The palate is medium weight, with flavors of dried herbs and spice with balanced dark fruits and very fine tannins leading to a savory, mouthwatering finish.
Things are cyclical. Movements come and shape popular culture for a time and then fade away. The Impressionists transformed the art world in the late 1800s. Grunge changed the radio dial and fashion in the early 1990s. And Down Under, a movement called the New Australia is upending the world of wine.
The New Australia is raging against everything that the old Australia represents — overblown, over-alcoholic, sticky-sweet wines with heavy oak and no sense of place. This style of wine put Australia on the map from 1995-2005 with brands like Yellowtail, Jacob’s Creek, etc. The bulk of these wines were coming from the warmest, almost desert-like climates on the continent — places like the Adelaide Plains and the Barossa Valley, where the heat is so intense the wines resembled grape jam more than grape juice.
The New Australia movement recognizes that the continent has some of the greatest natural growing areas in the world, areas with cool climates, diverse soils, and high elevation — the calling card for great, terroir-driven wines. The pendulum has swung with full force towards the cool growing areas in Australia: Tasmania, New South Wales, and Victoria.
We haven’t been the only ones paying attention; all of the top wine publications have been tracking this new movement. In March, Antonio Galloni’s Vinous called the New Australian wine industry “among the most dynamic in the world right now” in an article appropriately headlined, “Australia Rediscovers Its Mojo.”
One of the winemakers charting the course of New Australia is Adam Foster. Foster worked as a Michelin-starred chef in some of Victoria’s and London’s best kitchens before deciding to focus on wine. Lacking any formal training, Foster learned winemaking during stints at wineries in France and Australia, including M. Chapoutier, Ogier, Torbreck, and Jasper Hill. He launched Syrahmi in 2004 with a focus on Heathcote, in the highlands of Central Victoria.
We’ve been following Foster’s rise since that first vintage in 2004 and no one was better positioned to make the most of the excellent 2015 vintage in Heathcote. The summer of 2015 was dry and warm with very cool nights. At harvest, the crop level was minuscule — less than 2 tons of small-berry Shiraz per acre. Sugars were high, yet those cool nights helped retain excellent acidic vibrancy. The tiny crop size made for a quick harvest under extraordinary conditions.
The 2015 “Demi” by Syrahmi is Foster’s most delicious Shiraz to date. The Demi blends four vineyards across Heathcote, Victoria, including vines planted on sandy loam soils more than 50 years ago. Deep, dark crimson in color with bright purple hue. Aromas of violets, black cherry, black olive tapenade, black pepper, and ground coffee. The palate is medium weight with flavors of dried herbs and spice with balanced dark fruits and very fine tannins leading to a savory, mouthwatering finish. The natural acidity keeps the wine vibrant and alive. Drink now-2026.
If you’re interested in rediscovering Australia, we can think of no better winemaker than Adam Foster, and no better wine than the 2015 Syrahmi Shiraz Heathcote Demi, which is just showing up on the radars of wine lovers and wine journalists alike. At $28/bottle, you will not find a better classically made Shiraz anywhere in the world. Act now before the world finds out and prices it out of reach. Only 500 bottles available.
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