Our full range of 2015 shiraz have been released this weekend (6th May), and are now available to be purchased online.
The 2015 vintage growing season started with relatively dry, warm sunny days from bud-burst, and then we experienced some relatively significant rain during the latter months of 2014, resulting in a slightly above average crop level. Every year we assess the crop load and do some bunch thinning if needed about half way through verasion (normally the first week of January). It is now very clear that our decision to bunch thin pretty well all the shiraz vineyards was critical to the resultant quality that we now have in bottle.
The ripening period could only be described as “challenging” with intermittent rain events during January resulting in a slower accumulation of sugar and flavour development. Fortunately the rains stopped towards the end of the month and was followed by quite warm and dry conditions throughout February. With the smaller crop load, sugar levels were quite good at the start of Feb, but the fruit needed some ‘hang time’ to fully develop the depth of fruit and tannin ripeness that we expect from these vineyards. When the vineyards had finally reached full phenological ripeness we harvested our entire vintage of shiraz in 8 days, starting on the 11th of February from the Sweetwater vineyard and finishing on the 19th of February with Kiss.
Stylistically, the 2015’s are showing amazingly bright, perfumed and lifted primary fruit with a silky/slippery texture within their elegantly structured core – reminiscent of some of the long lived ‘Hunter River Burgundies’ of years gone by.
The wines are definitely a divergence from the 2014 vintage reds (which certainly produced wines sitting in the ‘muscular’ end of the medium bodied spectrum) but to my mind, it’s this vintage variation that makes wine and winemaking so interesting. If my wines looked the same every year it would be incredibly boring (for me anyway…). It’s the “light and shade” between vintages that creates the intrigue and interest in wine, particularly with respect to seeing how the best wines from various vintages will develop over time in the cellar.
I look at this range of 2015 reds as a group, and I am absolutely delighted with the way they have shaped up. Whilst I like to take some of the credit, it is really these outstanding pedigree vineyards that I am fortunate enough to have in my portfolio that give these wines their unique quality stamp year after year.
Bottled in July last year and now 10 months in bottle, each wine displays it’s own individual/stylistic personality that we know and love, and I am confident that you will be equally as impressed.
My sentimental favourite is again of course the 2015 Kiss shiraz, with its vibrant red and blue fruit and immaculately integrated French oak, as well as its restrained intensity within such a tightly structured core. It’s this internal concentration that sees Kiss rise above many a Hunter shiraz (particularly from this vintage), and is also what provides its remarkable longevity. This wine clearly demonstrates that you can achieve amazing intensity within a medium weight frame.
The entire 2014 vintage sold out within 6 weeks, and I expect this wine will again sell out relatively quickly.
This year the 2015 Elenay shiraz is made up of selected barrels from the Sweetwater, Kiss and Dam Block parcels. My selection criteria involves looking at the newer barrels within each parcel, and identifying those with the ‘juicy’ fruit weight to handle the level of oak. The result is definitely punchy/overt in the oak department but as you know, this is the Elenay style. This is a wine that drinks very nicely now but will reward those patient enough to cellar and allow time for the oak to fold in. Equal top wine of the 2015 shiraz class – 2016 Hunter Valley Wine Show (93 points).
I’m very pleased to announce a new single vineyard shiraz to the range. The 2015 Dam Block shiraz is from a small 0.8Ha block of slightly younger vines just across the dam from the Kiss shiraz vineyard. We have been taking this fruit for some years now, and it has always been an important component of my Two of a Kind and Synergy shiraz, as well as a few barrels making the grade for Elenay over the last two vintages. It shows similar dark blue fruits and the savoury texture of this pedigree vineyard, but at a slightly more affordable price.
Equal top wine of the 2015 shiraz class – 2016 Hunter Valley Wine Show (93 points).
Only 150 dozen bottled. I’d suggest you get in quickly….
The 2015 Sweetwater shiraz is true to form with its distinctive floral notes dancing over and around its red and blue fruited frame. In the interest of actually having some reds to show visitors to our cellar door, we released this wine a couple of months ago, and the response has been fantastic. Its deliciously bright and juicy mid palate, provides some awesome current drinking appeal, but will also reward those of you who tuck a few bottles away in the cellar.
At just under $30/bottle to members, this has to be one of the best buys in the Hunter Valley.
Last but not least is the 2015 Synergy shiraz (100% Hunter) and 2015 Two of a Kind shiraz (57% Hunter/43% McLaren Vale). Clearly two different styles, but both delivering amazing quality for every day drinking or medium term cellaring at an amazing value for money price. Order a pizza or light the BBQ and drink these wines to your hearts content.
Unfortunately some sad news – there is no DJV shiraz from 2015. This was the only vineyard that wasn’t bunch thinned, and the canopy struggled to ripen the fruit before some botrytis set in and we had to make the awful decision to abandon the block this year. For those of you who love this label/style I am pleased to report that the 2017 vintage DJV shiraz is currently maturing in (older) oak, and is possibly the best vintage of this label to date. Watch this space….