2004 Penny's Hill  Shiraz

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2004 Penny's Hill Shiraz

McLaren Vale, South Australia, AUSTRALIA
$22.99 Bottle
  • Cellar 4 - 5 years (2009-2010)
  • ABV 15%
  • Closure: Cork

2004 Penny’s Hill Shiraz – the extraordinary red that delivered Riggs the Kings Crown.

Ben Riggs’ reputation as a winemaker has grown exponentially since his departure from Wirra Wirra, choosing to make wine for himself and others – all the while developing and refining a unique ‘joosy’ style. His success is such that critics have labelled him as being ‘ubiquitous’ receiving rave reviews, multiple awards and trophies in Australia and overseas. Vintage Direct have been supporting Riggs since he left Wirra Wirra. We were quick to recognise his ability as an independent winemaker. There appears a number of reasons for Ben’s ‘overnight’ success. The first is his careful selection of growers from who he sources fruit – GEOFF HARDY, TOBY BEKKERS, DAVID PAXTON and TONY PARKINSON are but a few of McLaren Vales key producers.

Having established a relationship with the growers, Ben then insists on top viticultural practice, low yields and perfectly balanced vineyards resulting in high quality, fully flavoured fruit. Ben selects parcels within each vineyard, directing its final outcome according to the terroir and style that he is aiming for. There is no rocket science to his winemaking. From what we have observed over the time, it's all traditional with lots of care taken along the way by assistant winemakers Greg Jackson and Nick Bourke. The real genius of Riggs lies in his ability to select barrels – carefully grading each one and creating a master blend that is more complete than any of its component parts. 

Vintage Direct readers will recall the Tatiarra Culled Barrel Shiraz – in its own right excellent, but not good enough for the ultimate blend. Riggs spends many hours conducting trial blends until he creates that magic permutation that his wines are recognised for. The list of such wines is formidable – MR RIGGS, PENNY’S HILL, JOURNEYS END, TATIARRA, ZONTE’S FOOTSTEPS, PERTARINGA, BLACK CHOOK AND WOOP WOOP. Every wine has received high critical acclaim, with many receiving trophies and gold medals internationally. His great success in recent months has been a number of awards from the English Decanter Magazine including for the 2003 and 2004 Zonte’s Footsteps Shiraz Viognier. A few weeks ago he was crowned ‘BUSHING KING’ in McLaren Vale for the second time, having dominated the Shiraz classes at the McLaren Vale Show with the 2004 Penny’s Hill Shiraz being nominated as the Best Wine of the Show, followed by Mr Riggs Shiraz. His Tatiarra Caravan of Dreams Shiraz was one of the highest scoring Australian Wines by Robert Parker at 98+ being hailed as an "amazing effort from winemaker Ben Riggs". Runner up as Qantas Winemaker of the Year and the No. 2 in the Great Shiraz Challenge are all just a part of his days work. So what sort of person is Ben in real life? We can say he is confident but not arrogant, he is appreciative of his team, he is a great family man, he doesn’t take to fools and dislikes unpleasant people. He is a great cook, and an exceptional winemaker.

TASTING NOTES: The 2004 Penny’s Hill Shiraz is a mouthfilling explosive fruit bomb that just pipped the 2004 Mr Riggs Shiraz at the McLaren Vale Wine Show - being a little more forceful than the more refined, yet still very powerful Mr. Riggs. If after reading the reviews you remain unsure as to which you would prefer, might we suggest some of each? Totally opaque black purple colour with great cling. Superb, lifted nose of violets, liquorice, vanilla, spice and blackberry. Mouthfilling fruit bomb – with super joosy palate. Flavours of white pepper, black berry, liquorice and spice bounce around the palate like a rubber ball in a squash court. Perfect balance, with fine grained tannins and very peppery aftertaste overloaded with spice and plum.
Cellar 4-5 years (2009-2010)
Alc/Vol: 15%

Other Reviews...
The 2004 Shiraz (tasted just prior to bottling) reveals layers of fruit along with pure creme de cassis characteristics interwoven with notions of blackberries and smoke. Possessing a layered texture, a huge, opulent, full-bodied mouthfeel, superb purity, and a fine finish, it has the potential to be even better than the 2003.
91-94 Points
Robert Parker - The Wine Advocate # 161 (Oct 2005)