92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Shiraz-Viognier blends have become quite the ticket in recent years (what to do with all that so-so Viognier) but one of the first and still one of the best is the Laughing Magpie. The opaque purple-colored 2007 The Laughing Magpie Shiraz (90%)-Viognier (10%) offers up an expressive bouquet of smoke, mineral, violets, and wild blueberry. Medium-to full-bodied on the palate, it has tons of ripe blue fruits, spice notes, and enough structure to evolve for 2-3 years. This lengthy, pleasure-bent effort will be at its best from 2010 to 2020." (02/09) 91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar, Sep/Oct 08: "(shiraz with 5% viognier) Deep, bright-rimmed ruby. Exotically perfumed, sexy bouquet of blackberry and mulberry, along with fresh flowers and incense. Pliant dark berry flavors coat the palate, picking up a suave candied floral quality with air. Leaves a trail of Asian spices behind on the long, juicy finish. Already complex enough to drink."
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By: Joe Manekin
K&L Staff Member
Yesterday we had the pleasure of tasting a line-up of Aussie wines with the legendary Jimmy C (Aus/NZ/South Africa wine buyer Jim Chanteloup). Upon tasting the Laughing Magpie, I remarked to Jim that the wine always seems to be a bit brighter, higher in acidity, and more tightly-structured than many other Shiraz blends. He went on to explain the history of the family, how their house style has always favored structure and acidity to ripeness and flash. In fact, Jim said that he has tasted D'arenberg wines back to the 70s, and they all showed surprisingly well. This is always one of our very best Aussie red wines under $20.
By: Gary Westby
K&L Staff Member
It is not often that I write up a wine of this size, but as Jimmy C. pointed out this afternoon, "this is a big guy who can dance!" He also mentioned that the percentage of Viognier might be even higher than what Mr. Tanzer reports in the note above, and the dark color (apparently Viognier and Shiraz have an enzyme reaction when co-fermented that brings out more color from the Shiraz) and the perfumed nose would support that. This is a dark colored, generously aromatic wine with a very rich mid-palate. It is exactly what I hope for when tasting Australian Shiraz- power yes, but also balance.
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