A Survey of Australian Reds - 13 October 2010 - Host: Derek

Palate Cleanser

    NV De Bortoli Emeri Sparkling Shiraz.

The Red Wines

    2002 Wild Duck Creek "Springflat" Shiraz … Heathcote, Victoria.
    2002 Mitolo "Savitar" Shiraz – McLaren Vale, South Australia (SA).
    2002 Charles Cimicky Shiraz Reserve – Barossa Valley, SA.
    1998 Greenock Creek "Seven Acre" Shiraz - Barossa Valley, SA.
    1997 Fox Creek Merlot – McLaren Vale, SA.
    1998 Clarendon Hills Syrah "Brookman Vineyard" – McLaren Vale, SA.
    1997 Clarendon Hills O.V. Grenache "Blewitt Springs" - Barossa Valley, SA.
    1997 Clarendon Hills O.V. Grenache "Kangarilla" - Barossa Valley, SA.
    1997 Trevor Jones Shiraz "Wild Witch Dry Grown Reserve" - Barossa Valley, SA.
    1994 Elderton "Command" Shiraz - Barossa Valley, SA.
    1997 Penfolds Grange Hermitage - Barossa Valley, SA.


    Grant Burge 20 year old Tawny Port - Barossa Valley, SA.

Members' votes for the top 2-3 wines: Blewitt (7); Elderton, Trevor Jones, Kangarilla (6); Mitolo, Wild Duck, Grange, Cimicky (2); Fox, Seven Acre (1).

