2006 Warrabilla Limited Release Parola's Durif

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2006 Warrabilla Limited Release Parola's Durif

Rutherglen, Victoria, AUSTRALIA
$59.99 Bottle
  • Cellar 4 - 5 years (2011-2012)
  • ABV 18%
  • Closure: Cork

Retasted 15/05/2015: Still big and enormously rich at nearly ten years of age this high octane Durif has taken on some Vintage Port like characteristics and even has some marzipan nuances. Super saturated inky black dark red colour with heady aromas the palate is a super concentrate featuring super ripe flavours of liquorice, morello cherries, marizipan and dark chocolate followed by vanillin cedar, tarry leather like characters and spice. Velvety tannins with a very long finish. Drink over the next 2-3 years.

Originally Tasted: 17/05/2007

The 2006 Warrabilla Reds from Rutherglen reach new heights. Firstly, they are bigger, bolder yet more refined than previous vintages. Secondly the alcohol content has reached a staggering 18% on the Parola’s Durif. Lastly, and most importantly, they remain balanced.

This is the great paradox of Australian reds – their ability to achieve a super ripe state without being porty or displaying the dreaded dead fruit characteristics. To understand this paradox, one has to appreciate the uniqueness of Australian terroir. Going back to the 60’s (the good old days of low alcohol reds?) the maturity index of grapes was measured in Brix – for example, harvesting Shiraz at 23 Brix would be quite common. Divide this number by 1.8 and one gets the potential alcohol of the finished wine as 12.7% Alc/Vol.

The use of the maturity index lost its support amongst winemakers when the French discovered that tannins and anthocyanins in red grape skins were polymerising while still on the vine – getting a bit technical but above a certain molecular weight soft tannins and mouthfeel were developing, while below that weight one got chalky and astringent tannins. So the new wave was to pursue flavours and not numbers. But some winemakers were, and still are promoting green wine. An article published in the December 2000 issue of Atlantic Monthly related to breaking the Bordeaux Cartel “which has been working with the English press for decades to palm off unripe wines on the public.”

Andrew Sutherland-Smith, winemaker at Warrabilla, states “our wines are made in the vineyard. Our soils are deep red clay loams. The rows are 4 metres wide (standard Aussie width is 3 metres) and this gives us plenty of light and air to colour, ripen fully and give us the profiles we’re after. Crops are pretty light at around 1.5 tonnes per acre.” The rate of fruit ripening is very dependant upon temperature, therefore, the more uniform the fruit zone environment, the more uniform the maturation of the fruit, with 75% of the quality coming from delivering uniformly ripe fruit to the winery. Andrew maintains “It’s all about light. The vertically, shoot positioned trellis maximizes it, while giving a bit of protection from excessive heat and sunburn. We do taste berries, looking for black/red fruit characters whilst avoiding excess shrivel and the dreaded dead fruit characters. Brown seeds and stalks are woody, not green and give softer tannins.”

As to wine writers who tend to dismiss fruit bombs as over ripe, Smith makes the comment “The only thing worse than a mean, green wine is a mean, green wine writer. It's not just about alcohol, it’s about the black phase fruits that develop late in the season. It’s a different profile.” His final words of wisdom “Frankly, so long as the wine is in balance, we don’t care whether it’s 14% or 18% - it’s just got to have balance.”

 This is Warrabilla’s biggest red to date with an unbelievable 18% alcohol – a wine which has been classified as not being suitable for the faint hearted.

Tasting Note: If one is seeking the biggest possible bang for one's buck, then this wine is it – and more. All previous big fruit bomb wines that have been tasted fade into insignificance as they are confronted with this vinous red 'atomic bomb'. What a concentrate! Matured for 10 months in French Oak, this wine is totally saturated black colour with a black purple hue. Aroma of dark chocolate, mocha, black cherry, vanilla and black pepper. On the palate is an atomic explosion that defies anything else you’ve experienced in a big red. Super ripe, but not porty, with flavours of black cherry, dark chocolate and liquorice concentrate. Very spicy, black pepper palate. Fine grained, perfectly balanced tannins. Super ripe aftertaste of black cherry and black pepper which lasts for minutes on the aftertaste.
Cellar 4-5 years (2011-2012)
Alc/Vol: 18%
99 points

 CLICK HERE to read more comments from winemaker, Andrew Sutherland-Smith