2006 Wirra Wirra Church Block (Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Merlot), McLaren Vale

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VERDICT: "Go for it"
Australia, McLaren Vale
Church Block (Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Merlot), 14.5% alc.
www.wirrawirra.com Review by Clinton Stark

The label on this Australian wine states, “The 2006 selection of Cabernet Sauvignon (50%), Shiraz (30%) and Merlot (20%) is another masterful blend”. And I would agree. This is a nice twist on the typically excellent Shiraz we see coming out of McLaren Vale. A nice plus is this blend results in a dialed-down boldness — but not too much — making it more approachable for folks who find some of the famous Aussie “fruit bombs” too much to tame.

Church Block was in fact the first wine produced (by the late Greg Trott) under the Wirr Wirra label in 1972. Over the years it has become a local favorite there… or should I say, “favourite”.

Once again, do not let the screw top fool you. Does it still? Well I suppose some habits die hard, and I think corks are here to stay. I appreciate their classic qualities, and I realize at a party nothing quite beats uncorking a fine bottle with friends and family. But the screw top is making inroads, slowly but surely. We’re seeing them enter the US market predominantly from New Zealand (Kim Crawford, for example), and also Australia. 

So then, how did this wine fare?

Very drinkable. Smooth. Perhaps a little short on the finish, but I think that’s part of its blended pedigree, and as a result it feels somewhat less then an all out assault of your taste buds, compared to the infamous Evil Shiraz. It just depends on what you’re in the mood for. 

In the glass, the wine has a casual medium ruby color. The nose is a little more interesting than a straight Shiraz because the Cabernet adds some tannins. I like that, as on the mouth it never feels flabby, as is often the case with lesser, fruit-laden examples. Some chocolate, plum and nice earthy tobacco flavor with some spice.

Highly enjoyable. I ended up drinking this one on its own. Although I suspect it would do well with BBQ and steaks. Definitely recommended.

Clinton Stark
Clinton shoots videos for Stark Insider. San Francisco Bay Area arts, Ingmar Bergman and French New Wave, and chasing the perfect home espresso shot 25 seconds at a time (and failing). Peloton: ClintTheMint. Camera: Video Gear