Mount Pleasant Mount Henry Pinot Shiraz 2002

Pinot Noir and Shiraz. A little odd, you might say, yet not without precedent. As the back label explains, some of wine legend Maurice O’Shea’s most renowned wines were blends of these two varieties. So, Mount Henry is a tribute of sorts to these iconic wines. It’s pure Hunter Valley, of course, wrapped in a heavy, somewhat monumental bottle of chunky proportions. First impressions are marred somewhat by a big whiff of brett that never quites dissipates as the bottle empties. It’s not, however, beyond tolerance, at least for my palate. Rather, it’s a metallic sheen over deliciously earthy red fruits, quite sweet really, a bit of custardy oak and some funkiness. It smells of Hunter Shiraz but shows a marked divergence at the same time, with some bright complexity pushing it away from the straight Shiraz style. On entry, the wine smacks the lips and tongue with generous flavour almost immediately. It’s got good presence, this wine. The mid-palate shows good fruit weight and a fine, powdery texture, and tastes of raspberry liqueur poured on a dusty dirt road. Characterful, if not hugely complex. The after palate and finish are quite textural, thanks to chewy tannins.There’s a slight lack of focus to this wine’s progression through the palate, but why quibble over something so tasty? Parallels between Hunter “Burgundy” and Pinot Noir have a lot of history to draw on, if only at the level of nomenclature and general “style.” But there are synergies there, as O’Shea and this wine show. It’s a wonder more producers in the Hunter don’t experiment with this blend. I’m led to believe some Hunter enthusiasts are taking matters into their own hands.McWilliams Mount PleasantPrice: $A30Closure: CorkDate tasted: March 2008

2 thoughts on “Mount Pleasant Mount Henry Pinot Shiraz 2002

  1. This is true. There is synergy, although our wine is only about 5% pinot, the rest shiraz.

    I like the Henry too. It’s idiosyncratic and a wine with personality. I’d often rather have that than clean, quality but bland.

  2. How do you find the wine changing as you add Pinot into the mix?

    Interestingly, some Californian producers are blending Syrah into their Pinots with the apparent intent of beefing them up. I see the Hunter thing as the opposite — Hunter Shiraz is already a more delicate style (in general) and Pinot would seem to offer the possibility of extra perfume, suppleness, complexity. In theory, anyway.

    Mount Henry is definitely a wine with personality, and that makes up for a lot, including perhaps a little “funk” of uncertain provenance. I could practically see the rolling hills and gravel roads of the Hunter as I drank.

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