Sampled 21 July 2021. Stuart McCloskey “I am not persuaded by my opening sentence, “And now to the most structured of the trio” - this is particularly evident when you dive straight in. The bouquet is intense with a Smörgåsbord of ripe, black fruits – blackberry, blueberry, violet and potpourri come rushing from the glass whilst minerals, Indian ink, liquorice and traces of brine and kelp provide unfathomable layers of complexity. I like how the wine builds in intensity – every swirl of the glass provides a new facet to consider. The fruit radiates but with a degree of restraint – the wine feels tighter and perhaps more classical compared to the single varietals. I detect more mineralité and tension – lovely freshness too. Perhaps less flamboyant than the other two. Regal and beautiful - a wine which provides precision and has no need to show off. For many, this will be irresistible in its youth, but a decade in bottle will provide exquisite drinking. I certainly prefer this to my original sample. 70% Cabernet Sauvignon 30% Shiraz. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware.”
98 Points - Stuart McCloskey “The 2019 blend is comprised of 50% Mataro, 35% Shiraz and 15% Grenache. The bouquet is a colossal, brooding skyscraper which needs coaxing with aeration (I suggest decanting for 6-8 hours). Sweet spices, blue and blackberry liqueur, asphalt, baked earth, bitter chocolate, liquorice, lavender and a heavenly twists of blood orange on the finish. The palate could not be any different; lithe, agile, elegant and full of freshness – the spine of acidity is a masterstroke and keeps the palate salivating. The fruit is juicy and the flavours open up like a peacock’s tail. Mineral-laced blueberry compote, floral pastille, lavender, some warmth and depth from black liquorice. Perhaps some sweet cherry on the finish too – white pepper after minutes. The tannins are supple and add the faintest of grip. This is such a fascinating wine, one which plays a hedonistic bouquet off against a palate which is in the hands of an angel. Drinking now (decant for 6+ hours) and will age gracefully over the coming ten or more years. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware.” Sampled 26.02.21.
98++ Points - Stuart McCloskey “A remarkable wine with ribbons of silky tannins weaving magic amongst the lakes of ripe, blue and black fruit. In every sense, it is perfectly formed. The bouquet provides the same ‘goosebump’ moment, as if I were sampling for the first time. There’s little change from violets, liquorice stick, blackberry pastille, cola, Indian ink and cold iron – warm earth emerges with more aeration. The floral character has heightened and there’s a marine character – white pepper on the finish too. Texturally, there’s a sense of wonder to this wine. The fruit sails effortless across the palate – rich but far from confected. There’s an earthiness from the tannins which grounds the fruit component. The balance is impeccable. I previously mentioned the wine as being a ‘skyscraper’ – I have changed this view. Yes, it is substantial but it is far from being monolithic. As anticipated, the flavours match those found on the nose with violets, blackberry pastille and flowers leading the way on what is a wondrous journey. Sweet spices, a core of juicy acidity and the grip of silky, earthy tannins are a perfect marriage. There’s an overriding sense of gracefulness which did not show last year. The equilibrium is utterly captivating and the precision on point. A brilliant wine. Decant for 4-6 hours. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware. Drinking now (quite amazingly) to 2040.” Sampled 25.02.2021.
98++ Points - Stuart McCloskey - “As before, the nose is more concentrated than the 2017 – quite considerably and hasn’t changed from the profusion of violets, blackberry, blueberry compote, Indian ink, asphalt. Cooling graphite and cold steel which I love. Mint is emerging with savoury bay leaf. I detect some saltiness / salinity on the finish which is another big tick. The palate has picked up the pace against the 2017 (who said there is no vintage variation in Australia!). Unlike many of Australia’s cult wines (RunRig is a perfect example), this is not overdone, cooked or out of sorts. This is rich, luxurious and delivers an unstoppable wave of ripe blue and black fruits. Almost exotic. The cooling feel to the fruit is a masterstroke as is the whisper of freshness and filigree tannins. Amazingly balanced, extremely long and I did not spit a drop (excuse any typos). A monumental, powerfully structured wine with the potential to age for decades. Decant for 4-6 hours. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware.” Sampled 25.02.2021
Sampled 21 July 2021. Stuart McCloskey “I love the colour – midnight aubergine if I were designing a colour for Farrow & Ball. The bouquet has obvious similarities to my first note. The brooding character is unquestionably the charm. If I am being honest, it is difficult to encapsulate into words – lots of hand movements but the words have obviously left me. I find the aromatic conundrum utterly fascinating – I could spend an entire day swirling and sniffing. I am drawn to the ocean with warmed oyster shell, sea kelp, ocean spray, all working harmoniously with Indian ink and graphite. Über sophisticated and undoubtedly showing better than my February sample. The palate provides all the classic Barossa signatures – perhaps with a touch of amplification without, and I stress, any clumsiness. The palate feel is sensual, but it does take time to discover (I suggest a long decant of at least 6-8 hours). Contrary to my original note, I do not believe this is to be ‘opulently hedonistic.’ Yes, the fruit is ripe (as are the tannins) but it’s the coiled tension which provides an intellectual perspective along with lots of ‘energy’. The length is astonishing with touches of spice entering minutes later. At this price, this delivers the complete package – a real jewel…. Drinking from now to 2040+. Ideally, tuck a case away for 10-15 years. Keep the other case available and sample a bottle every 2-3 years.”