2002 WILD DUCK CREEK "Springflat" Shiraz Springflat Shiraz Heathcote 90 Points - 2002 Wild Duck Creek Spring Flat Shiraz Deep colour. Fresh liquorice/ aniseed/ dark choclate/ cherry aromas. Well balanced wine with plenty of sweet dark cherry/ chocolate/ mint flavours, underlying new oak and fine slinky firm tannins. Finishes long and sweet with some roasted notes. Wild Duck Creek’s single vineyard Spring Flat Shiraz is a more serious wine and has been slowly building up interest from collectors for some years. Across vintages the wine is strongly flavoured and pleasingly balanced with chocolaty graphite aromas, plenty of fruit richness, volume of fruit, dense ripe tannins and well balanced new oak. Father and son winemaking team Dave and Liam Anderson take a fairly laissez faire approach to winemaking. The vineyard is dry-land farmed. The severe drought conditions over recent years will no doubt have played a part in the overall concentration and character of fruit. The berries are typically small and thick skinned resulting in pitch dark wines with plenty of weight and substance. Winemaking is “nothing fancy” but the wines are now matured in fairly heavy toasted American (50%) and French (50%) oak. Interestingly the oak does not dominate at all; an illustration of the overall power and balance of flavours in the wine. Overall production is around 2400 cases. 
2002 MITOLO "Savitar" Shiraz Savitar Shiraz McLaren Vale 94-96 Points – The Advocate 2003. The saturated blue/purple coloured 2002 offers gorgeous aromas of white flowers, liquid minerals, blackberries, blueberries, earth and tree bark. Ripe and full-bodied with great intensity, this prodigious effort will require 2-3 years of cellaring. Anticipated maturity 2006-2016. Frank Mitolo commenced his own wine company in 2000, with the goal of creating McLaren Vale and Barossa Valley Shiraz using the very best fruit, non-interventionist wine making and super fine oak. In 2001 Mitolo expanded to to include Savitar with the grapes from the Willunga district of McLaren Vale where the soil is heavy grey loam over sandstone, with black cracking Biscay clays intermixed that has excellent water-holding capacity and requires minimal irrigation, and a distinct maritime climate cool breezy nights and warm, mild days. Resulting in an even ripening period, allowing the development of rich fruit flavours and fully ripe tannins. Grapes are harvested according to flavour profile rather than sugar content with frequent trips to the vineyard during vintage to regularly assess. Each parcel of fruit is fermented on skins for seven days prior to pressing and the completion of fermentation in 90% fine grained new French Oak and 10% seasoned American Oak. A natural malolactic fermentation is completed before the wine is racked and returned to oak where maturation for about 16 months follows.
2002 CHARLES CIMICKY Shiraz Reserve   Shiraz Barossa Valley 94-96 Points - Wine Advocate #148 August 2003. "A barrel sample of the 2002 Shiraz Reserve appears to be spectacular. An inky black/purple color is accompanied by sumptuous aromas of scorched earth, melted licorice, camphor, blackberries, and cherry liqueur. Full-bodied, dense, and well-delineated, it will be accessible young, but given its structure and extract, it will be at its finest in 2-5 years, and last for 15 or more. Very impressive!"  The Cimicky winery, located near Lyndoch at the entrance to the Barossa Valley, was established in 1973. The winery itself is surrounded by 75 acres of vineyards and uses state-of-the-art winemaking equipment ... in addition to top-of-the-line fermenters and barrels, Cimicky has an estate bottling line, which is an unusual feature for a small winery. Charles Cimicky began making wine under his own label in the 1990s and believes in maintaining the inherent fruit characters of the rich, robust Barossa style and in the importance of viticulture. Apart from minor drip irrigation in January and February, the vines are dry grown, cover-cropped and organically fertilised. The fruit is aged only in top quality oak, which is apparent in the fine grained tannins evident in all the premium wines. Cimicky produces rich, voluptuous, generous wines with superb balance. His motto is "Good wine begins from the earth." Cimicky aims his 15,000-case production mostly at reds, concentrating on Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. 
1998 GREENOCK CREEK "Seven Acre" Shiraz Seven Acre Shiraz Barossa Valley 96 Points - Wine Advocate #183 (Jun 2009) - "The massive 1998 Shiraz Seven Acres performed better than it did in its youth. A nuanced, complex bouquet of black fruits, forest floor, graphite, licorice, and leather precedes a peppery, full-bodied Shiraz of extraordinary concentration, density, freshness, and vivacity. While vibrant, exuberant, and huge, it is not over the top, nor does it exhibit any evidence of wood. Established in 1978, Greenock Creek, is a tiny winery with a production level of only 2500 cases per year. This has always been one of my favorite Barossa wineries - great proprietors, tiny yields, old vines, and a hands-off style of winemaking. The Shiraz cuvees were off the charts - every one still young and not close to full maturity. These are all high octane wines (14.5-16% alcohol), but any evidence of wood is completely buried under the aromatic complexity and richness.". One taste of these wines will make a believer out of anybody. Sadly, much of the production is already sold in Australia. All the cuvée’s were made from yields of less than 1.75 tons of fruit per acre. The Greenock Creek vineyards are all situated in the northern Barossa Valley, the same are in which some of the finest sources for Penfold’s Grange are located. These are massive, opulently textured, extraordinary wines. I kept the 1995 Seven Acres Shiraz open for a whopping five days without a trace of oxidation. I finally asked myself what in the world I was doing, and drank the rest of the bottle.” Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate #117 
1997 FOX CREEK Merlot   Merlot McLaren Vale 89+ - The wine exhibits a saturated ruby/purple color, as well as copious quantities of toasty new oak in the nose, and mocha-infused, jammy cherry-like fruit. It is medium to full-bodied, rich and monolithic, but impressively balanced and pure, with mouth-staining levels of extract.  Low acidity and an up-front, flamboyant style suggest it can be drunk now and over the next 10-12 years. When Jim & Helen Watts bought the Fox Creek Vineyard property in 1984, they were advised against planting vines as the soils were heavy clay. The property had previously been used for growing barley and grazing sheep. Undeterred, they selected and planted fine quality cuttings and nurtured the young vines. Their labours bore extraordinary good quality fruit - that was lovingly converted into supreme quality wines. * One of the superstars of Australia, Fox Creek produces wines that go off the charts in terms of extract and richness. The first effort with Merlot, the 1997, (3-year old vines and yields of only 1.6 tons of fruit per acre) did not receive an outstanding score simply because it was not complex. Merlot fanatics may rate it even higher than I did.  We don’t have a lot of information available, as it was released before we had the technology to capture press reviews etc.  It did win some show medals: Trophy Best Merlot, Royal Adelaide Wine Show 1998, Gold Medal, Royal Adelaide Wine Show 1998, Silver Medal, Royal Perth Wine Show 1998
