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AP Birks “Wendouree” 1997 Shiraz (Clare Valley) – Shocking. That’s mostly a comment about the nose, which is a little insane: blackberry dust, volatility, and a huge stonking wallop of eucalyptus. It’s as if someone distilled the air in the Blue Mountains into shiraz form. Once one gets past the eucalypt, however, there’s a lot more to discover: the darkest possible black fruit streaked with anise, a dusty tannin that develops increasing bitterness as the wine lingers (and boy, does it linger), though eventually this bitter streak starts to grate a bit. Striking and incredibly individualistic. Probably not mature, but I have absolutely no baseline for that judgment. I’m not sure I would say it’s a “great” wine, nor would I want to drink it every night, but I absolutely love it. All wines should have this much character. (3/05)

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