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1998 Knights Granite Hills Shiraz
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A long time ago, a new wine maker named Gordon Knight produced a Shiraz that had a blackpepper quality that had not been seen in Australian Shiraz - the year was 1976. This blackpepper quality was immediately admired by wine lovers internationally, and seemed to compliment the ripe blackcurrant, blackberry and plum flavours. The reality of the blackpepper quality only became apparent over time as other vignerons planted Shiraz in very cool parts of Victoria, and they too managed to produce that unripe blackpepper aroma and flavour. In extreme cool climates, the Shiraz took on another nuance, and that was the aroma of white pepper, and that quality was found in some of the wines of Seville Estate.The purists will argue that the blackpepper quality comes from shiraz grapes that have not fully ripened, and Ron Laughton of Jasper Hill asserts that the fully developed cool climate shiraz qualities will only emerge about a fortnight after, the berries taste of blackpepper. In some ways a parallel can be made with the unripe herbaceous qualities of cool climate Cabernet, except that the vegetal flavours of unripe Cabernet and its primary ripe fruit flavours are diametrically opposed to one another, and do nothing to enhance the overall quality of the wine.The blackpepper flavours it will be argued actually enhance and produce a new flavour, juxtaposed to the ripe plum and blackberry, and blackcurrant flavour of fully ripened Shiraz.However, life is never that simple, and a winemaker may deliberately choose to create a complex blend of Shiraz, produced from a variety of picking dates, thus counter pointing the fully ripe flavours with blackpepper. In the end, there is no doubt that the combination of blackpepper, plum and blackberry flavours are very pleasing to the nose and palate, and unlike the herbaceous qualities of Cabernet form a harmonious marriage, rather than a strained relationship. Today, Gordon’s son, Llew Knight is the winemaker and the 1998 Knights Granite Hills Shiraz is a triumph for cool climate viticulture and clearly demonstrates the greatness of the vintage.
TASTING NOTE: Opaque crimson colour, with purple mauve edges. The nose has aromas of spice, black pepper and blackcurrant- a superb sniff. On the palate, intense, concentrated flavours of blackcurrant, blackberry, spice, liquorice and blackpepper - outstanding flavour integration with great length and persistence. Fine grained, perfectly balanced tannins with very long, lingering aftertaste of blackberry, blackpeppers and spice. Cellar 8-10 years. STOCKS ARE LIMITED.