Last week we spent a couple of enjoyable and informative hours with Shingleback winemaker Jahn Davey, from Australia’s McLaren Vale. Wines tasted ranged from Shingleback 06 D-Block Shiraz (sequel to the celebrated 05 Jimmy Watson award winner) to value-based workhorse Red Knot Shiraz (BCLS $19.99) and Cabernet.
The nicely designed Red Knot package comes with the nifty Zork closure, which you can either pull off by just holding the scored plastic capsule wrap between finger and thumb. Or, as John does, deftly wrap it around your first and second finger as you unravel it.
John is a firm believer in the Adelaide-developed ‘Red-Ripper’ (at least at the Red Knot level), which is also seen as being more environmentally friendly (it’s fully recyclable) than the now widely accepted ‘screw-cap’ (usually Stelvin) cork alternative. The winemaker also has some interesting things to say about Zork’s slight ‘breathability’ compared to Stelvin’s full seal deal.
Aside from being a very sound alternative to cork, (in fact, it even has the ‘pop’!) and a great answer to cork taint, one of Zork’s biggest selling points is: it’s easy to use. Here’s a cute video that extolls its virtues!
Zork recently introduced a ‘peel, twist and pull’ SPK closure for sparkling wine that comes with its own built-in resealable clip grip to keep your bubbles fresh. Now that’s smart! In fact UK giant Tesco has already picked it up for a couple of budget sparklers.
Shingleback Red Knot Shiraz 08 delivers good regional McLaren Vale value for (BCLS $19.99) with straight on, up-front Aussie Shiraz style that wraps vanilla, cassis and black fruit in a balanced, juicy palate with a spicy end. Certainly not over the top. But highly approachable—and for drinking not holding.
Bump it up a notch for the estate grown Shingleback Shiraz 06, which suggests some coffee-mocha notes on top before a generous, mouth-filling palate that yields ripe red and black black fruit, underpinned by juicy acidity with well integrated, easy tannin structure. We enjoyed it with Gramercy Grill’s plump, Salt Spring mussels in a mildly spicy tomato and chorizo filled broth: a surprising but convincingly good match. BCLS Specialty $29.00.
The Shingleback itself (which features prominently on the estate wine labels), just like its namesake wines, is not your average critter. The heavily scaled, stumpy-tailed lizard not only mates for life but also gives birth to live young and—as the Daveys tell it—will also happily move into any available space a home can offer, as long as it’s quiet, comfortable and private!