Tyrrell's Vat 5 NVC Shiraz 2003

This label seemed to disappear from the Tyrrell’s portfolio after the 2004 vintage. I recall reading something about damage to the NVC vineyard, but the details escape me. In any case, I have enjoyed it on numerous occasions, and the vineyard seems to impart an earthiness that’s quite regional and perhaps even more prominent than in some other Hunter wines.

A forthright, savoury nose of wet earth, cooked meat, an iodine-like note and concentrated, slightly stressed fruit. It’s deep and dark, and bulkier than many of its regional siblings. In the mouth, intriguing despite dimensions that extend towards clumsiness. Savoury berry fruits flood the mouth on entry, and are joined on the mid-palate by assertive minerality and an equally assertive, astringent mouthfeel. Despite the benefit of a few years in bottle, this wine is still vibrantly primary, with rustic acidity and chunky tannins key to its current balance. The after palate and finish are puckeringly dry.

To be critical, the fruit is slightly dead tasting, and the overall impression is one of heft rather than elegance. Still, it’s a clear view into vintage conditions and perhaps all the more interesting for it. In fact, if you ever find yourself facing a bottle of the 2003 and 2004 NVC Shiraz, they provide a great insight into how vintage conditions can influence a wine’s character. Personally, I loved the 2004 wine. Not a renowned red wine vintage in the Hunter by any means, 2004 nevertheless gave birth to a light, funky, elegant NVC Shiraz. I wish I had more bottles of it.

Price: $A30
Closure: Cork
Date tasted: September 2008

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