Coates Organically Grown McLaren Vale Shiraz 2004, $68
MAKING the decision to be your own boss may take courage but it is also liberating. And Duane Coates, winemaker and owner of Coates Wines, knows this well, having taken the leap of faith himself.
Working as a winemaker for other brands, he was often forced to make decisions that went against what he believed in as commercial and cost considerations had to be taken into account, he said.
And so he decided to be his own boss instead.
Coates, 31, is not your typical Australian born-and-bred winemaker, having worked in Burgundy, Rhone Valley and the Douro Valley in Portugal. A stint in Cote Rotie, St Joseph and Condrieu in the Rhone Valley region in France led to experiments with batches of wines crafted in a European style.
This was a departure from the big, jammy stereotypes that have suffered the label 'typically Australian'.
The wines, produced mostly from Mclaren Vale fruit, led to the beginning of his company, Coates Wines, which is based in the same area. Having the luxury of making all decisions, Coates gave in to his fascination with Shiraz, starting with just three wines - the Organically-Grown Shiraz, the Gimp Shiraz and the Fortified Shiraz.
'Australia is making some of the best Shiraz and does so well here. It is my favourite grape, and it is the prime time now,' he said.
Other than running Coates Wines, he is also a consultant for small wineries such as Raydon Estate and Cleggett Wines in Langhorne Creek.
Already armed with a master's of oenology from Adelaide University, he is also going through the London-based Institute of Masters of Wine programme to obtain its prestigious Master of Wine qualification.
He has plans to add the Coates Shiraz Cabernet 2006 as well as a table wine and vintage port made from the native Portuguese grape Touriga Nacional. Although he has so much wine knowledge, he believes that 'less is more'.
'I enjoy wine from anywhere and any variety as long as it is made with style and conviction. The wines need to express their variety and place of origin, not the winemaking process,' he said.
A plush Shiraz with focused notes of black cherries and plums and made more exciting by the layer of spices.
Lamb rack or teppanyaki beef
The Ninth Vine (10 Dempsey Road, 01-23, Tel: 6471-9595)