Thursday, July 17, 2008

Xanadu Frankland River/Margaret River Shiraz, 2001

Xanadu wines appeared in my wine market, deeply discounted, about three or four years ago. As I understand it, complex changes were taking place in the ownership of the winery and apparently someone in the supply chain needed cash rather than a stockpile of wines. Regularly priced at $20 to $30 a bottle, the Xanada Chardonnay, Shiraz and Cabernet were offered for $8 to $12 retail. Western Australian wines (especially Margaret River and Frankland River appellations) are well known for their elegance and fruit purity and rarely sell at that price level. I took advantage of the buying opportunity and served Xanadu Chardonnay at my daughter's wedding.

This is the last bottle of Xanadu Shiraz I had in my cellar, and it is drinking significantly better than it was four years ago. From afar, the color is deep, dark and bluish; up close, you can detect a slight browning and maturation. It's at a good stage of development right now. I smell and taste blackberries, red raspberries, plums and a touch of French oak that is well integrated with the fruit. Some leather/shoe polish tones are beginning to develop; at this stage, they are just enough to add complexity to the well defined fruit. Flavors are ripe, full, friendly and slightly tingly (14% alcohol). Most good quality Australian Shiraz wines tend to start showing their best at around age eight, and this is a prime example. I still have a few bottles of the 2000 Xanadu Cabernet but am going to wait a couple of years before trying these again.

You might still see some bottles of the 2001 Xanadu Shiraz in shops. If so, try it first before buying in quantity. If it's come recently from an air conditioned warehouse, it's still going to be fine, but if it has been sitting on the shelf for four years, subject to temperature fluctuations and light, it's not likely to drinking as well as the wine I had last night from my cool cellar.

1 comment:

  1. Just bought a bottle - an orphan at a local grocery store; always cellared.

    WOW! Excellent pour - and you're right; it ages well. Blueberry, dark, heavy...interesting pour!

    I concur with your review.