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2005 Tatiarra Caravan of Dreams Shiraz Pressings
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- Cellar 10 - 15 years (2016-2021)
- 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.
Tasting Notes: The Tatiarra Caravan of Dreams has become an International wine icon, and demand exceeds supply many times over. Stylistically, past vintages have been compared with great vintages of Penfold's Grange. Three pressings are made from the grape skins after the free run juice is allocated for the Cambrian Shiraz. Great care must be taken to ensure that excess tannins and phenolics don't overcome the fruit flavour. The very best new American oak casks infuse the fruit until a perfect harmony is achieved.
The colour is a saturation of black purple. Unmistakable Shiraz nose- superb notes of spice, vanilla, liquorice, blackberry, black pepper and plum. The palate is again a concentration of flavour - which has been described as 'chiselled', liquefied rock and earth, meshed with just the slightest suggestion of heavy cream and a tannin structure that would 'take Godzilla several films to break through' - The 2005 is an encore performance - Godzilla is going to be kept very busy. Powerful fruit flavours- black and white pepper bounce around the palate, overlaid with blackberry, vanilla and liquorice. Exceptional length and concentration. Fine, firmish but perfectly balanced tannins, followed by an exceptionally long aftertaste of blackberry, vanilla and black pepper.
Cellar: 10-15 years (2016-2021)
The most forward, flamboyant wine of this trio is the 2005 Shiraz Pressings Caravan of Dreams. Offering plenty of toasty vanillin intermixed with creme de cassis, white chocolate, graphite, and spice, it is a Victorian fruit-bomb that possesses amazing structure and definition. Drink it over the next 10-15 years.
Wine Advocate #168 (Dec 2006)