Tyrrell's Vat 9 Shiraz 2006

The last few days have been spent blowing my nose, coughing and generally moping about. One of the boring things about being sick is that one can’t really enjoy much of anything, so all the spare time that results tends to go to waste. I still feel under the weather, but I thought I’d open a familiar wine, one that I’ve tasted twice before, to see if it might lift my spirits. Just one small glass, you understand.

I’d forgotten the richness these drought-era Hunters possess, and this wine is a potent reminder of how vintage conditions allowed a concentrated, almost liquerous expression of Shiraz to come forth. On opening, I was a little overwhelmed and thought the wine too much, too dense and too monolithic. That has changed fairly quickly, though, and the region’s typicit√© is very much in evidence here. This is simply a bigger version of the style. With a bit of air and swirling, the wall of liqueur breaks down into a variety of flavour components, some speaking of the heat of the year, others showing delicious freshness and vivacity. Tertiary flavours are starting to creep in, but these are very much in the background, and the wine retains large volumes of primary fruit. It’s interesting that the latest Tyrrell’s mailer suggests this is now a “mature style, drinking well.” I agree with the latter, but am not so sure of the former.

The palate’s luxe meshes well with the relatively rich flavour profile that flows coherently from the nose. Structurally, this is quite relaxed, though possessing abundant tannins, fine and velvet-like. Acid, often a hallmark of Hunter Shiraz, seems muted at first, but is very present; the wine’s density masks it at first. Flavours are of red fruits and leather, earth and gentle spice. So typical, so correct. Also quite nuanced, though it can be hard, at times, to see past the wine’s power. A lovely, even line leads through to a finish that sings with soft fruit.

This is a gorgeous wine in all sorts of ways – its sensuality, its transparency, its truth. I raise a glass to those of us with some in our cellars.

Price: $A32
Closure: Cork
Source: Retail

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