I presented the 2005 4 Acres at a dinner with Chris last year, where it promptly stole the limelight from a table full of desirable labels we had both brought to the party, as much for its difference as its objective quality. It was like essence of Hunter Shiraz, quirkily different from “Australian Shiraz” as well as singular in the context of its own regional style. The 2006 is interesting for a number of reasons, not least because it shows a clear relationship with its Vat 9 sibling of the same vintage, perhaps indicating the degree to which vintage conditions shine through with these wines.
A bit of sulfur suppressing significant aroma at first, but lifting after an hour or so to show deep, rich smells of red fruit, eucalyptus and some regional stink. There’s also faint oak influence that adds richness and depth rather than anything especially “primary.” It’s a beguiling aroma, and quite complex.
Entry shows good impact and flavour intensity from the tip of the tongue onwards. There’s a lovely fanning out of flavour with this wine and, by the time the mid-palate arrives, the mouth is awash with intense, quality fruit. More red fruit and dirt here, mostly savoury but with edges of sweetness. As with the Vat 9, there’s a slightly plummy, very ripe fruit note. I think it works better in the context of this wine, though, because overall the 4 Acres is a lighter and more charming wine than the Vat 9, and can carry this idiosyncratic flavour profile more easily. The wine’s structure seems evenly split between prominent yet balanced acidity and velvety, mouth filling tannins. Mouthfeel is correspondingly bright and substantial. Nice, focused line through the after palate and finish.
I really love this wine, and I admit I’m biased towards its style. But it’s an easy wine to fall for and, despite its sophistication, I imagine wine novices would easily recognise the quality of this wine’s fruit, as well as its superb balance. If anything, it’s a more “complete” wine than the 2005, and I’ve a feeling it’s only showing the tip of the iceberg in terms of what it might become in a few years’ time. I’ll be waiting with anticipation.
Date tasted: April 2008