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2008 Warrabilla Reserve Shiraz
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- Cellar 3 - 4 years (2012-2013)
- ABV 16.5%
- Closure: Cork
Some wine critics have described the Warrabilla wines as '...impossible to judge by conventional standards'. They are certainly controversial and tend to polarise people and not only because of their massive flavour profiles. Alcohol levels often reach 16-17%+ in the Warrabilla wines. Andrew Sutherland Smith confesses he likes his wines 'big' and does not enjoy green herbaceous characters, so he looks for maximum ripeness in the vineyard. 'I like to see brown seeds and brown stalks. These are signs to me of 'physiological ripeness' and show that the tannins are softening' says Andrew. Naturally, ripeness means higher sugar levels and consequently, higher alcohols. However, if you weren't told, you'd never guess it - the slight percentage increase of alcohol in the Warrabilla reds is actually undetectable on the palate (the wines make for an interesting blind tasting). In fact, the alcohol level is incidental for Andrew who is primarily concerned with flavour and balance. He consistently achieves both of these brilliantly. Love or hate them, 'The style is pretty well understood by our customers' declares Andrew. 'They’d tell us mighty quick if we changed direction.'
Andrew Sutherland Smith on the 2008 vintage conditions: '2008 was characterised by the big heat wave in late Mar/April over South East Australia. Effectively red wine colour is a suntan for grapes. Because our fruit is always exposed, it gets a deep suntan, and can handle the odd hot day without getting sunburnt and shrivelling. A tiny bit of shrivel is what we look for in Shiraz anyway....so this year was playing to our strengths. It basically just concentrates up the wines which is why we get the viscosity and body we look for. Frankly it was too hot for most winemakers, with sugar levels and maturities going through the roof. It was also what we do. Some like it hot. Only mad dogs Englishman and Warrabilla like this sort of fruit... It was such a classic year for makers of big reds. The alc's were getting up there, but the flavours and richness really kept them in balance.They screamed for the oak to keep them tight and stop them going blowsy...''
Tasting Notes: Opaque black crimson purple colour with deep black crimson hue. Classic Warrabilla saturation of colour. Aroma of dark chocolate, spice and mocha, followed by ripe plum, cedar and vanilla. Rich, generous palate with monumental weight, but in balance. Mouthfilling flavours are overlaid with vanilla and ripe plum followed by black pepper and spice. Despite the 17% alcohol, this wine is perfectly balanced and shows no ‘alcohol heat.’ Velvet smooth tannins. Very long aftertaste of plum, black pepper, spice and vanilla. Monumental!
Cellar 3-4 years (2012-2013)