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2009 Tatiarra Culled Barrel Shiraz
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- Cellar 5 - 6 years (2017-2018)
- ABV 14.5%
- Closure: Screw Cap
Affordable imported wines represent both an opportunity and an invasion. Recent shipments from the Southern Rhone, Bordeaux and South America have been remarkable not just for their value but for the fact that they're so different. They arrive with a degree of exoticism that plays to the perceptions of consumers who believe "foreign wine must be better", and in many cases, right now, dollar for dollar, it is difficult to disagree. There are exceptions. Amongst the most compelling examples of Australian wine to benchmark on the international stage, here is one that needs little introduction. 'Culled Barrel Shiraz' is produced from exactly the same fruit as Tatiarra’s top wines (selling for between $40 and $60) and matured in the same top flight American and French oak. As a nearly perfect 'reject', it's instead sold off at a dramatically discounted price in order to recover production costs, cementing it as Heathcote's best value red and the wine that most defines the obsessive spirit of this specialist producer. But even with a pedigree like that, in the present market conditions the 2009 release has got a lot to prove. A strong Australian dollar has led to ongoing reductions in imported wine prices, some dropping as much as 30 percent. The Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation (AWBC) has responded with a new marketing drive encouraging drinkers to get behind Australia's $4 billion wine sector. An international campaign to be launched in April will also aim at influencing local consumption (which presently accounts for about three quarters of sales). Its slogan “Open your mind to Australian wine” intends to deepen awareness of the diversity of Australia's sixty five wine regions.
It is all the more timely then that in 2009, the extraordinary vintage conditions at Tatiarra have resulted in what will go down as one of the best Culled Barrel's yet. It delivers this estate's trademark core of fruit purity that's distinctively Heathcote, balanced with the tannin and acid that one might anticipate from a more traditional producer. Pit this against anything from anywhere in the world at the price point and it will sit comfortably or eclipse the competition - even when European and South American vignerons benefit from government subsidies, economies of scale and lower labour costs - an achievement in its own right. Responding to a previous vintage of Culled Barrel, Nic Bourke, McLaren Vale winemaker and understudy to Tatiarra's Ben Riggs commented, "I'd give my left knacker if my top wine was this good". It might be an alternative slogan for the AWBC to consider and the perfect endorsement if delivered from the mouth of a European winemaker who's just realised why bold Aussie Shiraz is, and always has been, one of Australia's traditional strengths. Like it or loathe it, Shiraz remains our biggest selling red varietal.
Totally opaque black crimson colour showing excellent colour saturation and depth with a deep black dark crimson red hue. Nosing reveals a delightful profile of ripe blackberry and liquorice followed by some vanillin oak, light mocha and spice. Bold and richly textured the palate is loaded with ripe blackberry and dark plum flavours followed by some liquorice and vanillin spice with a strong peppery back palate presence. A 'joosier', more forward style in comparison to the 2009 Tatiarra Cambrian Shiraz but still possessing the vintages hallmark concentration, depth and structure. Very fine grained but solidly built tannin structure. Superb length with long aftertaste of ripe blackberry, black pepper, liquorice, vanilla and spice. Reportedly, the culling process for 2009 was more selective than any other vintage to date due to the overall stellar quality. It further underlines what an absolute steal this is.
Cellar 5-6 years (2017-2016)