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2018 Glaetzer Amon-Ra Shiraz
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- Cellar 8 - 10 years (2028-2030)
- ABV 15%
- Closure: Cork
Amon Ra is Ben Glaetzer’s flagship Shiraz named after an Egyptian God who was considered to be the King of all Gods. According to Ben Glaetzer the key to Amon Ra Shiraz is balancing the fruit and tannin extraction rather the maximising it – “the fruit has such expression that we aim to preserve the characteristics of the vineyard rather than dominate them.” Fruit was sourced from a range of vineyards, aged between 50-130 years old, with a strong emphasis on fruit quality, rather than simply selecting parcels of fruit because they were from old vines. The wine was matured for 16 months in 100% new oak of which 5% was American and 95% French. It was bottled unfiltered. According to winemaker Ben Glaetzer, the exceptional 2018 vintage produced wines that feature intense depth of colour, astounding aromatic purity plus richness and brightness on the palate.
A magnificent inky black heart is accompanied by an equally deep dark purple black hue. Wafting out of the glass are potent aromatics of dark plum, blackberry and liquorice with some ripe blueberry notes also present. Vanillin cedar, dark chocolate, fennel and spicy pepper notes then chime in. Texturally dense and opulent, decadently rich dark plum, blackberry, luscious black cherry and liquorice fruits are delivered with enormous power to the point where they completely saturate the palate. The undercard is comprised of spicy vanillin cedar, more blueberry fruits, subtle dark chocolate, earthy fennel characters and pepper. Robust yet velvet like tannins and good freshness bring a sturdy structure to the table. Superb depth with a long lavish yet polished conclusion.
Cellar 8-10 years.
Ben Glaetzer sources all of his fruit from the Ebenzer district of the Barossa Valley, which doesn't mean it's in any way monochromatic. "We've got 14 soil types in eight different vineyards," he explained via Zoom this June. He's especially keen on the 2018 releases, from a vintage he compares to 2004 in terms of its quality. "Pure is the way I'd describe the 2018s. It's an absolute cracking year—you're going to see some great wines." Certainly, Glaetzer's 2018s don't disappoint, combining ripe fruit with enough structure to suggest a long, positive evolution for his top efforts.
Certainly one of the best vintages of young Amon Ra I've ever tasted, the 2018 Amon Ra Shiraz is a stupendous effort. From old vines in the Ebenezer section of the northern Barossa, it starts off with a whirlwind of mocha, blackberry and dried spices, then actually gets more red-fruited as it sits in the glass. Full-bodied, rich and concentrated without being jammy or overdone, the wine finishes long and savory, framed by dusty tannins and mouthwatering black olives. Winemaker Ben Glaetzer compares 2018 to 2004 (which continues to drink well). Expect the 2018 to drink well young, but easily age through 2035, perhaps longer.
Joe Czerwinski - Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate