Thursday, 4 April 2013

‘G’Day Billi!’ Billi Billi 2008 Australian Shiraz

By Matt Horsley

"How about an Australian red?" isn't exactly the most novel advice in the world, but that's just the point: these days, they're everywhere and it's hard to find a truly impressive one. Enter: the Billi Billi Shiraz.

So-called because of the large creek that runs through the property, it's a fantastic example of just how a good value and accessible Australian spicy Shiraz should taste. 

Produced in the historic wine region of The Grampians in Western Victoria, the Billi Billi benefits from the slightly cooler temperatures created by a combination of altitude and sea air to create a well-balanced and tangy red.

In the glass it is a deeply inviting ruby with a touch of plum. The nose gives highly perfumed notes of red fruit, particularly raspberry and strawberry with a deep lying spice (cinnamon features heavily) and a dash of white pepper; just to keep you on your toes. This is what I really love about New World Reds - their ability to jump out of the glass and describe almost exactly how it is going to taste and evolve on the palate.

Sure enough, a sip takes you from the red berry fruitiness through to the spicy, medium to full bodied punch you would expect from a 14.5% Auzzie wine. Although intense, it is the way this wine delivers those flavours that really makes it a great wine: rather than attacking your taste buds, it is smooth and velvety soft, coating your mouth with flavourful tannins resulting in a long and pleasant finish. You little rippa!

Although drinkable on its own, it has a great staying power and ability to stand up to food. I would recommend with: rare steak, pigeon and even spiced tomato-based dishes (I had it with a spicy chicken, tomato and cannellini bean stew and it was a great match). Avoid lightly salted meats, they'd fight too much with the tannin.

Altogether a fantastic wine for either relaxing in front of the TV or trying to impress your nearest and dearest at a dinner party.

Matt's score: 8/10

Available from The Wine Society for £8.50 (you have to join as a member to order), or alternatively TheDrinkShop sells it for £9.65.

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