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2002 Tyrrell's Rufus Stone Heathcote Shiraz
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- Cellar 4 - 5 years (2008-2009)
- ABV 14.9%
- Closure: Cork
The 2002 Tyrrell’s Rufus Stone Heathcote Shiraz offers a great window into understanding the terroir of the Heathcote District. The first release of this wine was the 1997 vintage – at this stage, the vineyard was young, yet managed in a way that produced a wine of outstanding quality. The formula for the early success was in part the terroir, the vineyard being planted on the North East slopes of Mount Camel, on that remarkable 500 million year old Cambrian earth. First crops often give the viticulturist an excellent idea of how a vineyard will develop, however, inevitably the yields are tiny, resulting in quite concentrated wine with a good palate structure (in spite of the vineyard’s youth).
Water is a scarce resource in the district, and for the lucky vineyards, bore water is available of good quality. Another source of water is an irrigation pipeline that runs along the right hand side of the Colbinabbin Road, pumping water down from the Warranga Mallee Channel located at the back of Colbinabbin. Tyrrell’s managed to divert this pipeline (at great expense) to their Rufus Stone vineyard. Crop levels in 1998 were still relatively small, and the wine like the 1997 release scored 96/100 on the Winespider system. By 1999 the use of bore water and cropping levels increased. The loss of concentration of flavour was evident in the 1999 vintage which rated 91/100 with the 2000 vintage dropping back to 89/100. As the drought took a grip and bore water was running low, the water application was reduced, resulting in more concentrated wines in 2001 and a Winespider score of 93/100. The good news for Shiraz lovers was the 2002 vintage. The water resources were running very low and the season was well underway before a new pipeline to the Rufus Stone vineyard was connected..
The rationale that has led Tyrrell’s to sell this wine at these prices has many producers in the Heathcote district totally astonished as no small operator is capable of coming even close to this price. One explanation from Bruce Tyrrell is that Tyrrell’s amortizes their production costs over the entire company, thus ‘smoothing out’ the highs of some regions. This may well be a freak vintage for Tyrrell’s, and the real test will be to see if they can repeat the quality for the 2003 and 2004 vintage and beyond. In the meantime, stock up - this is the Heathcote bargain of the year!
Tasting Notes: This is without doubt the best Rufus Stone Heathcote Shiraz since the great 1997 inaugural release. Opaque black crimson colour with deep black crimson hue. Perfumed nose of cedar, vanilla, plum, spice and blackberry. The palate is impressive, showing classic Heathcote density of flavour. Spice, blackberry, black pepper, plum and vanilla fill the mouth. Fine grained tannins, perfect balance followed by an exceptionally long black pepper aftertaste. Exceptional Value.
Cellar 4-5 years (2008-2009)
Alc/Vol: 14.9%Rating: 97/100Value: XXXXX/5