One of the Greatest Bargain Australian Shiraz We’ve Tasted
After winemaker Matt Fowles prepared a braised wild-shot rabbit leg in tomatoes, white wine, fresh herbs and artichokes to showcase his “Are you Game? Shiraz” — we grabbed every bottle we could get our hands on of this full-throttle, blockbuster under-$15 bargain of the year. In April, 350 cases disappeared into the cellars of our most avid bargain-hunters. We’ve secured another 150-case allocation from this Wine Spectator “Winery to Watch,” which listed the previous vintage of this offer in their coveted Top 100. But don’t just take it from us — Australia’s leading critic, James Halliday, called Fowles an “outstanding winery,” rating it 5 stars, while the Great Australian Shiraz Challenge has named Fowles’ Shiraz “Australia’s Best.” The 2013 Fowles Wine “Are you Game?” Shiraz delivers a full-bodied, richly textured palate, with copious layers of black fruit and savory spice. At just $13.99 per bottle, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate hit it right on the head in its 91+point review, calling it “an absolute bargain of a cracking Shiraz!” A case-buy if there ever was one.
Fowles 2013 “Are You Game?” Shiraz makes the case for one of the greatest bargain Australian Shiraz we’ve tasted. The same kind of rough, crumbled-granite vineyards in the Northern Rhône that attracted Franck Balthazar to Cornas and Michel Chapoutier to the hill of Hermitage also called winemaker Matt Fowles to the Strathbogie Ranges in Victoria. The old-vine Shiraz for the “Are you Game?” bottling comes from Upton Run and Billi’s vineyards — two high-elevation, cool-climate sites, riddled with granitic boulders and granite-laced soils, perched in Victoria’s Strathbogie Ranges, some 70 miles northwest of Melbourne.
Owner Matt Fowles’ organic farming principles and dedication to sourcing fruit from the best sites calls to mind the same high standards and savoir faire that has made Franck Balthazar and Michel Chapoutier the most trusted names in the Rhône Valley. And from his perch just north of Australia’s Great Dividing Range, Matt Fowles is fast becoming Victoria’s most trusted name in Shiraz.