Fox Creek; a vertical of the Reserve Shiraz


The 2006 is a real class act. Combining elegance and intensity. It’s a total contrast to the cooler and more restrained 2007, a wine for europhiles. And oh, mustn’t forget about the so elegant 2005 or the concentrated 2004. 4 vintages. 4 wines with a common denominator but with differing styles. There’s one more, the 2001 Reserve Shiraz. Paul has brought this one to show the change of style at Fox Creek; from a more generous kind of wine aged primarily on American oak, to one which is allowed to do some terroir interpretation.

I’m meeting Paul Rogers at Fox Creek and we’re tasting five vintages of their reserve wine. At the same time, we’re having a really nice
chat. Not so much about the wines, they speak for themselves. Nope, during the short time we meet we manage to discuss the importance of social media, the reputation of McLaren Vale, blind-tastings, that we should drink more double magnums, and how educational it can be to follow a young winery, unbound of tradition, in their attempts of interpreting the terroir.

I guess the last point doesn’t attract all kinds of wine lovers but for me it’s a way of learning and understanding. I am allowed to get in on the process, to get that ‘Aha, so this is what’s happening when you do it like that’-feeling. Although there was only one wine to represent the kind of wine too many still believes down under is all about, the message was clear; Fox Creek has changed preferences and all the wines from 2004-2007 showed less oak, more elegance and perhaps most important of all; a respect for every vintage. Perhaps the first decade of wine making got them there?

Short tasting notes on the Reserve Shiraz vertical:

2007 – (92-93 p) This is the wine for Aussie skeptics. A cooler season has resulted in a Euro-Shiraz. More mineral driven than the other vintages. I like it – a lot. Give it some hours in the decanter if you can’t keep your fingers away.

2006 – (93-94 p) Oh, what a beauty. Such intensity but never intrusive. Humus and Victoria plums, sensitive oak treatment. What a tannin grip and intensity on the palate. Loads of fruit. Still a young wine with a brilliant future ahead.

2005 – (93-94 p) The most elegant in the quintet. Seductive and already showing some complexity. This is finesse the McLaren Vale way! Mood will decide if I go for this one – or the 2006.

2004 – (91-92 p) Some similarities with the 2006 but perhaps lacking the charm. Fine balance on the palate and good structure. It doesn’t hurt to drink. Not at all.

2001 (89-90 p) – at the top. Now. A generous wine with lots of ripe dark berries, smooth tannins and vanilla oak. Give me some BBQ and I’ll probably love it and drink the lot!

The property was bought already back in 1984 but the first wine to hit the market was the 1994 Fox Creek Shiraz. The soil at Fox Creek is rich in heavy clay. For a curious winery that means they just got to try Merlot. Done. I’m sitting with the result in my glass – a 2008 Reserve Merlot (90-91 p). Lots of grape typicity; plums, licorice, humus, grass, slightly floral and dark cherries. Good mouth-feel and a youthful tannin grip; this baby has the future and shows Merlot can be quite delicious when it says McLaren Vale – and Fox Creek.

Thanks for the show Paul. Cheers mate!

PS. Invited by the importer to meet Paul. For a more detailed read on the 2007, click here.