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The deeply colored 2005 Vasse Felix Estate Shiraz cuts a high profile in the glass. In addition, the wine’s pungent nose of black cherry fruit, cinnamon, plum, eucalyptus, pepper, and aniseed make it hard to resist. And on the palate, this powerful full-bodied Shiraz continues its lavish display with a hearty dollop of berry fruit, deep down spice, pepper, and toasted barrel flavors. Ripe and textured, but blessed with a solid underpinning of natural acidity and tannins, the 2005 Vasse Felix Estate Shiraz is quite reminiscent of the great Syrah wines of France’s Northern Rhône Valley. Moreover, the 2005 Vasse Felix Estate Shiraz exhibits all the character and stuffing to age gracefully for many more years. In fact, this is one Australian Shiraz worth laying down awhile longer; a year or more of additional ageing will pay handsome dividends. For those unable now to resist the wine’s heady appeal, we suggest they open the 2005 Vasse Felix Shiraz well ahead of serving (2 hours or more of aeration will only enhance the olfactory and accentuate the complex tones of this Margaret River beauty). And like most Shiraz, we advise serving this wine at cool room temperature (62°-66° F).
Big boned and packed with flavor, the 2005 Vasse Felix Estate Shiraz can play host to all kinds of game, grilled meats, and hearty sauces. Hangar Steak, served with roasted artichokes and topped with a celery root purée and bacon-infused Bordelaise sauce gets our nod. Marinated sirloin steak or a whole beef tenderloin, served medium rare with grilled or sautéed portabella mushrooms, provides another winning accompaniment to the Vasse Felix Estate Shiraz. With either of these pairings, the wine and the beef truly complement each other, allowing for the full flavor of each to be released in tandem. Lamb, rabbit, venison, and rich stews provide other excellent choices with this wine. And for more adventuresome diners, we suggest kangaroo steak, one of Western Australia’s perennial favorites with Shiraz. Rich stews and spicy grilled vegetables offer good companionship to a bottle of this tasty Shiraz, too. Enjoy!
Vasse Felix is the oldest commercial vineyard and winery in Western Australia. Many critics also consider it to be the finest winery in the state. It produces award winning Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot among reds and a bevy of excellent whites, including Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Thanks to astute winemaking and an ideal terroir, Vasse Felix consistently fashions compelling wines, which have served to put Western Australia on the viticultural map and raise the eyebrows of the world’s true connoisseurs. At the same time, Vasse Felix has inspired others in Australia’s largest state to follow suit.
The name Vasse Felix is derived from the Latin word for luck (Felix) and the name of an early 19th century French sailor (Vasse) who died while exploring the section of the captivating coast of Western Australia we now know as the Margaret River. At first, the name may seem quite ironic, but to anyone who has ever caught a glimpse of this eye-popping place, pure good fortune and a perpetually smiling face are no exaggerations when speaking of this enchanted land. Therefore, to die in such a place is far more fortunate than never to have seen it.
The Margaret River is a green temperate corner of Western Australia that sits beside the sea. Here the Margaret River makes its way through wooded hills and steep ridges carpeted with wild flowers, before sighing almost inaudibly into the gleaming Indian Ocean. Crystalline waters and high rolling surf offer Australia’s finest surfing as well as its most compelling seascapes. These very same waters, along with steady ocean breezes, a unique soil, and a Mediterranean climate also make Margaret River one of the finest natural wine producing areas on earth and a great place to peacefully whittle away the time.
In the early 1960’s, a scholar named John Gladstone was the first to recognize and publicize Margaret River’s special climate, soil, and conditions known as terroir. In a detailed account Gladstone wrote glowingly of the similarities between the finest wine producing regions of Bordeaux and Margaret River. Moreover, he extolled the perfect weather of Margaret River for the cultivation of the vine, especially for the traditional Bordeaux varietals. And, indeed, Gladstone’s proclamation has proven to be more than just wishful thinking, surpassing even his own expectations: In the past three decades the Margaret River has established itself as a world-class wine producing region for Shiraz and Chardonnay as well as the traditional Bordeaux varietals.
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