Former Mitchelton chief winemaker branches out with cracker shiraz

Every week I taste new wines produced by winemakers who have either struck out on their own or are making a bit ‘on the side’ while holding down a ‘daytime’ job. The explosion in brands is breathtaking, and while quantities are usually minuscule, the quality is often such that they can’t be ignored.

Ben Haines is one who has started up his own label, having recently completed a stint as chief winemaker at Mitchelton (Mitchelton on HuonHooke.com). He was The Wine Society’s Young Winemaker of the Year in 2008. The Ben Haines 2009 Central Victoria Syrah (14.4 per cent alcohol; $58; 94/100 – review coming next week to HuonHooke.com) is a crackerjack shiraz, in an elegant, spicy style, and sourced from a single vineyard in the Nagambie Lakes sub-region of the Goulburn Valley. I’d expect it to age well for 15 to 20 years. www.benhaineswine.com

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