Even before opening the bottle there are some reasonable expectations we can have for this wine. After a decade of development it is likely that the primary fruit will have waned, making the secondary winemaking aspects and tertiary ageing characters more evident. We can expect the colour to be a little paler relative to a younger Shiraz. But that is just the theory after all, and the only way to really know is to taste the wine.
- Clarity: Clear
- Intensity: Medium
- Colour: Garnet
- Condition: Clean
- Intensity: Medium
- Development: Developing
- Sweetness: Dry
- Acidity: High
- Tannin: Medium-
- Alcohol: Medium+
- Body: Medium
- Flavor Intensity: Medium+
- Finish: Medium+
- Quality: Very Good
- Readiness/Cellaring: Can drink now, potential to cellar
- Identity: Australia / Hunter Valley / Syrah/Shiraz
- Price: High-priced (~$25)
- Long, fast tears
- Colour like a pressed, dried rose
- Aromas of leather, smoke, dried dark flowers, cherries, pepper
- Flavours of sour cherries, cola, stewed prunes, potpourri, white pepper
- Still has noticeable fruit but very savoury on the palate.
- Very fine, savoury tannins
- Great example of aged, new-world red
- Want to try this with rib-eye steak
If you visualise the Hunter Valley region on a map you will find it is closer to the equator than other famed Australian regions that produce Shiraz. This brings with it the corresponding advantages and disadvantages in regards to the growing environment. In my mind I was prepared to expect a profile typical of a warmer climate. For more information you can check out the data sheet at WineAustralia here.
I thought this wine was well balanced, in the sense that it was walking a tightrope. The high acid/low tannin duality is present once again, but is not distracting due to its development level, with primary, secondary and tertiary characters evident. Briefly, primary characters refer to those that come mainly from the fruit itself, secondary from winemaking techniques (oak, lees stirring, etc…) and tertiary from bottle ageing.
I noted this wine was still “developing” and there was still some cellaring potential, but this is merely a technical observation. While there is still some primary fruit in the profile this will likely fade away in another year or two, giving way to interesting secondary and tertiary characters. Whether or not this is a good thing is entirely up to the taster.
Personally I prefer my wine to retain some fruit, and thankfully the use of screwcap closures makes this more possible on a longer time line. However I can respect the appeal of fully developed wines and understand they will always be necessary to further our understanding and enjoyment of them. For this reason I found this wine to deserve a “Very Good” quality evaluation.
Read more: Rational Wine Experiment – The Vertical Tasting