I pondered the stylistic choices made in last year’s model, and on pouring it’s immediately obvious the same path has been pursued here. This is a wine that leaves one in no doubt of its position at the top of the range.
The nose is dominated by the most seductive, expensive oak. Coffee, brown spice, Muscovado sugar; it’s quite overwhelming and, it has to be said, impressive. Slowly but surely, a rich vein of Barossa fruit starts to emerge, forcing its way through the planks. It’s distinctively regional in the blockbuster sense, redolent of plum liqueur and fruit cake. I’ve only been sitting with this for an hour or so, and have no doubt the fruit’s emergence will continue for some time.
The palate is more immediately fruited, which may come as a relief after the hyper masculine, somewhat forbidding aroma. On entry, spurts of fruit outrun enthusiastic oak and land on a middle palate that is highly spiced and less brutish than one might expect. Indeed, there’s a pleasing levity to this wine that is at odds with its confrontational flavour profile and which grants it welcome light and shade. Structure is ever-present, as much driven by slightly hot acid as by chalky tannin. The after palate is driven by coffee and spice, the finish long.
It’s hard to assess such styles when young. I do know it’s a dense wine, full of impact and designed to wow. What I’m interested to see is how this ages; whether the fruilt and oak will achieve balance, how the flavours will evolve.
Day 2: the wine has markedly lost its roughest edges and fruit is flowing more cleanly now. Still a massively dense wine, but much more drinkable and balanced. The fruit itself is most attractive. Give it ten years.
Yelland & Papps