Thursday, April 28, 2016

Henry’s Drive 2009 Dead Letter Office Shiraz, South Australia

This wine from two of Australia’s great wine regions was just the delivery we needed. After sampling a spoiled wine, we rebounded with this great bottle.

Russ Knew What He Was Talking About

A few years ago I was visiting with my friend Russ. He began ranting on about Padthaway being a stellar wine region with great values. At the time I certainly had a love of Australian wines, but I don’t think I ever had a wine from Padthaway.

For once, Russ got something right! The wines from the southeastern corner of Australia are expressive and can be had for a song.

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Origin of Henry’s Drive

During the nineteenth century establishment of the farming and wine industries of southeastern South Australia, horse-drawn coaches provided the only transportation of mail and passengers. The coach service owner in this part of the state was Henry John Hill. His route went directly through a property owned more recently by three generations of the Longbottom family of Padthaway. Routes were known as Drives, and so the family’s wine business is today known as Henry’s Drive.

This is great information to share as you sip some of this outstanding Shiraz. Shiraz is the same grape as Syrah, but there are stylistic differences. Shiraz typically is more fruit driven than Syrah and in Australia can also have a touch of sweetness.


This Letter Is Not Dead

The name might be Dead Letter Office, but be assured this is a lively wine. I had pulled a different, older bottle from the cellar and Green Dragon planned on enjoying that. However, the wine had clearly peaked and come crashing down the other side of the mountain. I grabbed the Dead Letter Office get our groove back.

South Australia is the source of some of the best red wines in the country and includes well know regions Barossa Valley, Coonawara and McLaren Vale. As is common in Padthaway, this wine blends grapes from its home region as well as from another (in this case McLaren Vale).

The wine offers a heady aroma of jam. On the palate it is deliciously juicy with flavors of cooked cherries and blueberries. Add in notes of mint and vanilla, and you’ve got a bodacious sipping experience. The tannins are dialed back, so the texture is smooth and the finish lingering.

At $26, this was a nice value. Henry’s Drive has several tiers of wine with a 2009 Reserve Shiraz coming in at an $80 price, but others at more accessible prices. A special delivery of this wine is highly recommended.

Rating: 4 of 5  Value: 4.5 of 5

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