One of the lessons of this wine is that old Hunter Shiraz is a great way to screw with a wine options game. Great wine, though, and the highlight of an evening that featured several big names failing to live up to their reputations.
On the nose, a Mataro-like meatiness along with dirty leather, some residual red fruit and what is best described as “the smell of old red wine.” It’s not overly developed for a wine of this age, though, and as we worked our way through the options game, most of the group thought it was a much younger wine (five to eight years old). There’s a bit of oak riding through the aroma profile, chocolate-vanilla in character and quite well balanced. Just a really interesting, not-quite-mellow nose.
The palate shows the full extent of this wine’s development, which is to say it remains a structurally youthful wine whose flavours are developing but not yet fully mature. Given the nose’s reticent fruit, what jumps out first here is a roundness and generosity of red berry fruit that screams this wine’s origins, if not its age. This fruit is quickly overwhelmed by savoury notes and the tertiary sweetness that I especially enjoy with older reds. This particular bottle has thrown quite a sediment, and the glass I’m tasting right now has more than its fair share of muck, so it’s possible the muscular tannins I see have a bit of grit mixed in. Structurally, though, this remains an impressively primary wine, with bright acid and well-formed tannins contributing real sophistication to the overall tasting experience. A long, gentle, vibrant finish.
Excellent wine, and one with many good years ahead of it.