After suffering a significant loss of his estate crop due to frost in 2007, Simon Clayfield sourced grapes from a range of other vineyards in the Grampians region in order to produce this wine, a reserve-level version of his Massif label. This wine changed significantly over the course of two days, and my note (hopefully) reflects this progression.
Initially, lots of oak on the nose: mostly coffee grinds and vanilla milkshake. Swirl by swirl, the oak melts back into a fabric of dense berry fruit compote and plum flesh, iodine and brambles. The fruit doesn’t really begin to sing for a couple of days; it ends up gaining character and purity, becoming a thoroughly regional expression of Shiraz fruit aromas. The oak remains sexy, though, and the wine’s aroma is intensely sensual, almost gropable. This is an aroma profile with hidden, shaded places, suggestive of late night coffees and early morning walks home.
In the mouth, the wine swells quickly to fill the middle palate with soft, pliable volume. Intensity is only moderate, though it gains some weight over a day or two of air. One might wish for more, but by the same token this restraint allows the wine’s most interesting parts — flow, mouthfeel, sensuality — to shine. The after palate has a sweet, liquerous edge before the finish brings stubbly oak back to the foreground. Tannins are loose-knit and sweet, acid very well integrated. The alcohol level (15.1% abv) doesn’t translate to any objectionable heat, though it’s certainly present – I suspect its effect is more strongly felt via the wine’s slippery mouthfeel and its presence in the mouth.
A really earthy, sexy wine.