29 April 2010

Kay Brothers 2004 Amery Vineyards Hillside Shiraz

I was planning to write up a white wine this week. But, in light of rugby events in the Sunshine State over the past couple of weeks, it seemed more appropriate that I go patriotically Red.

We went out recently for a cheeky tight-ass Tuesday meal at a good local restaurant with a friendly BYO policy and a scratch spot on the Entertainment Book card.

So, what wine to take? I had some time on my hands, so after rummaging around downstairs for a while, I then went upstairs and selected something suitable from my wine fridge.

I chose a bottle of 2004 Kay Brothers Amery Hillside Shiraz that I'd been given recently and we presented it proudly as we arrived for dinner.

The waitress wore a bored expression and a pair of those thick Groucho Marx comedy glasses that are favoured by trendites and those "in advertising". She also wore a tie; not as part of a uniform, but apparently of her own volition.

I have a rule. In fact, I have quite a few. But the important one to note here is, in the same way that I distrust men who wear bow-ties with anything other than a dinner suit, I also have severe misgivings about females sporting neckties. If you are not forced to don the silk noose by your employer, why ever would you feel compelled to do so voluntarily? I guess the answer to that question lies in the same box of wannabe eccentricity as the Groucho glasses.

Anyway. My instinct was proven correct the moment she opened her cruel little mouth. "Oh, you've bought your own?, she muttered condescendingly as she attempted unsuccessfully to calculate the impact this might have on her tip.

No, actually. We've brought our own.

"That's what I said", she countered.

No, it wasn't darling. But, nice try. (And before you try to correct me in turn, please see above. I didn't buy it. It was a gift.)

Her mouth pursed as tightly as a pensioner's pucker as she took our orders and left to open the wine. I suspect she also used the opportunity to encourage the cook to add a little something to help thicken my soup of the day.

The wine though was simply cracking. The bottle, like our waitress, is labelled with a retro-chic livery. Unlike our waitress, the Hillside manages to pull it off since the Amery vineyard is genuinely one of the oldest in the country. The unsmiling mugs of Fred and Herb Kay stare out from the label. Freddy sports a moustache that was undoubtedly the inspiration for Messrs Lillee, Boon and Hughes.

In the glass, it’s the colour of a rusty nail, and the hefty alcohol sends a combative haze of smoky, sweetness wafting north. The legs are as long and sticky as a summer night in the tropics.

As it hits the nostril, there are notes of warm figs fresh from the tree, musty boxes of old love letters, and an unsmoked pack of Camel soft-tops.

On the tongue, it’s a a frugivore’s dream of intensely tart raspberry goodness, with a toasty mouth-filling finish.

It is seriously delicious, and a pleasantly elegant change of pace from many of the other “smack in the face” bottles of shiraz that are on the market. That in itself is quite an accomplishment given that it packs a solid 15% alcohol rating.

At $35-$40, it’s a bit of special occasion wine, so why not treat your old girl to one this Mother’s Day.

Back to the restaurant, and the end of the meal was just as exciting as the beginning. I called for the bill, and slipped my Entertainment card in with the Visa. That earned an immediate reprimand and another futile attempt at mental arithmetic.

“You’re supposed to have told me earlier”, she spat bitchily.

“Easy for you to say with the benefit of hind legs”, I wish I’d said.

I can’t wait to go back.

Rating: 8.75
Drink with: a red wine moustache
Price: $35-$40

Image from www.kaybrothersamerywines.com


  1. Lovely and delightful
    as my mother would say if she could type, or if we spoke, or if I cared...
    Anyway, lovely and delightful indeed - what was I saying?
    Um yeah,
    Red wine and something about Rugby?

  2. hah! Classic! Wish my blog was that entertaining! Thanks, nice site.

  3. As it turns out I have about sixty bottle of this vintage tucked away that I've just brought back under my control along with an equal quantity of 2001 dead-arm (long story). I'm hoping that it can stand another few years of cellaring, though if its as good as you say, it might not last that long

  4. I just happened on your blog by searching for this glorious Kay Brothers Shiraz. We just devoured a bottle of this beauty with a leg of lamb on Saturday night could not agree more with your comments. Will have to get a couple more, First Choice Cellars have it "special" at $37. Don't you just hate these smart arse bitches? Your observations are spot on. Philliz - Newtown

  5. "special" at $37 - we have it at $30, just a shame you're not in England - it's available here http://thevinorium.co.uk/product/red-wine/2004-kay-brothers-hillside-amery-shiraz/