Upon landing in Adelaide, anybody in the possession of a nose instantly picks up an unfamiliar eucalyptus fragrance hanging in the air. In the heat of the Australian sun, the tea tree (Leptospermum) releases this peculiar scent into the dry desert air.
When planted at kissing distance from tea trees, grapevines take on this aroma and transmit it into the finished wine. Nowhere is this influence more apparent than in Orlando’s Padthaway Shiraz.
In the glass, pretty carnations gild a generous sampling of blackcurrant and apricot fruit. This shiraz still life , full of classical typicité, is accompanied by roasted tea, chocolate, and a strong Eucalyptol influence. There is no peppery Rotundone here, because the heat of the region has killed it off completely. But some florals have evidently survived- and that is a rare thing in South Australia.
Euccy taint, so called because of the pathologically Australian need to abbreviate words, is a polarizing subject. Some people love it; some people regard is as a scourge. Penfolds, Henshke and Torbreck have largely eradicated it from their flagship bottlings, and that seems to have set the trend for the industry as a whole. However, in limited quantities, Eucalyptol becomes an excellent foil for the richness of the shiraz grape. The fact that it aids blind tasting is helpful too ;)