1990 Craiglee Shiraz

“selected and bottled at Craiglee exclusively for Walter’s wine bar”

Apparently a few barrels were kept in oak for a few months longer while the standard Craiglee Shiraz went on to win 27 gold medals and a clutch of trophies (is there another Australian non-fortified wine with a better show record?). I extricated this remnant bottle during a cleanup of the Craiglee stocks, and had no clue that it was ever made (1990-1993 apparently).

I never got to Walters, even when located first in Rathdowne Street Carlton as “Maria and Walters”, but have been very fortunate to taste the 1990 Craiglee Shiraz many times, most recently in mid-January. I cannot discern the difference in the Walter’s selection. Its a 26 year-old wine from Sunbury Victoria, in stunning condition made by long-time winemaker Pat Carmody.

1990 craiglee shiraz

I broke the cork, but it had performed its duty.

The deep colour is more ruby than garnet; while there is clearly bottle development, the wine in still vibrant and fresh (and I would have guessed late 90’s). Its magically balanced, with sweet ripe raspberry and dark cherry aromatics and flavours swamping faint dusty oak. Yet this fruit-centred con concentrated medium- bodied wine is savoury and succulent with faint gamey nuances., and mingled peppers and spices. Long, long finish (>18 seconds).

An astonishing achievement and an eye-opener for those more familiar with traditional South Australian Shiraz; you can have depth of flavour without jamminess. Its more akin to a Northern Rhone wine in style. An utterly delicious drinking privilege, with the evidence pointing to at least another 10 years of life, cork permitting.

Drink to 2025, 96 points

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