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2005 Tatiarra Cambrian Shiraz
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- Cellar 3 - 4 years (2018-2019)
- ABV 15.5%
- Closure: Cork
Tatiarra is an Aboriginal word meaning ‘beautiful country’. The French have long known about 'Tatiarra'; they call it 'terroir', and the beautiful country they seek is that perfect site where vines are capable of reaching vinous perfection each year. Such terroir resonates with philosophical concepts of perfection: "Perfection is not uniform but diversified, otherwise perfection would be similar. It is not static, it is dynamic. Like approaching eternity, perfection signifies unending progress – a never ceasing advance. To live is to change and to be perfect is to change often."
Such is the lot of the viticulturalist or winemaker who seeks perfection amongst the wild interactions of terroir. Soils and drainage conditions will be modified slowly but seasonal changes such as sunlight hours, frosts and the quantity, timing and distribution of rainfall (including storms & hail) are the dynamics of every 'Tatiarra'. The seasons will always, through the changing forces of nature, have something more to teach the viticulturalist.
The 2005 growing season at Tatiarra was underscored by a lack of rain, and despite what protagonists of dry land farming might say, without water at critical times in a vine’s cycle, perfection is not possible. Vines must not be stressed, but rather kept in tension. Stress during flowering or variason will result in a loss of quality and quantity of crop. To ripen fruit properly, a vine needs leaves. Lack of water during the ripening period will cause the basal leaves to drop off – thus causing the fruit to ripen by shrivel rather than develop its sugar profile naturally – and yes, you can taste the difference. The continued drought has in the short term given the viticulturalist who irrigates with discretion, a sense of control which unpredictable rainfall patterns cannot.
Obsessed with delivering the winemakers perfect fruit, Tatiarra’s viticulturalists Ian Rathjen and Bob Wilson know that canopy and water management are of supreme importance. Winemakers Ben Riggs and Peter Flewellyn are charged with the task of harvesting the grapes at the moment of perfection. Tatiarra continues to make only Shiraz, and with each successive vintage a perfect expression of the variety is sought. The Tatiarra Cambrian Shiraz is arguably the vineyards 'purest' extraction, complex, masculine and complete with minimal winemaking intervention.
Caravan of Dreams Shiraz Pressings is foremost a wine of incredible concentration, a Cambrian 'megalith'. It's the winemaker’s expression of the season. Trademark Shiraz is a tribute wine – the best two barrels from Tatiarra are blended with the best two barrels that Ben Riggs selects from McLaren Vale. The result is a compelling essay in vinous refinement and elegance. Stocks of Caravan of Dreams and Trademark Shiraz are very limited. We urge wine lovers to place their orders or forward a 'wish list' as soon as possible, with a maximum allocation of six bottles of each of these two wines.
The Cambrian Shiraz is the perfect expression of the Tatiarra vineyard, delivering a flavour profile that has been recognised as a sensory ‘tour de force’. This years release is an absolute powerhouse, its monumental structure is due to the heavy culling of barrels in 2005.
Outstanding colour for a decade old Shiraz displaying a midnight black core with a very deep dark red black tinged hue. Superb aromatic intensity with aromas of liquorice, dark plum and ripe black cherries soaring from the glass over a background of toasty vanillin oak, scorched earth and peppered dried meats. Still with enormous richness and a huge core of fruit the palate boasts powerful flavours of liquoricy aniseed like characters, ripe black cherries and dark plums which saturate every corner of the mouth. Underlying nuances of toasty vanillin oak, earth and blackpepper are also evident. Opulent plush textural feel and velvet smooth tannins. Exceptionally long aftertaste of liquorice, aniseed, black cherries, dark plum, toasty vanillin oak and peppered dried meats.
Drink now or cellar 3-4 years.
Originally tasted March 2006:
Totally opaque black purple colour, a total saturation, with a deep black purple cling to the walls of the glass. Magnificent nose – delivering a superb sniffing experience, immediately recognisable as great Heathcote Shiraz. Perfumed violet top note, with flavours of blackberry, liquorice, spice, cedar and very pronounced black pepper. The palate is an explosion – it would seem impossible to deliver more concentration of flavour. Intense layers of blackberry, cedar, black pepper, liquorice and black cherries, with the kind of power and persistence that are occasionally found in the very great bottles of Pinot Noir. The tannins are persistent, but they are fine and perfectly balanced. Exceptionally long aftertaste which lasts for minutes.
Cellar 15-20 years (2016-2026)
The 2005 Shiraz Cambrian reveals more chocolate and scorched earth characteristics than the 2004 as well as fuller body, more abundant fruit, and huge tannin, muscle, and extract. Only connoisseurs with great cellars as well as abundant patience should consider purchasing this monster. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2025+.
Wine Advocate #168 (Dec 2006)