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Whistler Wines 'Shiver Down My Spine' Barossa Valley Shiraz 2019

4.222220000 star rating 9 Reviews
At first glance, Aussie shiraz might not appear an exceptionally curious choice, but this delicious example turns many of the genre’s halmarks on its head. Exuding lift, crunch and freshness, this elegant red is all about drinkability, juicy flavours and subtle winemaking.
is no longer available
Code: AU23571

Wine characteristics

  • Red Wine
  • Medium-bodied
  • Syrah/Shiraz
  • 75cl
  • Now to 2026
  • 13% Alcohol
  • no oak influence
  • Screwcap
Play Video
Buyer Freddy Bulmer introduces us to a vibrant new style of Aussie shiraz, care of family winery Whistler. Video transcript

Video transcript

Whistler Wines Shiver Down My Spine Barossa Valley Shiraz 2019 

One of the wines that I’m really excited about at the moment is Whistler’s ‘Shiver Down My Spine’ Shiraz 2019, and it comes from the Barossa in Australia. This is a small family winery and it’s now in its second generation, and what I love about this wine is that it’s actually so different to what you might normally expect from Barossan shiraz. So historically, this is a style of wine which is really big and concentrated and really alcoholic, but what they’ve done here at Whistler is focus on freshness and lift and energy, and that really comes through in the glass. This is so lovely – this just bursts with red fruit and black fruit on the nose; and the palate has tannin, has structure. It’s still quite a full-bodied wine but it’s got incredible balance and freshness too. Perfect to pair with all sorts of foods – I mean, if you’re having a barbecue, this is absolutely spot on – but really this is absolutely delicious on its own too.  

South Australia

South Australia (SA) is Australia's wine heartland, producing most of the country's wine and boasting some of its oldest vines. The dry, hot climate ripens grapes fully, making bold, dense and concentrated wines.

The Barossa Valley has a rich viticultural history with patches of bush-trained vines, many more than 100 years old. It is first and foremost a red wine region. Shiraz is king but cabernet sauvignon, grenache and mourvèdre play an important part, too.

Close to the Barossa is the Eden Valley, a windswept series of elevated hills producing exceptional shiraz and floral riesling. Just north of the Barossa is the Clare Valley, which represents Australia's pinnacle for riesling, where elevated vineyards temper the intense heat, producing dry whites of immense class and purity. The region's powerful and muscular reds can be outstanding too.

On the coast south of Adelaide is McLaren Vale, which vies with Barossa to be SA's best red-wine region. The climate is warm enough to...

South Australia (SA) is Australia's wine heartland, producing most of the country's wine and boasting some of its oldest vines. The dry, hot climate ripens grapes fully, making bold, dense and concentrated wines.

The Barossa Valley has a rich viticultural history with patches of bush-trained vines, many more than 100 years old. It is first and foremost a red wine region. Shiraz is king but cabernet sauvignon, grenache and mourvèdre play an important part, too.

Close to the Barossa is the Eden Valley, a windswept series of elevated hills producing exceptional shiraz and floral riesling. Just north of the Barossa is the Clare Valley, which represents Australia's pinnacle for riesling, where elevated vineyards temper the intense heat, producing dry whites of immense class and purity. The region's powerful and muscular reds can be outstanding too.

On the coast south of Adelaide is McLaren Vale, which vies with Barossa to be SA's best red-wine region. The climate is warm enough to guarantee lush, chocolatey reds from shiraz, grenache and cabernet, while its strong maritime influence invests elegance in chardonnay, viognier and marsanne. Nearby Langhorne is cooled by the lake and nearby sea, and grows grapes of very good quality at a low cost. These excellent-value wines are marked by a softness and fullness of flavour. The Adelaide Hills area east of the city are cool and provide the perfect ingredients for lemony sauvignon blanc and chardonnay. Coonawarra, further south-east behind the Limestone Coast, is South Australia's leading cabernet region, the unique terra rossa soil and maritime influence producing grapes with intense flavours and fabulous structure.

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Whistler Wines

This small family-run property was founded in 1982 by third-generation grape grower and Penfolds’ former head vineyard manager Martin Pfeiffer. It was planted with cuttings of Kalimna 3C Shiraz clone from one of Penfolds’ famous Grange vineyards in 1994 and the first wines were released in 1997.

For four generation the Pfeiffer family have been growing grapes, from Albert Heinrich Pfeiffer in the Riverland region of South Australia to Sam Pfeiffer who took over from his parents Martin and Sally in 2020. It was Martin, who ran Penfold’s vineyards, who established Whistler by buying the Heysen estate in 1982 and, planting Kalimna 3C shiraz clone cuttings from Penfold’s world famous ‘Grange’ vineyards, along with semillon. 1997 saw the first wines and the 2000s saw a number of prestigious prizes come their way. The adoption of organic and biodynamic methods began in 2013 and in 2020, on the retirement of Martin and Sally, their son Sam has taken over the running of the business.

Winemaker Michael J. Corbett has excellent experience to bring to bear, having worked in 26 vintages across 13 regions in France, New Zealand, the US and Australia, with some prestigious names on his CV. Each wine is dependent on the hard work done in the vineyard and is vinified in its own way, sometimes with food treading, varying ferments and vessels, and with not fining or filtration of any wine. This small family winery is most definitely worth watching, or...

This small family-run property was founded in 1982 by third-generation grape grower and Penfolds’ former head vineyard manager Martin Pfeiffer. It was planted with cuttings of Kalimna 3C Shiraz clone from one of Penfolds’ famous Grange vineyards in 1994 and the first wines were released in 1997.

