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The 2013 expression was from the second consecutive early harvest and another good quality vintage. There were a lot of similarities to the '12 growing season but they resulted in different wines. There was more rain in the winter of '13 and flowering commenced a bit earlier. This helped as the summer was drier and hotter than usual producing an earlier harvest than normal.
It was a similar year to 2012 in many respects but the final stages of ripening occurred in quite different conditions and this is the key to the difference in the wines. Where 2012 turned cool from February and stayed cool for harvest, 2013 remained warm throughout. The character of the wines is reflected by this difference, the new vintage producing more generous, somewhat softer wines that will require less time in the cellar to bring out their best.
The 'Reserve' Shiraz comes entirely from the 20 Rows block. It was planted in 1962 on the Langhorne Creek flood plain, which receives late winter and early spring flood waters from the Bremer River assisted by a series of channels and weirs. This is a special and unique region which has been producing wine since the mid 1800’s. The vineyard area of Langhorne Creek today has expanded well outside the original flood plain land and the growing conditions in the new vineyards are different. One could make a good argument for the appellation Langhorne Creek to be used exclusively for the flood plain vineyards.
The ‘20 Rows’ vines are quite low yielding for the area at around 1.2-1.8 tons/acre. They are growing on their own roots as the area is free of phylloxera. The soil in this vineyard is a deep alluvial clay loam with an almost shimmering quality about it which produces the most beautiful small, black-colored and perfectly formed berries one could ever imagine.
This possesses explosive aromatics, purity, texture, and richness. Intense but not too full-bodied with an elegance for a wine of such mass and intensity. The palate gives way to pure blueberry and blackberry fruit intermixed with smoke, graphite, and a touch of vanilla. This is a fine example of power in a bit less bulky frame than expected. Bernard Hopkins?
Drew had some very interesting thoughts on the trend toward 'light(er)' wines as a current trend, and being an M.W. it was very worth posting below.
"It also makes me pause to reflect on the trend towards ‘light’ wines these days and whether we should be trying to conform...but our vines grow in a warm, sunny climate. They are old and low yielding, with little or no irrigation used. They naturally produce full bodied, generous, densely flavoured wines. So even if we wanted to make ‘light’ wine, it would be working against nature to do so. And on this subject, I think we should be careful not to accept ‘light’ as an excuse for lack of flavour. Whilst lighter bodied wines come naturally from cooler regions, to be of merit they still need to be well flavoured and the good ones are.
We seem to be losing flavour in our foods these days. Have you noticed how poorly flavoured a lot of our fruit and vegetables have become? Selected primarily for yield and appearance, the tomatoes, strawberries and nectarines offered in supermarkets are so lacking in flavour we usually won’t purchase them (but it’s very hard to do without tomatoes!). Flavour is what matters most!"
- Drew Noon, M.W.
- Region: Langhorne Creek
- Varietal: 100% Shiraz
- Vintage: 2013
- Vineyard: 20 Rows Block
- Vine Age: 51 years old
- Yield: 2 tons per acre
- Soil Type: Deep Alluvial Clay
- TA: 5.5 g/L
- pH: 3.74
- Alcohol: 16%
- Oak: 18 months in French & American tonneau (40% new)
- Production: 550 cases
John Reynell planted grapes at Reynella in 1838 and later employed a young laborer named Thomas Hardy. In so doing, the foundations were being put in place for two wine dynasties that were to dominate the region for over a century. McLaren Vale became the model of the small winery before such enterprises became fashionable in other states, and it... Learn More »
The term garagiste, originally coined as a pejorative referring to the small wineries in Bordeaux's Right Bank who were making more modern style wines from purchased grapes, has been greatly overused to the point of cliché. Learn More »
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