I really like Hilltops Shiraz; at its best, it has a flavour profile that I can only describe as “purple.” Vivid, slightly vulgar, yet soft at the same time. It strikes a nice halfway point between a pure cool climate attitude and the lushness of our warm climate styles, combining a dose of hedonism with the serious angularity of pepper and spice. Happily, this very affordable wine shows great typicité.
The nose has a notably deep aroma profile that shows layers of pepper, brown spice and squishy base of plush, dark fruit. Totally purple. This is the kind of aroma that dismisses complexity as an objective, because what’s there, though straightforward, is so attractive. I don’t mean to undersell this as some sort of dumb but pretty quaffing wine (though it could fill that role admirably, if only on the basis of its price).
The palate is quite breathtakingly structured, though whether its acid is fully integrated is a question mark for me. In any case, there’s a good rush of dense fruit flavour on entry, tickled around the edges by white pepper and crushed leaf. Things move into a more composed, almost elegant place through the after palate, where the wine thins out a little and delivers more complexity of flavour, including an intriguing medicinal note. A bit of hardness through the finish.
I reckon this is a great weeknight wine, much smarter and more identifiably regional than a lot of wines at this price point. Nice.