2004 Tatiarra Culled Barrel Shiraz

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2004 Tatiarra Culled Barrel Shiraz

Heathcote, Victoria, AUSTRALIA
$19.99 Bottle
  • Cellar 4 - 5 years (2009-2010)
  • ABV 15.5%
  • Closure: Cork

"NO SACRIFICE TOO GREAT FOR PERFECTION" Vintage Direct readers will be familiar with our early reluctance to support Tatiarra on the basis that the Company was founded by the ‘old man’ and his mate Bill Spring, together with a number of high profile shareholders. We gave the 'old man' a hard time because Vintage Direct was not to be seen as an easy selling vehicle for Tatiarra – moreover, the vineyard had no track record. How the tables have turned, (and turned with astonishing speed!) In a matter of years, Tatiarra’s reputation as one of Heathcote's greatest Shiraz producers has been set.

The first vintage from the ten year old vineyard was 2002 and received instant acclaim. James Halliday wrote "A more auspicious start to a new venture could not be imagined."  (Halliday has since ranked the vineyard as "Best of District" in his wine Companion two years running.) The following year ROBERT PARKER wrote, "amongst the best Shiraz wines I have ever tasted from Heathcote" , and Garagiste in Seattle at the Annual Great Australian Tasting described the wines as "the greatest wine ever imported by Epicurean & potentially one of the greatest wines ever produced in Australia..." Tatiarra surrounded itself with the best winemakers, BEN RIGGS, assisted by PETER FLEWELLYN together with a team of viticulturalists who have a profound understanding of Heathcote's terroir–Whistling Eagle’s IAN RATHJEN, together with BOB WILSON. However, the mainspring of Tatiarra's phenomenal upward surge is perhaps best explained by their humblest wine - the self-depreciatingly labelled 'Culled Barrel'. This wine communicates the obsession which has distinguished the company - "NO SACRIFICE IS TOO GREAT IN PURSUIT OF PERFECTION" (the financial consequences of such a philosophy send shivers up the accountants spine.)

It must be understood that the Tatiarra Culled Barrel is a wine that many a winemaker would be more than pleased with. On a stand alone basis it is a superb Heathcote red. Not so for Ben Riggs. During the 2004 Tatiarra Barrel tastings, the ruthlessness with which Riggs dispatched his final barrel selections was vexing. At the same time, there was a 'surgical precision' that was astounding. The reason for culling this wine from the Tatiarra flagships is that it made no contribution to the flavour profile of the top wines, and if anything tended to reduce palate complexity. Most wine lovers would not be able to discern the short comings found in the barrels, but that is why Riggs consistently produces top wines. It is this skill which creates the most extraordinary expressions of Tatiarra, that has contributed to the rapid recognition of the company as one of Australia's most serious Shiraz producers.

The 2004 Tatiarra Shiraz wines have been described as “awesome” by winemaker Ben Riggs and US wine critics who have already tasted barrel samples. The 2004 Tatiarra 'Cambrian Shiraz', 'Caravan of Dreams Shiraz Pressings' and Trademark Shiraz' will all be released in November this year. We have tasted barrel samples and can only concur with the critics. As a forestaste, the 2004 Tatiarra Culled Barrel Shiraz has just been released and delivers amazing value from an exceptional vintage. With this wine, our reluctance to promote Tatiarra has now changed to unreserved enthusiasm.

In a market experiencing an exceptional vintage, this wine delivers amazing value!Tatiarra's 'John West' approach of culling very good barrels leaves no doubt that their 2004 flagship wines will over-deliver in an extraordinary way!

TASTING NOTES: Totally opaque black, inky, purple colour. The nose is a delight and delivers a pronounced Heathcote sniffing experience. The top note of violets is followed by liquorice, blackberry, vanilla and spice. The palate is big, full bodied and packed with fruit flavour - an explosion of blackberry & blackpepper followed by vanilla and liquorice. The tannins are fine with very impressive length. Very long aftertaste of spice, blackpepper and blackberry.
If this is the wine Ben Riggs rejected, then with only a spark of imagination one can say that the 2004 Tatiarra wines will indeed be awesome.
Cellar 4-5 years (2009-2010)
Alc/Vol: 15.5%