L’Ormarins Shiraz 1987

Courtesy of a friend who finished school with me in 1987, this bottle shared on the weekend. Interestingly, although shiraz is now the variety that most producers are hot to bottle, L’Ormarins no longer have a shiraz in their line-up. Then again, in those days L’Ormarins also had riesling and bukettraube bottled! They first bottled shiraz in 1983, when the John Platter guide judged it a “very wooded” wine in a “medium to lighter style”.

The 1987 is also in the medium style, with pure white pepper notes on the nose and a satisfying palate weight even after 20 years. The 12,5% alcohol no doubt accounts for its structure – in the 1980s alcohols over 13% were considered pretty heady. Interesting how the tolerable alcohol level “band” has grown – with anything from 13 to 16 now on the table, and 13 considered light by its peer review.

Platter editions from the 1980s talk the Rupert-owned L’Ormarins up as a winery to take on the world, matching flash Californian spreads in majesty and wine quality. While that promise hasn’t quite materialised, it remains a quality producer, now with far fewer wines in the range.