It’s been a few months since I last tasted this wine at cellar door. It wasn’t a rushed tasting as such, but it did take place in the height of summer, a couple of days before a catastrophic fire ban descended on Western Victoria, so you can imagine the conditions (42 degrees C from memory). I have been looking forward to tasting it again at leisure, which I did last night. Here are the results.
The nose shows thick, liqueur-like notes of plum flesh, cherry pips, chocolate dust and dark spices. This is such a deep pool of aroma one could easily, pleasurably, get lost smelling it; it’s just one of those wines. The oak is well-judged in character and volume, present yet never more than supportive. It lacks the detail and subtlety usually present in the Clayfield Black Label, but on its own terms is a lovely wine to smell, and probably easier to enjoy right away.
In the mouth, it is basically an explosion of concentrated Grampians Shiraz flavour. Perhaps not as spicy as some, it nevertheless possesses the beautiful plum flavours and general sense of elegance that are hallmarks of this region’s wines. Entry is full-flavoured and immediate, placing plum skins directly onto the tip of the tongue. Juicy plum flesh accelerates towards the middle palate, where a dense, expansive range of flavours spread generously from left to right. It’s rich for sure, and there may be some who prefer a leaner expression of this varietal from what is a cooler climate region. What astonishes me, though, is how the wine remains within the regional idiom and, at the same time, shows such scale and ripeness. Its generosity more than compensates for any tendency to stylistic brutality. Beautiful, flavoursome tannins creep over the tongue from back to front as the after palate progresses. The finish shows slightly sappy oak flavours and goes for some time.
This would be good value at $35; as it is, a dead set bargain.
Update: day two sees spice come to the fore, and the aroma now has a lovely rich fruit cake character to it. Delicious.