Every so often, something will come along that transcends not only varietal expectations but the confines of one’s impression of a given region. Many years ago, at a dinner with none other than Aubert Du Villaine, the discussion came up about how an exceptional Pinot Noir, or a landmark Syrah, can almost come across as uncannily similar as they are perceived within the context of higher achievement. This was long before we had ever heard the term umami, signifying some sort of ethereal performance on the palate, but that is essentially what happens. The other day we had occasion to recall that very discussion.
Dan Standish came from a wine family and is a sixth generation Barossan. He spent time honing his winemaking skills in California, the Rhone Valley, Rioja (at La Rioja Alta) and finally working with the boisterous but enormously talented Dave Powell at Torbreck. He was a little late to the party the first time around, his wines starting to show up here as Australia’s star started to wane from the remarkable success they enjoyed in the late 90’s and early 2000s. He only started his own label in 1999 with a small plot of 96-year-old Shiraz vines but the results we tasted here were stellar.
We never forgot the Standish wines and thought of them in the same vein as the top Aussie labels we helped introduce here like Clarendon Hills Astralis, Torbreck Run Rig, Chris Ringland, and Greenock Creek. We didn’t see a lot of Dan’s wines over the next decade. There wasn’t a lot to be had in the first places as his production hovers somewhere under 1000 cases. But we were presented a couple of breathtaking efforts just recently that brought it all back. Current Wine Advocate’s reviewer Joe Czerwinski was clearly as enthralled with the collection of Standish wines he reviewed, saying “I consider Dan Standish the reigning king of Barossa Shiraz.”
Of the Standish The Relic Shiraz-Viognier Barossa Valley 2016 he writes, “Everything about Standish’s 2016 The Relic Shiraz-Viognier is remarkable, starting with the ridiculous color. It’s so dark, so purple, so vibrant. Then the nose boasts soaring florals and stone fruits, while the palate delivers fresh blueberries and dried spices. It’s full-bodied but creamy-textured, with supple tannins and concentrated fruit that lingers on the plush finish. Just awesome stuff…99 points”
Thisis a top-of-the-heap, brilliant wine that compare to Australia’s best in every way but price (they are relative bargains compared to peers Henchke Hill of Grace, Ringland, Penfolds Grange, and Torbreck RunRig). The Relic rises above traditional categorizations in the glass to offer a rare wine experience. It shines well beyond the title ‘Australian Shiraz’ and should be considered among the world’s top tier. We have a few scraps of a couple of other bottlings as well. Do not miss them. (See all Standish)