1998 CLARENDON HILLS Syrah Brookman Shiraz McLaren Vale 95 Points- The 1997 Shiraz Brookmans Vineyard exhibits a saturated opaque purple color that gives way to a peppery, dried herb, tar, asphalt, and blackberry liqueur-scented nose. As the wine sits in the glass, intense aromas of allspice also emerge. Huge, massive, chewy, and full-bodied, it is packed with fruit, glycerin, and character. Drink it over the next 12-15+ years. This vineyard was planted in 1965 in rich, chocolate-brown clay soils. It produces cabernet, merlot and syrah varieties which all exhibit sweet, chocolate, earthy characteristics. This wine forms part of Clarendon Hills’ ‘Grand Cru’ classification. Earthy, savoury fruited and controlled. It has a deep layering of Kalamata, cigars, espresso and black truffle - within a defined blue-fruited spectrum. It also offers a sublime creaminess along an evolving expression. Perfume with a waxy, rounded component typecasts this vineyard. The aroma elevation in the glass is distinctly lower than its Grand Cru siblings. Recessed intensity and mid-palate positioning makes for a beautifully centered focus and it forms an axis of length and weight. The Brookman Syrah is for those who enjoy subtlety and softness. This vineyard's best years are displayed after cellaring for 5-10 and thereafter for 15-20. This wine is a crowd-pleasing, exotic offering that takes the level of richness and hedonism to sensational heights.
1997 CLARENDON HILLS O.V. Grenache Blewitt Springs Grenache McLaren Vale 90 Points - The 1997 Old Vine Grenache Blewitt Springs Vineyard is concentrated, complex, and balanced. Deep, full, and rich, with low acidity, high alcohol (14.5%), and gobs of sweet black cherry/kirsch fruit, it should be drunk over the next 5-6 years.  All the vineyards all located within 2 miles of the estate. All the vines are dry grown, hand harvested, and mostly untrellised “Bush Vines”; soil types vary dramatically despite proximity of the vineyard plots. Sand and clay top soils and ironstone, sandstone, even gravel lies beneath.
Bratasiuk’s winery produces only 800 to 1000 cases. There are now nineteen single vineyard wines and they are 100% varietal, planted with the oldest vines of Grenache aged between 70 to 100 years. This wine is a crowd-pleasing, exotic offering that takes the level of richness and hedonism to sensational heights. This wine is worth trying if only because of its compelling purity, opulence, and explosive richness.
1997 CLARENDON HILLS O.V. Grenache Kangarilla Grenache McLaren Vale 90 Points - The 1997 Old Vine Grenache Kangarilla Vineyard (14.5% alcohol) is complex with aromas of tobacco, dried herbs, pepper, and sweet black cherry fruit. A big, rich, and full-bodied wine, it reveals significant depth and length. Anticipated maturity: now-2006. The juice is fermented using indigenous yeasts. The reds are fermented in open stainless steel tanks and undergo a traditional winemaking, with warm fermentation and an extended maceration, resulting in deeply coloured, often turbo-charged wines. All the pressings are returned to the 100% new oak. All the wine are matured in imported Burgundian barriques. The reds are matured for 18 months. No filtering and fining means that the Clarendon Hills wines still have their colour and character when they go into bottle. The above techniques are used to produce rich, complex wines that will age very well in the cellar.
1997 TREVOR JONES Dry Grown Shiraz Wild Witch Shiraz Barossa Valley 90 Points - Wine Advocate #135 - "The 1997 Shiraz Reserve "Wild Witch" comes from extremely old vines. It is again an elegant, finesse-style Shiraz with notes of cedar wood, red currants, pepper, and a touch of blackberries. It is well-made, surprisingly restrained, and subtle for an Australian Shiraz, but distinctive in its individuality and gracefulness." Trevor Jones Wild Witch Shiraz is named after the Wild Witch vineyard (vines about 40 years of age), which is nestled in the hills above Lyndoch, in the Barossa Valley. This Shiraz is not for the faint - hearted. Traditional viticulture techniques ensure that this wine is produced to optimal quality. The concentrated spicy, peppery aromas of this dry grown shiraz, tamed after two and a half years in a combination of French and American Oak, are full-bodied, voluptuous and opulent.
1994 ELDERTON COMMAND Command 100% O.V. Shiraz Barossa Valley 92 Points - Colour: Extremely dark rich plum- almost ink. Nose: Powerful and lifted warm peppers with definite sweet vanilla oak character. Palate: Immense mouth- filling dark chocolate, warm complex fruit with sweet vanilla. The Elderton Command Shiraz grapes are grown on a selected portion of the Elderton Estate vineyard, from vines planted in 1894. Grown on rich river silt soils and red brown earth over limestone, in a Mediterranean climate with cropping levels less than 4 tonnes per hectare. Minimal supplemented water and hedging to maximise grape flavour. The grapes are picked at optimum maturity (13.5° to 14.5° baume). Minimal pressing, long fermentation, temperature controlled long term maturation (3 years in American oak puncheons) and 12 months bottle age prior to release in March make this quality wine complex, balanced with a long term cellaring potential. 14.5% Alcohol Volume.
1997 PENFOLDS GRANGE HERMITAGE Various 96% Shiraz and 4% Cabernet Sauvignon Barossa Valley 94 Points - "The 1997 Grange (96% Shiraz and 4% Cabernet Sauvignon) looks to be a classic Grange. The saturated purple-colored 1997 offers a gorgeously sweet nose of blackberry liqueur, cherries, camphor, chocolate, plums, and mocha. The wine is opulently-textured, extremely soft, layered, and seductive, with Grange's tell-tale personality well-displayed, but in a seamless, seductive style. Anticipated maturity: 2005-2022."  Grange is an icon, being both Australia's and Penfolds' flagship wine. Grange boasts an unbroken line of vintages from the experimental 1951 and clearly demonstrates the synergy between Shiraz and the soils and climate of South Australia. The grapes are sourced primarily from the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale. Penfolds Grange displays fully ripe, intensely flavoured and textured Shiraz grapes in combination with new American oak for 20 months. The result is a unique Australian style that is now recognized as the most consistent of the world's great wines. The Grange style is the original and most powerful expression of Penfolds' multi-vineyard, multi-district blending philosphy.  NOW starting at $342.74 
N/V GRANT BURGE 20 Year Old Tawny Various Grenache, Mataro and Shiraz Barossa Valley 22 Gold Medals, 22 Silver Medals, 27 Bronze Medals, 12 Trophies - The Grant Burge 20 Year Old Tawny is a rich, mature wine showing deep tawny colour, complex rancio characters on the bouquet and excellent integration of spirit. The palate is sweet and mellow but finishes quite dry and shows a harmonious balance of developed fruit characters and oak tannins. This exceptional mature tawny is made from the Barossa’s traditional tawny varieties — grenache, mataro and shiraz. A solera-based system is used, enabling us to consistently release wines of high quality. A limited quantity of 20 Year Old Tawny is drawn for bottling each year and the barrels topped up with selected younger wine. 


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