My father brought out this bottle, 2001 Lindeman’s Limestone Ridge Shiraz Cabernet, yesterday. A couple of days after Christmas so it was up against some great wines my family had drunk over the festive period.

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I’ve been a fan of Limestone Ridge for decades. It’s a classic Australian blend of Cabernet and Shiraz and always had more substance and class than most wines I drank. I also found it a great wine to serve to visitors from overseas – it was a great showcase of a classic Australian style and also excellent value.

I hadn’t had a “Limestone” for ages but this bottle brought back great memories of wonderful meals with friends but also helped me remember a style of wine which we rarely see in Australia these days.

This wine has moderate alcohol (13.5%) and a great balance between fruit and acid. It’s not a wine that stands up and hits you with power derived from super ripe fruit or excessive oak treatment. But it is a wine that you can enjoy with a nice piece of lamb like we did last night.

This wine has a wonderful perfume of dusty plums and ripe red fruits, followed by a mouthful of sweet fruit and a lovely balanced acid finish that lingers longer than you first think. A hint of oak remains but not at all bitter. Not a blockbuster, just a lovely drink to share with your family.

This bottle was probably a year past it’s peak. It started falling over after 30 minutes or so, losing a bit of life and zing, but it gave so much whilst alive.

I checked some of the reviews for the wine. Overall I was disappointed with what I read. James Halliday gave it 93 points which is probably fair – maybe I’d give it a couple more, probably for nostalgia, but that’s the subjectivity in us all. Gary Walsh in the Wine Front Report remarked in 2006 that he thought this style of wine is looking “a bit out of date” and that “the oak treatment leaves a bit to be desired”. However, he also noted that messing with the style risked losing faithful supporters of this wine. Well it’s a style that I have sorely missed over the past 10 -15 years and many people I know long for more of our local wines to show similar appeal. I wonder if Walsh reviewed this wine today if his thoughts would have changed?

On CellarTracker’s Community Tasting Notes there are six reviews but the assessments vary widely. Points wise the range is a startling 85 to 95 points and I guess unsurprisingly reviewers’ assessments depend on the style of wine they prefer.

I think so many of us are past the period of over-ripe fruit bombs, high alcohol and excess oak in our red wines. I’ll have to try a more recent vintage of Limestone Ridge to see how the wine performs today. Hopefully I won’t be disappointed.

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