Variety is the spice of life” says, Wyndham Estate Chief Winemaker Nigel Dolan

George Wyndham, known as the father of Australian Shiraz planted Australia’s first commercial Shiraz vineyard in 1830 and has made this variety its signature grape.

… as we recently discovered at an exclusive, private and animated tasting at the fabulous Canoe Restaurant and Bar. George Wyndham, known as the father of Australian Shiraz planted Australia’s first commercial Shiraz vineyard in 1830 and has made this variety its signature grape. With Wyndham’s Bin 555 Shiraz, gaining ground here in Ontario (sales in Ontario increased by 5% last year) and being the number one selling Shiraz in Australia, Winemaker Dolan is eager to spice things up and showcase the breadth of his beloved grape. On a mission to enhance the consumers relationship with his beloved Shiraz, Dolan is offering us an opportunity to explore a new relationship. Several actually, that spell pleasure on the palate! Pleasure indeed, the evening was delightful with the introduction of two flights of red wines, a stupendous menu, a lively, dedicated and entertaining host as well as the charming and amusing winemaker with stories recounted as if he were Robert Munch!

To the event which began with a brief mingling of wine writers, radio hosts, Corby executive, Winemaker Nigel Dolan and a perfectly chilled glass of the BIN 222 Chardonnay. Delicious and delightful, the cast of characters are asked to be seated, and alas, we snag the plum seats! With Dolan across from us and the charismatic Constantine Constandis, we’re instructed to call him “Con” President of Corby’s to our left, the tasting, the fun and the education begins.

Below: Con Constandis President and CEO Corby and Nigel Dolan Chief Winemaker Wyndham Estate

Winemaker Dolan’s thoughts on the first flight of red wines “The loyal following of Bin 555 Shiraz will now have a selection to further enjoy with the recent worldwide release of Wyndham Estate Bin 525 Shiraz Grenache 2008 and the Canadian launch of Wyndham Estate Bin 515 Shiraz Viognier 2006, a departure from the 100% Shiraz wines that we have been enjoying up until now.” As the pioneers of Australian Shiraz, we combined our combined expertise with Australia’s most famous grape varieties and created two new blends full of intense fruit flavour”

We say this; To begin, two new Shiraz blends are coming our way this month. BIN 525 to start. Shiraz meet Grenache in a 51%-49% split; a chemistry ensues, a good partnership with richness, softness, fresh berry fruit, dark cherries and spice. And move over Grenache and let the perfume in!for Wyndham’s more feminine option, BIN 515, Shiraz Viognier offering a nose with a hint of floral and spice, ripe plum and those dark cherries again. Great values at $16.45

Note to culinary self: “Who would have thought, but the Spiced Ginger Tuna Tartar with Black Pepper & Squash Ribbons paired beautifully with the Shiraz Viognier.” Dolan explains it’s the hint of ginger in the Viognier that echoes in the tuna that makes this yummy! Agreed, although how many people would match a red wine with tuna tartar, not many! too bad!
Onward! to the second flight of wines, the award winning premium range, George Wyndham Founder’s Reserve, created as a tribute to the founder. “These wines epitomize Wyndham Estate’s winemaking philosophy – to offer soft, generous, ripe flavoursome wines” declares Dolan. “Canadian wine drinkers can now enjoy these intensely flavoured, upscale wines that will certainly indulge their senses” Dolan goes on to say as we sniff, swirl, and slurp the trio before us. Two blends, the first McLaren Vale/Barossa Valley Shiraz Grenache 2006, and the second, the Limestone Coast Shiraz Cabernet 2006, followed by the 100% Shiraz 2005 Vintage, all do just that. We all have our favourites, Three votes for the Shiraz Grenache, two for the Shiraz Cab and one for the straight Shiraz! although this is only a small sampling of the total poll. The consensus was 3 Gold Stars, all were abundant in concentrated fruit character, complexity and great weight.

Below: Spiced Ginger Tuna Tartar with Black Pepper & Squash Ribbons
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Finally, to the Black Cluster Hunter Valley Shiraz 2005, or as one of the writers in attendance eloquently put it! the “Blockbuster Black Cluster”, the icon wine in the Wyndham Estate portfolio, a single vineyard wine grown exclusively in Wyndham’s own Black Cluster Vineyard comprising 40 year old vines.
Sublime, elegant, complex and long lasting! we were talking about “relationships” earlier, this one’s a keeper! Unfortunately available only in Quebec for the moment but with hopes of the Black Cluster gracing our shelves some time soon. Oh, and if you do get your hands on a bottle, be sure to marry it with a dark Chocolate dessert made with Soma chocolate, as did the chef at Canoe, for this occasion. Simply to die for! To you mate!

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Bin 515 Shiraz Viognier 2006 $16.45 February 1st, 2009 LCBO General List
Bin 525 Shiraz Grenache 2008 $16.45 February 1st, 2009 LCBO General List
Bin 555 Shiraz 2005 $16.45 Available now LCBO General List

Founder’s Reserve Shiraz Cabernet $22.95 June 6, 2009, Limited Release
Founder’s Reserve Shiraz $22.95 August 15, 2009 Limited Release
Founder’s Reserve Shiraz Grenache $22.95 August 15, 2009 Limited Release

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