Bethany Wines LE Shiraz 2014, $55
The LE on the label of this Reserve Shiraz is an acronym for Lawrence and Edna, the parents of Bethany winemakers Geoffrey and Robert. Not only is it a wonderful tribute to them, but it’s an indication of the history that comes in every bottle of Bethany wine. The Schrapel family planted their first vineyards in the Barossa Valley in 1852, making this one of Australia’s oldest winemaking families. Arriving from Silesia, they made their home in Bethany, the Barossa’s first settlement, and going there today is like stepping back in time. The winery is run by the fifth and sixth generations of the same family, and with so much lovingly tended old material at their fingertips, you can imagine that their wines are pretty special. We loved this wine which is rich and vibrant with plum and blackberry notes, and hints of vanilla, cloves and cinnamon. Christmas pudding in a glass? Although it has cellaring potential, the fine tannins make it food-friendly. The judges at this year’s Sydney International Wine Competition thought so too, giving it one of their Blue Gold awards. (Unusually for wine competitions, entries in this one are judged with food.) We enjoyed it with slow-roasted lamb shoulder.