Preparing for the barbecue season should include stocking up on the good value 2005 Wyndham Estate Shiraz Bin 555.
Last month, I visited the Australian winery and tasted Shiraz Bin 555 from the 1996 through 2006 vintages. Normally, lower-priced wines aren’t made for aging, they’re made for consumption immediately after bottling. However, Wyndham Estate is not your normal producer of moderate-priced wines — it’s the first winery to produce Australian shiraz and part of Australia’s wine heritage.
In 1830, George Wyndham planted shiraz at his newly purchased Dalwood property in the Hunter Valley, about two hours northwest of Sydney. In subsequent years, he bought additional land and by 1860 was making 11,000 gallons of Dalwood wines and exporting to India and to his former homeland, England.
Wyndham divided his properties between his 11 sons and two daughters before his death a decade later. Over the years, the holdings were sold, and in 1970, Dalwood was renamed Wyndham Estate on the centennial of Wyndham’s death. Today, his Dalwood house is part of the National Trust of Australia.
My tasting of a decade of Shiraz Bin 555 with winemaker Ben Bryant showed why Wyndham’s wines accumulated awards at European and American wine expositions from the 1800s. The wines from 1996 to 1999 retained their color and soft fruit texture, and with the exception of 2000, each succeeding year displayed its vibrant fruit.
The 2005 Shiraz Bin 555 has a bright black cherry tint. Its blackberry aroma possesses a secondary scent of cedar from aging the wine in American oak barrels. The ripe blackberry flavor is seasoned with the cedar accents, and the mild tannins carry the medium-bodied wine across the palate with a full and gentle finish.
The delightfulness of the 2005 Shiraz Bin 555 obscures its structure for aging. Given how accessible and pleasing it is, I doubt anyone will cellar it. But those who do will be rewarded with a wine that will develop hints of tobacco and raisins like the older wines in my tasting.
I enjoyed the 2005 Shiraz Bin 555 with Australian lamb and a plate of local cheeses. You can do the same or switch the lamb for a grilled steak, pork chop, or tuna with black olive tapenade.
Wyndham Estate also makes a sparkling wine under the same label Shiraz Bin 555, but that wine is not part of this review.
The 2005 Wyndham Estate Shiraz Bin 555 retails for approximately $11.