As the winery suggested, the 2014 is 'quite simply the best Shiraz we have ever made', so does it live up to the hype?
2014 in the Hunter Valley is like THE vintage for Shiraz, and often sited as the best growing season in 50 years. With this Aristea, you are getting a Shiraz in the old Hunter River Burgundy vogue. Soft, beautifully balanced red wine, capable of a long life; just like the wonderful red wines of Burgundy. With restrained primary fruit characters and with a terrific long line running through it this wine is capable of developing further in bottle for another decade or more.
Showcasing the terroir of the vineyard at work, and only produced in exceptional vintages, the best parcels of fruit from the Schoolhouse Block are hand-picked then fermented on skins for 14 days, 30% whole bunches, before being pressed into French oak puncheons (50% new) to mature over the next 12 months.
The wine spends are further 4 years maturing in bottle to let the flavours and aromas come together, backed by fine tannins and well-balanced acidity.
12 months in French oak with 50% of barrels new, along with 40% whole bunch pressed, is the highlight and as a result it's held back from release for a further four years to allow the oak tannins and the fruit flavours to fully integrate into the wine. There are little hints of that aged Hunter quality – touches of leather and tobacco – but the palate is still dominated by red and dark fruits. The 2014 Aristea Shiraz is a deep rich red wine with the balance, weight, concentration and power allowing development of wonderful complexity over many decades, demonstrating the heights that Shiraz can achieve in the Hunter Valley.
Glenguin Vineyard was first planted in the 1980s with an average vine age now over 25 years and each wine comes from a small individual vineyard block on the property. Organic and biodynamic farming practices are used at Glenguin where things are still done by hand from planting through vine training to pruning and handpicking at vintage. Glenguin wines have won major Trophies including NSW and Boutique Wine Show Trophies for best white wine plus both Best Red and NSW Wine of the Year at the NSW Wine Awards for shiraz. Production is extremely limited with just a few hundred cases of each of their wines which are only made in good vintages.
JAMES HALLIDAY - HALLIDAY'S WINE COMPANION
Matured in French hogsheads and puncheons for 12 months, 4 years in bottle before release. Terrific crimson hue. The top class vintage is developing precisely as a top class Hunter Valley shiraz should. The fruit is supple and smooth, the blackberry and black cherry flavours still pristine. The wine has decades of life in front of it. Exceptional.
CAMPBELL MATTINSON - THE WINE FRONT
Cropped at one tonne per acre. 10 days on skins, 20% whole bunches, 12 months in oak and then another year or so in bottle prior to release. 150 cases produced.This is where things gets serious. The flavour profile isn't your standard fair. It's alive with character. Leather, game, black cherries, smoked meats, cloves and peppers. It feels powerful in the mouth and then stern and meaty through the finish; almost ferrous and/or reductive; it almost goes without saying that it also rocks and rolls with tannin. It's not the easiest wine to get your head around, and that's part of why it's good; it commands the floor.'