Shiraz, 1979. Taltarni| Vintage Wine History and Information

by Paul Kalemkiarian Sr | May 1983

Dominique Portet travels to Bordeaux at least once a year, and to Napa about that frequently too. It is a long way to go from Australia! But, he has many reasons to do so. His parents live in France, and his brother lives in Northern California. They are both winemakers, his father a fifth generation, and the two brothers are sixth generation. Both are graduates of Montpellier University wine courses.

“I go to a great deal of trouble to maintain and refresh my palate. I go to Bordeaux at least once a year, sometimes twice. I have to taste Bordeaux wine all the time, otherwise I forget what style I’m aiming at.” says Dominique. Then in another breath he continues: “Every wine is different. It’s hard enough making a wine that’s similar in one winery from one vintage to the next, let alone trying to imitate Chateau Lafite. (his father was winemaker at this premier French vineyard). There’s no point in trying. What’s important is the style of wine, and its quality. I make wines that I like.”

Dominique settled in this Avoca wine growing region of Australia, started the Taltarni Vineyards with the help of a French-American millionaire investor (and wine enthusiast), and married a Sidney girl. He has made Australian wine history! (see June 1981 newsletter). The wines coming out of Moonambel in the Australian Pyrenees are giving older brother Bernard at Clos Du Val in Napa some marketing challenges. (They market each others wines in their respective countries, along with making their own).

Shiraz is the historical name for Petite Sirah, and used in Australia to label wine from that grape. It is thought that it is the original European Syrah, and somewhat different in clonal selection to the California Petite Syrah. Both produce mouthfilling, massive, burly wines, bursting at the seams with tannin and fruit acids in their youth.”At maturity, they are smooth and rich as silk tapestries.” says Bern Ramey in his ampelography. What a corollary!

Our wine is deep magenta in color. It has a fruity, penetrating bold nose of the variety. A hint of vanilla and berry bouquet is apparent. The taste is bursting with flavor. The full body and glycerinny texture has a definite tannin bitterness. It begs for ageing. A meal wine. Serve at room temperature with game, stews, roasts and casseroles.

Cellaring Notes: Has 3 to 8 years of ageing life.

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