We are in the luxurious position of being able to give this wine exactly what it needed most - time. As with the previous vintage, it spent 9 months on full yeast lees with 15% of the juice having been fermented and aged in old oak. More importantly, after bottling it sat quietly in the cellar for a further 18 months. Gone is the stroppy, scatty, gangly adolescent and instead we welcome a calm, sophisticated and urbane baby-boomer just itching for some intellectual intercourse.
The royal gold colour attests to both the elevage of the barrel portion and the extra bottle age. At 13.8 the alcohol pushes the hemline high atop long legs but this is the price paid for ultimate fruit ripeness and complete phenolic development. The nose smacks of rich quince paste, cracked sesame seed, roasted chestnut and split-pea broth. Black avocado and white peach toy with a touch of wild fennel and homely aromas of baked apple strudel while hints of wet ironstone, broken twitch and oven grilled muesli give an intriguing complexity.
The palate is voluptuous to the point of obesity and so soft and slippery you may need river shoes to negotiate a crossing. Old fashioned raspberry drops give a sweet/sour combo followed by a chewy honeycomb texture which adds thickness and a certain roundness. Obsequious it may be but supercilious it is not, as a slightly raw edge sparks up against the backbone of titanium. A cheesy character, the hangover from a portion of the blend having been fermented in oak, imparts a perplexing complexity, as does a hint of black pepper and a dash of lemon, lime and bitters. There is an air of invulnerability in the finish as this wine cries out for some kind; any kind of food to accompany it. Delicious now, it will reward several years of cellaring.
Harvest date: 31 Mar – 6 Apr 2014 Residual Sugar: Zero
Brix at Harvest: 23.5 – 24.2 Bottling Date: 23 Feb 2015
Final Alcohol: 13.8% Release Date: 1 Oct 2016
pH: 3.36 Cellaring: 2 to 8 years
Total Acidity: 6.0 g/l