes Bay amongst other New Zealand regions.

I was aware of the love for Finch’s Line at Find Wine when chatting to Mike Howes, and once he offered to send one I didn’t even try to play cool. I insisted he send it immediately which Mike thankfully did. Mike also sent a link to Jamie Goode’s blog where Jamie was effusive in his praise for Finch’s Line Shiraz (see http://www.wineanorak.com/australia/finchsline).

This wine is one which made an enormously positive early impression. My initial thought was of how pure the wine is, it’s just so clean and crisp. The purity of fruit, mainly blackberry and plum, wash over you leaving you keen for more and ensuring that the bottle seems very small indeed. It reminded me a lot of the top end Syrah coming out of Hawkes Bay.

To add to this awesome wine, just as I took my first sip a power cut hit, leaving us to drink the bottle in candle light. You couldn’t wish for a better setting to try a wine like this!

I’m not one for exaggeration, but this is one of the best wines I’ve had this year. I urge you to try it for yourself (though please, don’t buy it all….)