Worth Dying For? The Executioner 2007

George warned me about this wine.

He (and by “He” I mean George Shinas, owner and winemaker) warned me that I better grab a lot of this wine, because there’s not much of it and it’s the best thing he’s ever made.

That’s saying something, because George makes really good wine. You can read all about it in my other post, “Taking Australia to Court.”

But here’s the story behind his latest creation. Shinas Estates makes three wines at their winery in Victoria, Australia: a Shiraz called “The Guilty,” a Cabernet Sauvignon called “The Verdict,” and a Viognier called “The Innocent.” From the 2007 vintage he left some wine in the barrel after he did his primary bottling, and early in 2011 he blended all three and bottled it as “The Executioner.”

You’re seeing a pattern in those names, right? And if I tell you that George is a criminal court judge, you’ll get it, right?

So The Executioner blends 55% Shiraz, 43% Cabernet Sauvignon and just a touch (2%) Viognier. You may think, “Hmmm, Viognier is a white grape, so what’s it doing in a red wine?” Well, it’s actually quite traditional in France’s Rhone region to blend Viognier with Syrah and other red grapes, and many Aussie winemakers do it, too.

So how does The Executioner drink? Let’s talk color and aromas first. The color is opaque and burgundy t0 brick red, suggesting a lot of extraction and a little maturity. The nose suggested softness and richness, with a loamy herbal aromas that developed into dark berries and mocha.

The palate showed red cherry/berry fruit and a nice hit of spice, and the best part was… it was rich but not heavy. The structure supported the fruit in such a way that I got intensity that wasn’t dense or jammy. I loved this pat of it. Then the finish lingered nicely.

George did a great job with this blend: he made 1 + 1 + 1 = 4. The Shiraz gave it spice, the Cabernet gave it structure, and the Viognier, a deliacy and softness.

Way to go, George. The website said The Executioner is “worth dying for.” Try it for yourself and see, although you may have trouble finding it because “production is so small it’s a crime punishable by death.” Cheers!





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