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2003 Journeys End Vineyards The Beginning Shiraz
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- Cellar Drink Now (2015)
- ABV 15%
- Closure: Stelvin
Re-tasted on 05/06/2015
Totally opaque black dark red colour with a dark brick red hue. Lifted aromas of jammy blackberries, stewed plum, liquorice and dark chocolate are followed by some vanillin spice and leather. Full bodied and still retaining good upfront richness the palate is beginning to dry out on the finish with flavours of jammy blackberries, aniseed and stewed plum over leather and spice. Velvet smooth tannins. Aftertaste of jammy blackberries, stewed plum, aniseed, leather and spice.
With the release of the 2003 Journeys End Beginning Shiraz, winemaker Ben Riggs has again extracted a remarkably pure expression of the variety. Indeed, there is a trademark quality appearing throughout the Journeys End Shiraz wines with their powerful aroma and distinct plum, blackberry, liquorice and blackpepper characteristics.
But how does Riggs extract such "essences" from grapes? Wine lovers are often bemused by descriptors like "plum" and "blackpepper" and may question their validity. To make matters worse, many wine experts have tended to invent their own vocabulary in order to protect their ‘High Priest’ status as authorities. The classic descriptor offered by one visiting English Master of Wine when confronted by a big North East Victorian red was that “It smells like fresh droppings from a Suffolk lamb on a summer’s day in a Sussex lane.” Such ramblings are totally meaningless and only beg the question: "What is it that we are really smelling and tasting?" As a compelling example of the variety, the 2003 Journeys End Beginning Shiraz serves as an exemplar in illustrating the mechanics of the senses which are relevant to wine and food appreciation. The human olfactory organs consist of some 10 million odour receptors, capable of recognising over 400,000 odour compounds and billions of combinations. For a smell to be recognised it must consist of an odour molecule that is capable of being identified by a human, albeit in miniscule quantities. It may come as a surprise to learn that the smell of Sauvignon Blanc (consisting of chemical compounds called methooxypyrazine) can be detected at a few parts per trillion - to get an idea of that kind of dilution, it can be compared to the width of a fingernail over the circumference of the earth. It is therefore hardly surprising that it is so easily discernable in leafy Cabernets. Humans have developed the sense of smell to such an extent that we can accurately discriminate between thousands of different volatile compounds. The nose, throat and mouth are filled with special cells which are stimulated by odour molecules. The Journeys End Beginning Shiraz's liquorice aroma, for example, is transmitted to the brain via thousands of nerve endings. That we can recognise this liquorice characteristic in wine at all is only because wine actually contains chemical compounds which correspond to those found in fruits, vegetables and other parts of our environment. If we really wanted to get technical, we could describe the aroma and flavour of the 2003 Beginning Shiraz as having wonderful notes of benzylbutanoate, phellandrelul dipenlene, followed by a touch of 2-methyl-3-buten-2-ol - that is plum, black pepper and aniseed. Wow, what a mouthful!
TASTING NOTES: The 2002 Journeys End Beginning Shiraz was one of the great highlights of 2004, receiving rave reviews from the critics. James Halliday rated the wine 96/100 outscoring the 1999 Penfolds Grange and rated the vineyard as one of the ten best new producers to emerge last year. The 2003 continues that tradition, with its powerful lifted aroma and flavour. The 2002 release sold out in record time and we expect the 2003 will follow. The vintage conditions were such that yields were reduced by between 30 - 40% which resulted in highly concentrated flavour filled grapes. Opaque black crimson colour with black crimson hue. Aroma of violets, white pepper, spice, blackberry, liquorice and dark chocolate. The palate is mouth filling with flavours of spice, liquorice and plum overlaid with white pepper. Excellent length and depth with liquorice allsorts and chocolate emerging on the back palate, supported by finely balanced tannins. Very long aftertaste of black pepper, blackberry and liquorice. Winemaker Ben Riggs continues his formidable run of producing exceptional Shiraz and over-delivering on quality.
Cellar 3-4 years (2008-2009)