Erin Larkin, the new Australian wine reviewer for well-known American wine magazine The Wine Advocate, has just completed a thorough assessment of South Australian Shiraz, including Kay Brothers’ selection.
Erin, from Western Australia, travelled to McLaren Vale for a few days of gruelling work, tasting through Shiraz from across the region. The article she wrote as a result: ‘The Pendulum swings form Shiraz to Syrah’ speaks to the new style of Shiraz seen to emerge from many of the South Australian regions:
“McLaren Vale… is the silky, spicy, exotic region for Shiraz in South Australia. If Barossa (including Eden) is bigger, earthier and more wholesome, McLaren Vale has polish, curves and magic. Like Barossa, McLaren Vale has a broad spectrum of producers making a broad array of styles, and you’d be remiss to compare the two regions or say one is better than the other. They are so different, and honestly, there are some days where a Barossa Shiraz just won’t hit the spot like McV will, and vice-versa. It was a 50/50 split of wines that could be categorized as either Shiraz or Syrah, but I felt there was a stylistic swing toward Syrah in McLaren Vale.”
And what was her verdict on the Kay Brothers wines?
“This 2020 Basket Pressed Shiraz shows the concentration and vitality that the warm 2020 brought with it. Despite all the plump, voluminous fruit generosity, this is possessed of a savoury line of tannin through the palate, stitched together by briny acidity. Solid and good.” 92 points
“2019 was a warm year in South Australia, and the reds produced in this season are across the board concentrated, compacted and dense. This applies to this 2019 Hillside Shiraz: the oak encases the fruit at this stage, and the wine has a distinct charry/resinous/midnight countenance. Everything about it feels built for the long haul, and usually I would encourage people to drink wine whenevr they saw fit, but I really believe this will be better in even two years from now.” 93+ points
BLOCK 6 SHIRAZ 2019 *SOLD OUT
“This 2019 Block 6 Shiraz is a concentrated, plush, velvety wine with no gaps in its outlay of flavor in the mouth. It is clearly built for long haulage, and it shows all the signs of aging gracefully and slowly in the cellar. The fruit is so powerful and so crouched currently that it has barely made it up off its haunches. this wine is lovely, dark and deep, with miles to go in the cellar it keeps.” 95+ points