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2009 Lake Breeze Section 54 Shiraz
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- Cellar 4 - 5 years (2016-2017)
- ABV 14.5%
- Closure: Screw Cap
If for you, South Australian Shiraz means McLaren Vale and Barossa followed by 'everywhere else', it's partly because these regions offer a legacy of world class wines championed by larger than life personalities like Max Schubert, Colin Gramp, Cyril Henschke and Greg Trott. Too often 'everywhere else' in South Australia means a space occupied by country bumpkin family ventures with quaint cellar doors, through to underdog growers who continue to sell their best fruit for high end cuvees, themselves remaining in the shadows of international superstar brands. That's one perception of Langhorne Creek. Now is a good time to review it. You may not know of them, but historical estates like Bleasdale and Stonyfell (Metala) are being joined by a modern day revolution. In 1991, there were fewer than 1,100 acres of established vines there - today more than 12,000 are planted, with the likes of Noon, Brothers in Arms and Heartland entering the scene. Here is another vineyard that will put Langhorne Creek on the mental map of many Australian wine lovers and remind others of just how overlooked (or under-marketed) the district is - 'Lake Breeze'. We don't like long winded retailer's rants of award miscellany, so we'll keep it to three: Lake Breeze recently won their 100th gold medal on top of 25 trophies, were voted Australia’s Champion Small Winery and rated a five star winery in James Halliday's latest annual. We could go on... The operation has been taken to its present ascent by three brothers - Greg Follett, as winemaker, together with Roger and Tim, who are in charge of the 200 acre vineyard. The family have been growing grapes here for 120 years. It's unusually dry country, with Langhorne Creek only receiving on average 14 inches of rain. At Lake Breeze, the old dry grown vines rely on flooding of the Bremer River to carry them through the dry summer months. Controlled flooding is carried out via a system of floodgates and banks which divert water onto the vineyards. From here it remains for one or two days until the soil is saturated. It's then released onto a neighbouring vineyard. The soils receive a deposition of silt during the annual flood which ensures that the fertility remains at a high level. The alluvial silty loam soils allow for excellent water holding capacity, therefore supplementary irrigation is not required.
In 1987, the first Lake Breeze wine was launched when the brothers decided to make an impact with their own brand. Strictly, only the best 20% of fruit from older vines between 35 and 40 years old is used, amounting to a limited crush of around 200 tonnes. (The remainder is sold off to Orlando and Treasury Wine Estates.) The 'Section 54' Shiraz is intended as a counterpoint to Lake Breeze's very successful 'Bernoota' Shiraz/Cabernet blend previously featured in Vintage Direct. There is a fascinating minty characteristic to this year's release. Greg Follett comments,"This is more dominant in drought years and when the summer is a bit warmer, as January 2009 was. The blocks of grapes closer to the river red gums tend to be mintier and with careful blending we can come up with a wine that shows attractive choc mint which complements the dark fruit characters in the wines." As unique as the terroir, this is one of the most distinctive expressions of Australian Shiraz we've seen at its price point for some time. While the ask remains more than fair, take advantage.
'Section 54' refers to the section number of the 'home block' of old vines planted around the 'Bernoota' Homestead. The wine is aged in new and used French oak. Totally opaque black purple colour with deep dark purple hue. The nose displays strong scents of spearmint, liquorice and blackberry followed by some confectionary and spice. The palate boasts superb concentration and richness with an abundance of ripe blackberry, liquorice and dark plum flavours along with an intriguing and distinct spearmint overlay followed by a touch of spice on the back palate. Opulent mouthfeel with velvet smooth tannins. Excellent length with long very persistent aftertaste of blackberry, liquorice, spearmint and spice.
Cellar 4-5 years (2016 - 2017)