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Australian Wine Review - Review by Andrew Graham

Hitting McLaren Vale's deepest notes with Inkwell's Perfect Day Shiraz

Perfect Day - forever intertwined in my mind with the after effects of a bad trip to Mother Superior.

Curiously, Lou Reed's classic is a love song if you go just by the lyrics, but it seems haunting too - there's a sense of longing and lost love woven through the song.

Or maybe that's just me looking for the darkness...

Unsurprisingly, this wine comes from one of the deeper thinkers of Australian wine, Dudley Brown. Besides growing grapes and making wine, Dudley has quite a talent for forensic-like dissections of wine industry issues, laced with the odd skewering of wine industry bureaucrats (I love a good skewering).

Given this appreciation for the mind behind the wine, critically appreciating one of Dudley (and Irina)'s vinous creations can be problematic. I understand where the wine is 'coming from' a little too much, which might mean I'm more likely to forgive foibles.

This wine reviewing gig is harder than it looks.

Still, this Inkwell Shiraz is something to be admired, particularly within the 'full-bodied' McLaren Vale Shiraz frame of reference focused upon by winemaker's like Drew Noon.

Produced from the Inkwell vineyard, this Perfect Day Shiraz is 'larger than life'. It's cast in a mould that is mouthfilling and mouthcoating, the 21 months in barrel (with a slightly higher new oak percentage than the Inkwell I & I Shiraz), full ripeness (14.6% alc.) and a dash of Primitivo giving this a saturating boldness that is unequivocally big.

Indeed it just looks massive, the colour a thick purple blackness that hints at what lays inside like a pool of black lava. Fittingly, it smells and tastes just as dense, with a huge coffeed richness, long, plums-with-blood-and bone meaty richness and warm, just slightly stewed, drying finish.

Sounds big doesn't it? Over-powering big? But that's the rub - for all that largesse of flavour the detail is meticulous, the tannins and BBQ t-bone core as savoury and unadulterated as possible. There are no bucketloads of tartaric required for balance here, just intensely flavoured, perfectly ripened Shiraz (Dudley is a grower, not a winemaker, so grapes are where this wine is at).

I hate slipping too far into wine wankery, but there is only one way to describe something like this - and that's big wine artistry. In some ways it is too big, too ripe and too full, yet in the context of style this is a heroic (and even measured) wine.

Details: 14.6%, Screwcap, $40

Source: Sample, tasted Dec 14

Drink: 2014-2024

Score: 18.7/20, 95/100

Would I buy it? In a big wine mood I'd drink half a bottle of this no sweat. Meat cooked over an open flame and truffled potatoes are this wines companions.

Published on 28/12/2014

Link to the review

The  Vinsomniac - Review By Stuart Robinson

I'm glad I spent it with you. In memory of Lou Reed.

Savoury: plum skins, blueberry and dusky violets. It's intense, there's a drive and verve to the wine, yet also - at odds to that - effortless.

The palate speaks of ultra-fine tannin, graphite; a never ending flow of flavour, problems all left alone. 

Effortless, perpetual and unforced. If you seek proof of winemaker Dudley Brown's many talents, look no further. 94

Tasted on: Wednesday 22nd October, a Root day
Source: Sample
Price: $40
Alcohol: 14.6%
Closure: Screwcap

Link to the review

InDaily - review by Philip White

$40; 14.6% alcohol; screw cap; 94+++ points

A touch more new French oak in the barrel selection and a dab of the Calabrian Primitivo has given this wine more smug carbon darkness right from the start. It has everything the I & I projects, but in a more authoritative and monumental form. Like the stony faces of Easter Island or the Sphinx, it’s gonna take a long time for its countenance to weather and fall.

There’s intensely compressed and ultra-smooth fruit in the bouquet, but that’s only the beginning. Think of melting iron in a limeburner’s kiln and you’re beginning to get close. Take a schlück and the gums and cheeks wince hungrily, reaching for the dribbling pink steak and a stack of field mushrooms in butter and lemon, a reduction of this wine, barely-ground black peppercorns and cream all over the top. This is not for vegan diets. But it is a ravishing thing.

While it’s dedicated to Lou Reed and named after one of his most childishly hopeful songs, I reckon that at this baby stage it’s a lot more Metal Machine Music on vinyl. It’s the sort of wine I’d prefer to drink in quadrophonic headphones. Clunk. Hiss. Schlurp. Chew. Choof. Chill with a grin.

Published on 6 November 2014

Link to the review

The Wine Front - review by Campbell Mattinson

“In memory of Lou Reed”. Great song it is too. 4% primitivo. All French oak, but only 26% new. This is the “standard” Inkwell shiraz named anew.

It’s such a succulent wine. So inky too. And so fruit pure. It’s a wine that simply wants to be drunk. It tastes of blackberry, blueberry, violets and chocolate, with a sheer opulent ooze of concentrated plum. It’s fresh, intense and welcoming all at once. It’s quite a beauty. 

Rated : 95 Points
Alcohol : 14.6%
Price : $40
Closure : Screwcap
Drink : 2015 - 2025+

Posted: 21 October 2014