This wine is much improved from the last bottle I had a couple of months ago. Although it's a very enjoyable Shiraz that received 91 points from the Wine Advocate, in my opinion, it has neither the upfront charm nor the substance of the Vieux Chene Vin de Pays reviewed below.
The color is nearly opaque and bluish. Aromas show all the best qualities of Shiraz--blackberry, cassis and only a hint of herbs for complexity. Ripe and bold but not oaky. On the palate, it's full bodied but smooth, again with no hint of oak or rough tannins. Good fruit presence.
The label reveals that the Strong Arms image derives from an alcohol level of 15.5 percent. It seems to me that the relatively high alcohol lifts the aromas, frames the fruit and adds body, leaving the impression of a big wine but without tannic toughness. Many winemakers from warm climates such as Australia seem to be favoring this type of wine, and there's no question that it has an appeal. At this stage, I don't detect any alcoholic heat nor raisined qualities, and the wine is not made for aging.