Wine: Shaw and Smith Pinot Noir
Region: Adelaide Hills
Best opened: 2016
Shaw and Smith’s M3 Chardonnay is one of Australia’s best, and their Shiraz has been running the baton for the cool-climate alternative longer than I’ve been allowed to drink. Even the ubiquitous Sauvignon Blanc, extolled by yummy mummies everywhere, is undeniably good here.
But what about the Pinot? You wouldn’t be vacuous to ask why ‘South Australia’ and ‘Pinot Noir’ seldom see each other in a sentence.
Even Shaw and Smith winemakers Martin Shaw and Michael Hill-Smith agree, purchased a plot in Tasmania, and late last year released superb Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from their Tolpuddle Vineyard. It’s nearly double the price of its Adelaide Hills forebear, but is it twice as good?
While the pinot grape is usually at home elsewhere, the truth is winemakers from the Adelaide Hills are making some damn good plonk with it. Ask anyone who’s had a tipple of Ashton Hills 2012 Reserve and they’ll put you into your place for suggesting South Australia and Pinot Noir should stay on separate teams.
Shaw and Smith’s 2012 offering is their finest yet: the weather was less fractious than previous years and the wine isn’t shy in saying so; there’s currant and spice and a finish I wanted from bygone vintages. There’s raspberry and clove and after an hour the white pepper and tannins are sexy smooth.
The downside: the crop yield was lower than expected, which means if you like it, be sure to clutch your case sooner rather than later.
Best keep this bottle under the bed a little longer. But if you can’t wait, be sure to dabble soon, before duck disappears out of season. Best served sitting on a verandah with some company, a confit duck leg, and a few additional bottles to take into the night. Just in case.