Syrah International

Welcome to the International #Syrah Day advertised by the Hospice du Rhone. Find another Hungarian Syrah Day participant here.

Today’s post marks the debut of our friend Attila Halász, guest writer & Aussie/Hungarian wine expert. Attila is of Hungarian origin, lives in Australia and he has over 20 years of experience in the wine world. His expertise includes aussie wines, with lots of old world & Hungarian experience. He is visiting Hungary on a regular basis since communism fell apart in 1989.

Here you can read Attila’s notes on a recent syrah tasting that also included a Buttler Syrah from Eger. The post arrived from Attila, and posted ‘as is’, using his scoring and commentary.


It was a warm Thursday night in February when three of us gathered in a quiet Sydney suburb to taste a line up of fine Hunter Valley new releases from the 2009 vintage. Our focus was on Shiraz with two European terroir driven Syrah thrown into the mix. One of them was an interesting red from Hungary’s Eger region by Gróf Buttler, the other, the crazy Granite 30 from Vincent Paris of the Rhone. All wines were tasted blind.

The tasting was conducted by Sydney based wine writer, Gary Walsh of The Wine Front and co-author of the 2010/11 edition of The Big Red Wine Book. Wine enthusiast Adair Durie and myself completed the picture. All wines were under screw cap, except the two European reds, and by luck, they were in perfect condition, none corked!

These are my short tasting notes of some of the highlights:

Buttler Syrah 2006, Nagy-Eged 400-500 m

2006 GRÓF BUTTLER Egri Syrah, Nagy-Eged-Hungary

First Syrah of the line up.

This wine is off 3 years old vines planted on the 20 hectares Nagy-Eged site. Four French Syrah clones were used. Low yields and good quality (Hungarian?) oak contributed to the quality. I’d like to say that more information can be found at the Buttler website for those interested, but it is a simple website and fairly outdated.

“Earth…”-noticed Adair at first taste.

I found it a soft and rich wine with a cuddly and ripe fruit profile. High drinkability and very good ripeness. There is some individual character. Nagy-Eged is looking to be a promising site. This is an easy to understand Syrah. Good depth and drinkability, balanced.

“Lacks depth, but a pleasant drinking wine. I’d score it 90 points, that is bronze medal standard. The site has potential”- said Gary. He kept the bottle in the fridge to taste the next day, however by then it fell apart, so drink this ASAP after opening!

90 pts 5990 HUF (Not available in Australia)

2009 BROKENWOOD Shiraz-Hunter Valley

This is their basic Hunter Shiraz. The wine spent 14 months in American oak. Round palate with rich blueberries and blackberries. Well controlled, excellent oak, good balance. Nicely put together but lacks a little magic. Still it will go the distance.  93 pts AUD $40

2009 BROKENWOOD Verona Vineyard Shiraz-Hunter Valley

Wow! Surprisingly heavy and powerful red. The 1968 planted Verona vineyard is across from the Graveyard site, where Brokenwood’s legendary flagship comes from. This is only the second Verona bottling. This wine matured in 50/50 French and American oak. Amazing concentration with lots of weight. Rich fruit and plenty of oak. Good, chunky and decidedly strong. 94 pts AUD $50

Tulloch Pokolbin Dry Red Shiraz 2009

2009 TULLOCH Pokolbin Dry Red Shiraz-Hunter Valley

This is remarkable! Price wise, possibly the bargain of the year!

Tulloch’s basic release. Lots of red berry fruit. Savoury and precise wine with authority. Intense and well balanced. Great promise here. Superb grown up wine. No overripe sweetness whatsoever. In some ways, Bordeaux like.

95 pts AUD $25

2009 TULLOCH Pokolbin Dry Red Private Bin Shiraz-Hunter Valley

Legendary Shiraz from the over 100 year old vines of the Tallawanta Vineyard. In the late 1960’s, Grange was the same price as Tulloch’s Private Bin. Good ripe fruit. Superbly juicy. Excellent oak grip, seriously built. Needs time, will live for at least 15 years. Red berries fruit profile. Very good. Hard to find Shiraz, cellar door or members only. 94 pts AUD $40

De Iuliis Shiraz 2009, Hunter Valley, Limited Release

2009 DE IULIIS Limited Release Shiraz-Hunter Valley

Wow! Enticing, exotic nose. A very rich, fruity and sexy wine. Lots of interest, impossible to resist. Quite amazing. A real Hunter blockbuster without heat and over ripeness. Michael De Iuliis is a legend. This black label wine is completely different from the readily available white label ‘Show Reserve’ Shiraz.  If you want the black label, be patient, as it is not released yet.

95 pts. AUD $50

2009 ANDREW THOMAS Motel Block Shiraz-Hunter Valley

Another serious red. Intense and very young. Obviously needs time but has the all ingredients to become fantastic. Superb tasting, fruity and rich with plenty of interest and character. Needs 3 years to settle and will be a legend in 10.

Available soon. I found it to be a lot better than the more expensive Andrew Thomas Kiss Shiraz.

94 points AUD $50

2008 DOMAINE VINCENT PARIS Cornas Granit 30-Rhone

Our closing Syrah bottle. It is the cheaper cousin of Granit 60. Beautiful, gamey nose. Wild wine, best to decant. Powerful and juicy with fine oak support. Blackcurrant taste and great length on the finish. Serious and memorable.

94 points. Cost AUD $60 in Australia or 18 €  in France.

Gary mentioned that he put this in the line up to please me. I quickly responded that while I am thankful, my heart lies in Burgundy. Gary disappeared in the cellar and soon reappeared with a Grand Cru red Burgundy. Finished the night with the fabulous 2007 DUPONT-TISSERANDOT Charmes Chambertin. Just the way I like it. Perfect night I must say!



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3 Responses to Syrah International

  1. Andras Kovacs says:

    Oh, well… what would be a verdict here? Does 06 Buttler failed… or meybe not? How the judgement is influenced by a potentially “Aussie taste”? I do remember it has a depth, btw.

    • Attila thought the Buttler Syrah did fine in a very strong Aussie lineup – my personal notes on this wine are coming up soon. I think there may also be some difference in tastes involved.

  2. Pingback: Terra Australis 2011 | Hungarian Wines

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