2018 Cabernet Shiraz
In July I had the pleasure of hosting Australian winemaker Stefano Lubiana for a few days when he was visiting the US from his namesake winery in Tasmania. I’d had the occasional bottle of his wine over the years when I visited my family, but it had been a long time since I’d seen him and wife Monique. 30 years ago I had dinner with them in South Australia before he left for Tasmania. I was at University of Illinois, but thinking of leaving my job to go into winemaking and he had recommended I should consider enrolling in one of the Oenology degree programs. It was only after he left that I thought of the generations of connections. My brother went to school with him, and my mother worked in his father’s tasting room at the Lubiana winery in my hometown. My grandfather sold grapes to his father for the Cabernet Shiraz blend that mentioned my grandfather on the label. How interesting that we had both left the hot interior valley of South Australia for cooler wine growing regions in our quests for making outstanding wines.
His visit made me reflect on the fun I’ve had by continuing the tradition of the Cabernet Shiraz blend that worked even in the hotter Riverland area we came from. I suppose some ideas are so good they work even in many different regions. The basis for the wine is the 2018 McGraw vineyard cabernet that was released in Spring of this year and it provided the structure and fruit while the addition of the estate Syrah softens the tannins and fills out the middle palate. The proportions of Cabernet and Syrah change each year, shaped by the conditions of the vintage and my assessment of cellaring potential and being able to be enjoyed upon release. This release of the 2018 is one of the best and will age in the cellar for 10+ years for those with time and good storage. Recommended with meat dishes or hearty foods or just to contemplate life’s many connections.