Mad Fish has returned to the market, with a side of subtlety along for the ride.

Mad Fish 2010 Western Australia Shiraz $23If I’m being totally honest, I didn’t really notice that Mad Fish, with it’s distinctive turtle label, had left the market because for the past few years, I haven’t spent a lot of time in the Aussie Shiraz section of the liquor store. Too much alcohol, too much jammy fruit, too much of a lot of stuff. But I’ve been getting back into all things OZ and my first point of landing has been Western Australia, which from its cooler perch about 2200 km west of Barossa, has lead they way for restraint in down under wine. And in this bottle that translates into a lower alcohol level (14%) and a slightly less deep ruby colour in the glass. On the nose, there’s a hit of spice more than a wallop of fruit and trend that continues in the mouth where there’s a pleasant feisty black pepper note that harkens more to Cornas than McLaren Vale. The bottle has some nice age on it, but the fruit and body remain lively—again not a word I often use for Aussie Shiraz—but am happy to say in praise of this bottle. If we’re lucky, this is a shape of things to come.MF-Shiraz-2010