For four generation the Pfeiffer family have been growing grapes, from Albert Heinrich Pfeiffer in the Riverland region of South Australia to Sam Pfeiffer who took over from his parents Martin and Sally in 2020. It was Martin, who ran Penfold’s vineyards, who established Whistler by buying the Heysen estate in 1982 and, planting Kalimna 3C shiraz clone cuttings from Penfold’s world famous ‘Grange’ vineyards, along with semillon. 1997 saw the first wines and the 2000s saw a number of prestigious prizes come their way. The adoption of organic and biodynamic methods began in 2013 and in 2020, on the retirement of Martin and Sally, their son Sam has taken over the running of the business.

Winemaker Michael J. Corbett has excellent experience to bring to bear, having worked in 26 vintages across 13 regions in France, New Zealand, the US and Australia, with some prestigious names on his CV. Each wine is dependent on the hard work done in the vineyard and is vinified in its own way, sometimes with food treading, varying ferments and vessels, and with not fining or filtration of any wine. This small family winery is most definitely worth watching, or better still tasting.

Environmental sustainability
Taking over responsibility for the estate on his parents’ retirement, Sam Pfeiffer continued the organic and biodynamic practices used by his parents. In his words, ‘we haven’t used a herbicide or pesticide on our patch of dirt since 2013.’ The installation of a large solar panel system on top of their barrel storage shed allows them to create their own power and eventually they will be able to give power back to the grid. Water use is a hot topic in Australia and Whistler have recently decided to install rainwater storage capacity of close to 50,000 litres, which will make the winery self-sufficient, with no need to take water from the Murray River.

Social sustainability
Whistler stress that their operations are an important part of the local community. They also acknowledge the role of the traditional holders of the land: ‘We acknowledge and pay respect to the past, present and future Traditional Custodians and Elders of this nation and the continuation of cultural, spiritual and educational practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.’

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Australia Vintage 2019

It’s hard to give a blanket picture of how Australia has done in any particular vintage as, frankly, it’s huge! Regional variation notwithstanding, 2019 generally looks good in most regions after an excellent 2018. Drought, though, continued to be a problem, and rising temperatures in places such as McLaren Vale mean that alcohol levels are only going in one direction.

However, I would urge members not to base their view of the entirety of Australia on what is going on in Barossa or McLaren Vale. 2019 in Margaret River produced some excellent wines and this continues to be a world-class region for elegant, silky and delicious cabernet-based wines. Tasmania, Yarra and Mornington Peninsula have also shone in the 2019 vintage and demonstrate how fantastic Australia is for cooler-climate winemaking. Thanks to Margaret River and Mornington Peninsula’s sea influence (therefore keeping temperatures cooler) and the microclimates of Yarra Valley and Tasmania, these regions are set to...
It’s hard to give a blanket picture of how Australia has done in any particular vintage as, frankly, it’s huge! Regional variation notwithstanding, 2019 generally looks good in most regions after an excellent 2018. Drought, though, continued to be a problem, and rising temperatures in places such as McLaren Vale mean that alcohol levels are only going in one direction.

However, I would urge members not to base their view of the entirety of Australia on what is going on in Barossa or McLaren Vale. 2019 in Margaret River produced some excellent wines and this continues to be a world-class region for elegant, silky and delicious cabernet-based wines. Tasmania, Yarra and Mornington Peninsula have also shone in the 2019 vintage and demonstrate how fantastic Australia is for cooler-climate winemaking. Thanks to Margaret River and Mornington Peninsula’s sea influence (therefore keeping temperatures cooler) and the microclimates of Yarra Valley and Tasmania, these regions are set to become increasingly important and worth following.
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Sunday Express

This has ripeness - sweet cherries and blackberries - with a hint of mint and tar, but it also has a spicy freshness, with liquorice and liqueur-like plum and cherry notes adding lots of depth.

Jamie Goode

decanter.com

New to the Society's Australian range, this is a thoroughly modern Barossa Shiraz, grown sustainably, foot trodden and wild fermented, with a portion of whole-bunch. It ages for 15 months in very large...
New to the Society's Australian range, this is a thoroughly modern Barossa Shiraz, grown sustainably, foot trodden and wild fermented, with a portion of whole-bunch. It ages for 15 months in very large French oak foudres, so there is no discernible oak influence. Instead this is about vibrant and juicy sweet forest fruits, and an impressive purity. Very beguiling, with modest alcohol.
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Amy Wislocki

The Daily Telegraph

This is a remarkably vital and mineralic shiraz that I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to an Old World palate. Foot-trodden and matured in French oak foudres, it stole my heart. -

Victoria Moore

Vinosaurus

If you’re seeking the perfect barbecue red, then look no further. [This] is a vibrant, racy Barossa Shiraz, made with great attention to detail. There’s nothing jammy here, just crunchy, pure berry...
If you’re seeking the perfect barbecue red, then look no further. [This] is a vibrant, racy Barossa Shiraz, made with great attention to detail. There’s nothing jammy here, just crunchy, pure berry fruit, sun-dried herbs and subtle dark spice. It’s juicy, smooth and delicious. Australia buyer Freddy Bulmer is rightly chuffed with this find ... -
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David Kermode

JancisRobinson.com

Dark crimson. Rich, spicy nose with some dried-fruit character even though it was apparently picked relatively early. Reasonably gentle palate and absolutely true to the current rounder, fresher...
Dark crimson. Rich, spicy nose with some dried-fruit character even though it was apparently picked relatively early. Reasonably gentle palate and absolutely true to the current rounder, fresher style of Barossa Shiraz. Fairly medicinal but nicely balanced. More evolved than one might expect of a two-year-old wine.
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16/20

The Observer

… modern-style Aussie shiraz which puts the emphasis on silky, slinky texture and peppery berry fruit rather than all-out power and alcohol.

- David Williams

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