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A shiraz to shout about.

Byline: andrew campbell ON WINE

SYRAH is a late-comer to Chile's booming wine industry but it is quickly taking root as a star grape in a nation full of star wines.

I've been banging on for years to anyone who'll listen about the bargains from South America's second biggest producer. Chile's larger neighbour Argentina is also getting its act together but it's in the long mountainous country nestled between the Andes and the cool Pacific that I start.

Cabernet sauvignon dominates Chile's red wine production and the backfrom-the-dead tale of the country's carmenere grape is well told. But it's time to watch out for Chile's syrah or shiraz if one of Tesco's new arrivals is anything to go by.

Just when I thought Chile was erring towards the grape's lighter peppery side it comes out with a blockbuster Aussie-style shiraz.

Seriously powerful yet smooth, Tesco Finest Las Lomas Estate Shiraz 2013 is delicious, and at a starting price of PS8.99, extremely good value.

Made by Concha y Toro off-shoot Cono Sur from a single estate in the Colchagua Valley, it's superbly balanced and packed with rich plummy dark fruit, chocolate and spice. The nose does exactly what the label says, offering aromas of sweet berries and cherries, toasted oak and hints of spice. I expect great things of this wine at this year's major awards.

Delicious: Finest Las Shiraz is The ubiquitous FirstCape was formed in 2002 and has grown... and grown... quickly becoming South Africa's biggest wine brand in the UK.

Based in the Cape's Breede River Valley, it now takes fruit from more than 280 farms and churns out a vast amount of mid-price wine that takes up acres of supermarket shelf space.

Success at the major world wine awards appears to have largely eluded them.

Perhaps they haven't been entering, however the FirstCape Special Cuvee Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 notched up a bronze at last year's prestigious Decanter competition. Reduced by a third to PS5.99 in Tesco until May 8, it's well worth a punt. A fruity blackcurrant and black cherry nose leads to an intense savoury, toasty palate packed with dark fruit and a dusting of spice.

It's been a couple of years since I've tried a St Hallett wine yet I was always impressed with this acclaimed Aussie producer. They make some seriously expensive wines yet it's one of their mid-range offerings that has stolen the awards limelight during the last couple of years.

Tesco Lomas delight St Hallett Gamekeepers Red scooped International Wine Challenge silver for both its 2012 and 2010 vintages. So how does the 2013 match up? Like previous years made from a curious blend of shiraz, grenache and the top Portuguese red grape touriga, it's an oak-free concoction of intense fruit and spice. There are aromas of pepper, cloves, lavender, dried herbs and hints of red fruit.

The taste is deep and plummy with masses of spice and no shortage of tannin. Top marks to St Hallett for producing an intense and interesting wine which is better after decanting for an hour and which will appeal to lovers of spicy wines. If you're into soft, oaked, easy-drinking reds this may not be the one for you. It's PS7.49 in Tesco.

Sticking with Tesco, I've been waiting two years to get my hands on its Finest Boranup 2012 from Western Australia. A blend of Bordeaux white grapes sauvignon blanc and semillon, it spectacularly bagged an IWC gold medal in 2013. The problem was my local store was only selling the 2010, then the 2011... until now. But the best things are worth waiting for and better still, it's reduced by PS1 to PS8.99 until May 12.

IWC judges noted 'aromatic floral notes and a delicate palate'. Well I reckon it may have been developing in the bottle under that screw cap into a bit of a beast. The nose is complex and pungent with toasty and tropical fruit aromas of guava, pineapple and peach. The taste is rich and balanced with flavours of tropical fruit and citrus and hints of vine leaf and herbs. It may have grown up in the bottle but it's still lovely.


Delicious: Tesco Finest Las Lomas Shiraz is a delight
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Geographic Code:3CHIL
Date:Apr 30, 2015
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