I've seen Stonehaven wines for under $10 so I wasn't impressed when I saw this one for $10.99 on the closeout shelf at Harding's Market. A closer look revealed that it's Stonehaven's premium Limestone Coast Shiraz (usually selling for more than $20 retail) and that it has enough age on it that it should be showing well. Having tried it, I'm sorry I didn't buy more.
The color is deep and dark, nearly opaque. I also detect some coffee oak tones in the bouquet; but this is not your typical inky Aussie Shiraz. Smells and flavors are well defined--red berries and mint as well as black fruit and dark chocolate. It tastes less tannic than it smells, gliding smoothly along the palate, leaving a trail of fruit-oriented flavors and a long finish. I want more of this wine.
Suzanne Bell, the winemaker at Stonehaven, is proud of the vineyards that produce this Limestone Coast Shiraz. They are located south of Adelaide, on the coast between Padthaway and Coonawarra. Although the vines there are younger than those in Coonawarra, the elevation is higher, and the terra rossa soil is the same. She likes the cool growing season for the same reason I do: it brings out well defined fruit flavors. Stonehaven is a label that I will now look at more seriously.