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2010 Brick Kiln The Grove Shiraz
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- Cellar 5 - 6 years (2018-2019)
- ABV 14.6%
- Closure: Screw Cap
There are those who take an industrial approach to wine, others who are content to be also-rans, then there are those who realise that life is short and they have too much talent to waste on the mediocre. These are very different approaches to wine and winemaking and they account for why it can take several months to compile the offer now in your hands. Hundreds of wines later and one effort emerges as the most complete, cut-abovethe-pack expression of variety and district. In short, a wine that demands your attention.
Their ‘entry level’ Shiraz has always impressed. Now Brick Kiln have reached another stage of maturity with a reserve wine released only in near to perfect vintages. The first was 2008. The 2010 is arguably a significant step up and from a growing season with all the hallmarks of classicism and none of the extremes that have become synonymous with the very warm 2008 vintage. They have taken an ultra selective approach reminiscent of perfectionist movements such as Tatiarra and Torbreck and are another producer whose focus is firm : no blending, no distractions and just one varietal, Shiraz .
“The Grove” is a kind of inverted version of Tatiarra’s philosophy of culling, a result of assessing barrels just prior to bottling whereby only the best are set aside for a top tier release. Few wines have enough fruit density to handle virgin oak. This is one. It is packed and pure, with a Warrabilla-esque intensity framed by one third new, top notch French barriques in an eighteen month regime necessary to balance the sheer weight of the grape. If you've enjoyed Shiraz's from Brini, the finest from Penny's Hill, and even Clarendon Hills, then this treads the same path. It is made with a minimal intervention approach - all the wine is produced in one tonne, open fermenters, hand plunged and basket pressed. We’ve profiled Brick Kiln before, however, for those not yet acquainted with this McLaren Vale upstart, briefly: -Since four acres were planted in 1996, the vineyard has expanded to twenty acres at Willunga in the southern reaches of McLaren Vale. Production continues to be a tiny 1500 cases per year.
A group of enthusiasts purchased the site in January 2001 and originally envisioned a label called “Nine Gums" (there were nine tall eucalypts around the house) but their North American partners advised that if they were to try to export the wine, the name would suggest "dentures" to a US audience. As one drives to the vineyard along Almond Grove Rd one crosses the Brick Kiln Bridge. Many years ago there was a brick kiln in the area - hence the present moniker ('Almond Grove' had already been trademarked). Winemaker, Phil Christiansen is an artisan who takes a minimalist approach. Formerly of Hardy's Tintara (a stint which included several vintages of the formidable Eileen Hardy Shiraz), as well as small batch winemaking at Chalk Hill, he works with Linda Domas on the winemaking team, who has experience in Europe and with Beringer Blass.
The first Brick Kiln Shiraz was from the 2002 vintage. Now over 70% is exported. We consider ourselves lucky to have scraped in with what we've got. Just six barrels were set apart for the reserve wine, and not all of it dedicated to Australian fans. It goes without saying - be quick. Riding on the impeccable quality of the 2010 and 2012 vintages, Brick Kiln may soon turn into yet another ‘mythical’ export-only label, sought after by a few, unheard of by most, and wholly unprocurable except overseas.
Tasting note: Aged in new and seasoned American and French oak hogsheads for 18 months. Shows superb colour saturation with an inky black core and very deep dark red black hue. Intense aromas of liquorice, dark plum and dark chocolate leap out of the glass with nuances of vanillin oak and mocha also present. The palate is overflowing with expansive flavours of decadently ripe blackberry, dark chocolate, liquorice and dark plum with a spicy vanillin oak overlay. Outstanding power and opulence. Supple plush mouthfeel with silky smooth tannins and very long persistent aftertaste of ripe blackberry, dark plum, chocolate bullets, vanillin oak and spice.
Cellar 5-6 years (2018-2019).