2011 Meerea Park The Aunts Shiraz

meerea park the aunts shiraz 2010I had an interesting chat with Meerea Park winemaker Rhys Eather last year on the matter of brettanomyces. Rhys is of the opinion that all red wines have brett and that it’s just a matter of whether that aspect is in balance and not overwhelming. As a non-technocratic reviewer I’m inclined to agree that balance is the main issue. He also believes that if the wine is sterile filtered then any brett derived characters will not increase over time. I’m not a scientist so I can’t comment on that.

This is rustic, earthy, gamey, horsey and leathery. The fruit, though rich, doesn’t keep up. The wine also seems stripped on the back-palate, concluding with a metallic twang. I’d argue that the is an issue with balance and length here. 86

Region: Hunter Valley
Alcohol: 13.8%
Closure: Screwcap
Price: $30
Tasted: November 2013


This entry was posted in Hunter Valley, Shiraz, Syrah and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to 2011 Meerea Park The Aunts Shiraz

  1. Anthony Fikkers says:

    All reds have brett? That’s an odd comment from Rhys. I’m sure they don’t. It could be proved with lab analysis that not all wines contain 4-EP, 4-EG which are the off flavoured compounds that brett produces. That of course doesn’t indicate the complete absence of the yeast in the first place but it’s pretty strong circumstantial evidence. If you do sterile filter then technically your wine won’t have brett but can still have the flavour compounds that brett produces. The strongest evidence that not all reds have brett would be classic old bottles of red that are pristine and haven’t been filtered. Cheers, tony.

  2. It was a fascinating conversation. I have to look at some papers on whole bunch incorporation via the AWRI so I might try to get a hold of more specific information on the latest research when it comes to brett.

  3. Michael Charles says:

    I’ve also had the same conversation with Rhys. I’m also not a scientist, though I think Tony above coheres more with what I’ve read.

    I find brett these days to be a big demerit. I used to be more open-minded. I now just think that brett robs a wine of its regional typicity. I’m not interested in the terroir of spoilage yeast, except in certain Belgian wheat beers, and Orval. I can enjoy a wine with a bit of brett, of course, we’ve all done so, but I’ll not actively seek out or cellar such wines.

    You mention metallic or tinny tannins in a few of these MP reds. Do you think they’re all in some way related to brett? I think the Hell Hole has been pretty clean since the 2005, though one always wonders. The 2010 of this wine seemed clean enough too.

    I find it a bit odd that MP is pushing to be one of the foremost Hunter Valley producers (witness recent pricing), yet they don’t seem to be doing absolutely all they can to get rid of any suggestion of brett. I could well be wrong, but I also think they’re involved, or at least have been involved, in producing some reds for Glenguin, and one of their 2011s was also very gamey (School House Block, I think – beautiful fruit character and ripeness at moderate alcohol, but stuffed up by brett). The 2011 Stonybroke was very clean though. Many folks round SEQ won’t touch Hunter reds because they think they’re dirty. Despite my protests to the contrary, a wine such as this (if you are indeed correct about it, and I don’t doubt you) doesn’t help the cause of those who’ve really cleaned up their acts. Think how clean the De Iuliis reds are for instance. I’ve spoken to Mike De Iuliis and he’s absolutely committed to producing the cleanest red wine possible. Think Stevens 2009 or 2011 – can you find a cleaner, brighter Hunter red? I really wish Rhys also put this on top of his wish-list.

    I’ll close by saying that I really do like MP reds, and wish MP the best of success, but I do wish you didn’t have to ask yourself about brett every time you open one. It shouldn’t happen. It doesn’t have to happen.


  4. As far as my palate is concerned, if you can make a brett free wine then you should do so. By and large I agree with the theoretical idea that it takes away from regional expression (although I include culture in the terroir equation so if a region collectively makes bretty wines I suppose the idea could be questioned) but more importantly I think almost all wines taste better without it. When the back-palate is stripped or metallic then my enjoyment of a wine is severely lessened.

    On the tinny tannins that I detected – I have a reasonably firm policy of sticking to descriptors when it comes to reviews on this site and leaving the rest to laboratories. But I do suspect that tinniness is related to brett. It’s a suspicion though, I’m not going to purchase a home kit to test and I’m not going to pay money to send the wine off for analysis. As we all know, purely sensory evaluation is always open to questioning.

    I wasn’t happy with the balance of aromas and flavours in the 2010 MP indie so I chose not to review it but apart from that I’ve noticed less (or perhaps none) of those characters in the MPs that I’ve tasted since 2007 until these releases. I also see much to like about the MP reds. If any of these characters are brett related then I would love to see them addressed.

  5. Michael Charles says:

    Which makes it all the more odd/worrying/disappointing that brett has returned in at least one of the 2011 wines. I’m in the Hunter from 14 December (for a week). I guess I’ll have to check for myself.


  6. Michael Charles says:

    Now tried this, and would have to agree that there’s something not quite right here. A horsey character was there from the beginning, but became more obvious with air – you could almost taste it after a while. That said, I didn’t find the palate as stripped or metallic as you did. I’m not sure how to rate it (I think a little higher than you – 88-89-ish?), because I enjoyed it enough, but also thought it could have been better. We tried a 2009 Glenguin Aristea Shiraz the day before (also made by Rhys I believe), and while increasingly leathery and earthy, it did not exhibit anything untoward. It just had a Pokolbin smell about it – which is what you want. This character appeared to be masked by something else.

    I discussed this wine with Rhys in the Hunter Valley last December and he did not believe that brett was overt in this wine. I think I’d have to disagree with him in this case (sorry Rhys!). I’d have loved to have seen this without that slightly ‘European’ horsey pong.

    That said, the 2011 Hell Hole looks clean and clear. It’s a fabulous Hunter Shiraz.


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