Looking back over my notes, I first tasted this in 2008, and again in 2009 with Chris. What’s striking about the glass in front of me now is how little it has changed from, in particular, my initial encounter.
This is still massively primary on the nose, the density of fruit I noted back in 2008 remaining a feature of the aroma profile, as is its just-out-of-the-gate freshness. Rich red and black fruits, pepper and other spices, firm oak; this certainly has the spice of a cooler climate wine along with the assertiveness and rich depth of a warmer climate one. Part of me feels this is Australia’s sweet spot in contemporary Shiraz – wines that show the ripeness and generosity of fruit achieved in our classic styles combined with the sort of spice and meatiness colder weather can bring. Best of both worlds, in a way.
In the mouth, still spicy and dominated by dense, muscular berry fruit. As I originally noted, this isn’t a wine of subtlety, but it never feels caricatured to me, always retaining a sappy, spicy edge to counterbalance its rich fruit. Here on the palate I’m getting a greater contribution from bottle age, with some lightly leathery flavours edging in and adding a sheen to the wine’s primary flavours. I previously suggested this wine was soft in acid, but on this tasting I’m getting good structure, both acid and tannin, which is keeping the wine brisk and firm. The after palate is perhaps starting to lose some fruit weight now, signalling the wine’s future as an altogether mellower experience.
If anything, this wine plays it a bit safe. It’s perfectly formed in its way, yet I wish it showed a wilder streak, something to lift it above being the excellent wine it already is and turn it into something truly memorable.