2008 Penny's Hill Cracking Black Shiraz

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2008 Penny's Hill Cracking Black Shiraz

McLaren Vale, South Australia, AUSTRALIA
$19.99 Bottle
  • Cellar 3 - 4 years (2012-2013)
  • ABV 14.5%
  • Closure: Screw Cap

The 2008 Penny’s Hill Cracking Black Shiraz completes a unique and unprecedented hat-trick, being the third consecutive Vintage Direct front cover featuring a Shiraz from McLaren Vale. If at first it seems we're promoting the district ad nausem, one should read on. The three wines are remarkably different, which is all the more pertinent, given their very similar price points. Several months ago, we introduced the exuberant and flamboyant 'Mollydooker Boxer Shiraz', partly produced from fruit grown on the hot, dry valley floor by two very eccentric characters, Sarah and Sparky Marquis. Then, the powerful, yet elegant Brini Shiraz, fashioned from grapes grown at a higher altitude in the cooler McLaren Vale hills. A common misconception has developed that regions like the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale lack a diversity of styles. Yet these were two markedly different wines, both perfect expressions of their terroirs with just five kilometres separating them.

Writing for Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, Dr. Jay Miller recently identified this same misconception as one of the present challenges affecting fledgling Australian wine exports, particularly with regard to the over $20 category. Quoting an unnamed “prominent” importer, Miller reports “The market got bored – plain and simple. There was no excitement in the category and that which was there was artificial (designer brands with no real core values – no bricks and mortar, no faces and places behind them, no regional expressions). The cool regional expression of Australia along with its smorgasbord of styles and romantic stories became a surreal expression of corporate dominance and Frankensteinlike expressionism. When anything becomes predictable to the customer it becomes boring and they move on.” Miller concludes that at the same time international markets were discovering that Australia offered more flavour per dollar than wine from any other country, importers began buying indiscriminately: "...the market became flooded with high alcohol, no terroir, and manufactured wines that have turned consumers off." South Australia has probably sufferred most. Shoulder to shoulder with the Mollydooker & Brini Shiraz', the 2008 Penny’s Hill Cracking Black Shiraz celebrates diversity: Diversity in style, diversity in terroir, diversity in people – the exact opposite of what Miller’s unnamed source blames for the decline in Australia’s overseas fortunes. Penny's Hill proprietors, Tony and Susie Parkinson, are down to earth and market-savvy. From the outset, their entire enterprise has been planned with meticulous detail. The slightly elevated vineyard site is cooler than the valley floor, extending the ripening period and contributing refinement and ‘freshness’ to the wine. Vine rows are oriented East-West (in most Australian vineyards, the preferred orientation is North - South), which also contributes to the peppery quality of the wine. However, the most interesting aspect of the vineyard is a peculiar characteristic of the soil from which this wine's namesake is derived, due to the cracking black 'bay of biscay' soils at Penny's Hill's Malpas Road vineyard. Since the site was planted in 1991, viticulturalists have observed come summer, preceeding vintage, that fissures occur as the black soil dries up. It literally cracks apart, severing any surplus root structure in the vine; a process which naturally lessens vine vigour and enhances fruit quality.
The US export decline attributed to short sighted American importers has tipped the laws of supply and demand in our favour, allowing us to offer this spectacular Shiraz at a remarkably affordable price. Drink up before they wake up!
With many growers struggling to find homes for their top quality fruit, smart producers such as Pennys Hill are re-inventing themselves – the big winner is the domestic consumer. Opaque crimson purple colour with crimson purple hue. The nose is perfumed with lifted top note of confectionary followed by liquorice allsorts and ripe plum displaying excellent intensity. The palate explodes with flavour – ripe, joosy and full bodied displaying generous flavours of ripe blood plum, blackberry, liquorice allsorts and confectionary with blackpepper and spice back palate. Superb concentration of flavour. Perfect balance – the wine maintains a sense of vitality & freshness without being overweight or bulky. Opulently textured with velvety tannin structure and very long persistent blackberry, liquorice and confectionary aftertaste. A cracking 'joosy' McLaren Vale Shiraz.
Cellar 3-4 years (2012-2013)
14.5% Alc