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Thunderous, palate-staining flavor and exotic spice – there is simply no substitute for a great bottle of Shiraz. “The Bolter” is Shiraz how it was meant to be, made by “The Shiraz Master” - Ben Riggs. It tastes like a turbo-charged, inky Zin from Dry Creek - utterly jam-packed with blueberry, blackberry and cocoa-dusted plum. It’s hard not to love the wonderful exuberance this Aussie icon.
About the wine
Ben Riggs has made his name in Napa, France and Italy, but “The Shiraz Master” was simply born to make McLaren Vale wine. He’s known for the unique renditions of Oz’s iconic grape – see “The Bolter,” a bewitching mix of smoky blackberries tinged with licorice. It’s both full-bodied and vibrant, thanks to his perfectly judged oak and tannin. The Bolter is a horse-racing term for a long-shot, an unbridled, unpredictable horse that’s off before you know it. Exactly the kind of wine made famous by Riggs. He’s a special talent that understands what makes McLaren special – with vineyards dating back to the 1800’s and some of the best Syrah material on Earth, they still somehow deliver massive wines at miniscule prices. How do the Aussies make such killer wine for the money?.
Winemaker: Ben Riggs
Appellation: South Eastern Australia (mostly McLaren Vale)
- 93 pts: Julie Tesar, Certified Sommelier
- 4.0/5.0: Vivino Users, 2013 Vintage (54 ratings)
Grapes: 100% Shiraz
Vineyards: Selected plots in McLaren Vale
Cooperage: 18 months in French Oak
About the winery
Mr Riggs was founded in 2001 as a collaboration between Ben Riggs (with decades of vintages at McLaren Vale’s Wirra Wirra under his belt) and his mentor, Penny’s Hill proprietor Tony Parkinson. The winery uses Ben’s extensive contacts with growers to cherry pick fruit from Adelaide Hills, Langhorne Creek and McLaren Vale. These two are happy to have come out from underneath corporate oversight, allowing them to make more individual wines and to indulge their instincts when it comes to sniffing out great wines. Mr. Riggs’ winemaking philosophy is to make unpretentious wines that express the essence of the vineyard and the region’s terroir in a style that Ben enjoys drinking; big, rich and complex, but also with finesse, texture and elegance, the latter not necessarily being traits Ben possesses.
About the vineyards
The Bolter is powered by McLaren Vale's famed terra rossa soils – this volcanic land adds serious kick to a wine’s aromas and spice. Widely considered Australia’s most exciting wine region – even over the commanding presence of Barossa! This area has a unique terroir that creates reds with power, structure – and finesse. It doesn’t hurt that McLaren Vale’s signature flavor is dark chocolate, either! Whether it’s Cabernet, Shiraz or even something offbeat like Petit Verdot – McLaren Vale wines have what it takes to compete with Napa and Bordeaux. Virtually all of Australia’s new superstar talent have set up shop here and it’s easy to see why – Mollydooker, Yangarra and others are all in agreement with Australia’s wine godfather, James Halliday – “McLaren Vale has it all!”
About the winemaker, Ben Riggs
“Mr. Riggs” aka “The Shiraz Master” has a total of 44 vintages of experience, specializing in McLaren Vale Shiraz. After graduating in the famous 1985 class at Roseworthy (along with Penfolds Grange’s Peter Gago), he spent 14 vintages at the iconic Wirra Wirra Estate. It was at Wirra Wirra that he won Wine of the Year, and also was a 2-time nominee for Winemaker of the Year. Riggs has worked in France, Napa, Italy and Greece, but his heart remains in his home region of the McLaren Vale, where he’s won Best McLaren Vale Wine on several occasions. He promises that he is very careful when he drives around his vineyard in a 1968 Dodge Charger.
93 points - Julie Tesar, Certified Sommelier
"Spicy, bold, and powerful, this dense Shiraz offers an impressive aromatic dimension, flavorful texture, and lingering finish. Sandalwood, cracked black pepper, ginger, cardamon, clove and allspice meet blackberry, plum, licorice, vanilla, and oregano. There is a lot going on in this delicious bottle! The spicy character is reflected on the palate, creating a fantastic potential to pair with meaty options like grilled steak or braised ribs."