10 December 2009

David Franz 2004 Benjamin's Promise Shiraz

David Franz is the Nicholas Cage of Australian wine.

He is the son of the Baron of the Barossa – Peter Lehmann – but, admirably, he doesn't trade on that pedigree. What he does trade in are carefully crafted and interesting wines that draw on the intrinsic talents instilled by his bloodline. The Barossan sang réal.

The Benjamin’s Promise is one of the most rewarding and fascinating bottles I've purchased this year. And that's even before I got its top off.

Each bottle comes wrapped in tissue and inscribed with a long and rambling yarn personally screen-printed on the bottle by Dave. The yarn is actually more of a tome. He may also be related to Tolstoy.

And I tell you what. Even if the wine was only average (which it's not), the presentation of the bottle gives you $100 worth of gift giving value for under $40. Buy one for your father-in-law this Christmas. You won't even have to wrap it.

It’s bottled unfiltered (to keep in the tasty bits), so the suggestion is that you should double decant it and wait for it to come to life. That's always good advice. Make sure you do.

In the glass, it glows bright vermilion and waves a "come hither" finger inviting you closer. The nose is muscly and raisined and smells a lot like a bloody good Port.

Take a slug and it gives you a great big mouthful of ripe fruit that is as peaty as a dram of Glen Livet. The tannins frot your tonsils and make your tastebuds belt out the theme to Rocky.

This is the sort of big Barossa red that is easy to love. It draws you in with a seductive whiff. Then rolls you over and gives you a jolly good seeing to.

The David Franz wines are made on a smallish scale and are relatively difficult to locate. Well worth the hunt though I’d say. If you find them, get a bottle of the Riesling as well.

Rating: 8.75
Drink with: Rib-on-the-bone. And a smile on your face.

Price: $38

PS You should also check out his website
– particularly the opening series of photos.

Dave looks to have a larrikin streak and a smile like a slice of watermelon - the type of bloke I’d probably like to share a glass and a yarn with. Although, after this bottle, I kind of feel like I already have.

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