KANGARILLA ROAD, McLaren Vale (Australia), Shiraz 2009, 14% ABV, €16-18, list of stockists, 4 stars

Importers Wine Alliance has just released the 2009 version of this Shiraz onto the Irish market and it tastes like a winner all the way. I certainly think it is one of the better ones.

And Maurice O’Mahony of Wine Alliance reckons it is a step up on the 2008 release but he would say that! You don’t have to take my word (or his) for it, as Oz wine guru James Halliday has rated it at 91 points.

The colour is quite a dark one with a fruity nose (mainly of plum) and underlying herbal notes. It makes an excellent first impression in the mouth, warm and elegant, with lively and juicy fruits and well balanced, with a lasting finish.

Helen and Kevin O’Brien established this winery in 1997 and have built up quite a reputation for themselves. I’ve been reading the recently published Awards Special of Decanter Magazine and the O’Briens feature.

Their 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon won a bronze in the Reds and this Shiraz picked up a Commended, as did their 2010 Chardonnay in the Whites. Combine that with the Halliday score and you see they have pretty good form.