The wine rack yielded a gem that's lain gathering dust for a few months: Peter Lehmann's Moppa Shiraz from 2008. It's available from Tesco in store for around £15 a bottle - a little more than we'd usually spend for a Sunday night, but sometimes love knows no bounds.
Australia's Barossa Valley, where this wine is from, is probably the spiritual home of Shiraz, and is home to some of the oldest Shiraz vines around. This patch around 60km north east of Adelaide is home to Australia's most famous (and most expensive?) wine, Penfold's Grange, and produces reds with great aging potential, as well as a number of high quality whites, including Eden Valley Rieslings.
The Moppa is named after a small area in the northwest of the valley where two families have vineyards which produce the fruit for this wine. In fact, 98% of Peter Lehmann's wines are produced from grapes grown by independent family businesses, as he only grows 2% of his own grapes.
There is a special offer on at Tesco wine online right now and as an indication of how good this wine was, I've just ordered another 6 bottles gaining a 25% discount and bringing it in at equivalent of £12.96 a bottle. In fact, all of Tesco's Australian fine wine has a 25% discount, currently, to help you celebrate Australia day this coming weekend. What better reason for stocking up on some favourites from Penfolds, D'Arenberg or Yalumba if not the Peter Lehmann? They'll deliver next day free on any order over £50.
So what does it taste like? This is a powerful wine. It's 14.5% alcohol, yet it feels incredibly balanced, and velvety smooth. It's full of rich, ripe dark fruits, plums, blackberries and also has some liquorice, the expected spiciness but also some vanilla or mocha tones. This wine can be enjoyed with a good steak but is also perfectly fine to drink stand alone as long as you love full and long flavours. The tannins are well integrated, and it's starting to show some flavours from it's age, which will develop further: smoke, leather, cigar box. It's a fine wine, and it has a screw cap, but the producer anticipates it will age well in bottle for another 5 years. I seriously doubt any of mine will last that long.
If you like your red wines, light, fresh and strawberry, this isn't the wine for you. But if you like them big and bold then grab a bottle and climb right in. You'll feel less like Jean Valjean and more like royalty. The purple teeth rating is 11/10. Even after a double brushing my tongue was still stained blue. Do not drink a glass of this before going out!
It's a wine that makes you selfish, you won't want to share it, and when it's done, you'll want to lick the label to get those last remaining drops that came down the outside of the bottle. Oh? That's just me?
With Australia day on Saturday 26th of January, I can think of no better reason for opening the bottle of Peter Lehmann's Stonewell Shiraz that I've been saving. Watch this space...