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Thomas Wines

2022 Sweetwater Ridge Shiraz

2022 Sweetwater Ridge Shiraz

Winemaker's Comments

Since our very first vintage 28 years ago, I've been very fortunate to have established long-term relationships with some of the most amazing growers in the Hunter Valley, and this has been absolutely core to the success of our brand. Unfortunately, not actually owning all the vineyards that we make wine from comes with the inherent risk of losing access to those grapes.

In 2016, what we have come to know as the 'Sweetwater' vineyard was sold. The new owner and I did not exactly see eye to eye pretty much from the outset, and over the next few years we had a legal stoush over the 'Sweetwater' trademark (which we all know was only made significant by our great work and wines since that vineyard was planted in 1998). The end of my relationship with this vineyard was clearly and unfortunately inevitable.

Fortunately, I could see the writing on the wall, so I commenced my contingency plan in 2017. Darren and Tracey Scott own the adjacent property, Ridgeview Estate at the very end of Sweetwater Road. We have been sourcing grapes from this fantastic vineyard since 2017 with the very first bottling of a single vineyard wine (labeled as Belford Shiraz) happening in that very first vintage.

The Belford Shiraz has been extremely well received over the years, particularly amongst our members and in the 2022 vintage this vineyard has finally taken centre stage as our prime Sweetwater offering. We have decided to label the wine as 'Sweetwater Ridge' from this vintage forward to be completely transparent with the change of vineyards.

These vineyards are situated literally just over the fence from each other, both planted in 1998 almost certainly with the same clone (1654) of Shiraz. The red/brown loamy soils over limestone found in this area tend to provide a distinctive floral lift and complexity to Shiraz. 

This vineyard was our very first Shiraz pick of the vintage (and interestingly also the ripest) on the 17th of February. Hand-picked, destemmed, but not crushed, the whole berry fermentation commenced after a 24-hour cold soak. At the end of a ten day fermentation on skins, the wine was pressed off into a selection of new, one, two and three-year-old premium French oak 300L Hogsheads for maturation.

The wine spent 13 months in oak before our final blending decisions, with only the very best barrels going to this wine (and a few to our '22 Elenay Shiraz blend). Bottled in June 2023 and rested for 11 months prior to release in May 2024

Trophy - 2023 Hunter Valley Boutique Wine Show (Best One-Year-old Shiraz)
Gold Medal - 2023 Hunter Valley Boutique Wine Show

Tasting Notes

Deep glossy purple colour with a flamboyantly fragrant nose hinting at fresh flowers, raspberry conserve and five-spice, alongside ripe mulberry, damson plum and sour-cherry.
A charming palate of luscious boysenberry,  black plum like fruit notes with varietal black-pepper spice. There are hints of roast coffee, blackberry liqueur, dried vanilla and cola from time in deluxe oak. This is a long and layered wine with a unique silken texture and an irresistible personality. 

Delicious drinking now, but will reward some medium-term cellaring
Drink 2024 - 2030+

Bottled - 20th June 2023
Production -  867 dozen
Released - 18th May 2024
ABV - 13.7%

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