This is serious Hunter Shiraz. Compared to the De Iuliis Steven Vineyard Shiraz tasted recently, this single vineyard wine has an altogether more intense vibe, and one might suggest this is appropriate given its price point.
Neatly, this is both ultra-premium and totally drinkable, a balancing act that surprisingly few wines manage. The key here is that, despite a decent dose of very classy oak, this remains quite fruit driven, a strikingly intense burst of red fruit at the core of its personality. The nose first, though, which at first was too bound up to be truly pleasurable, but which relaxes with about an hour in the glass. When it does, the most fabulous, liqueurous plum and cherry fruit emerges, along with a spice profile that’s part oak and, surprisingly, a peppery part that recalls cooler climate Shiraz. There’s also a distinctly meaty dimension. It’s cohesive and generous and really luxurious, just a delight.
The palate goes through a similar transformation, initially fruitless but quickly evolving into a model of intense shapeliness. If one thing stands out above all else with this wine, it’s the precision with which it articulates its flavours, never losing composure, always maintaining form and poise. Clean black and red fruits, cedar, spice, vanilla, not very much earth. The acid takes a primary structural role, sweet tannins backing up through the after palate and finish. It’s not so structured as to be forbidding, but certainly seems set for medium term ageing (three to five year) at least.
Such a different wine from the equally excellent De Iuliis and indeed many other 2009 Hunter Shirazes, this strikes me as an essential expression of the style.