2018 Grand Reserve Shiraz Cabernet
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This is a wonderful expression of the Mudgee terroir; and an illustration of what Huntington and Mudgee can do. Years of experimentation and research under my 'great tannin project' have led us here, to a wine that has a lovely Old World structure, with New World levels of fruit.
The secret to the wine is of course the fruit - but its not just about sourcing 'the best' fruit. It's selecting parcels of perfect fruit that match and build on each other, creating a wine that is greater than the sum of its parts, which presents as a whole, not as individual components.
I've always loved the classic Aussie blend of Shiraz and Cabernet. At its best, the two sets of tannins dovetail beautifully to create the perfect palate with both mid palate weight as well as length.
The extraordinary palate, structure and softness are achieved here because at Huntington we don't pursue wines that are fresh and vibrant in their youth (which doesn't win us trophies at major wine shows any more, but keeps me and our legions of wine fans happy, which frankly matters more). We want wines that have magnificent structure and lovely fruit on release, and in maturity.
VINTAGE 2018 was warm and dry - a great red vintage, and the culmination of a huge amount of work to better understand how to manage the warmer seasons in the vineyard and the winery. The promise of the wines was evident from the start in the colour and chemistry (pH, acids etc.) and the flavours and structure followed through.
WINEMAKING / VINEYARD We chose select parcels of Estate Grown fruit from Block 1 Shiraz (14/3 at 14.1 Bé), Block 2 Shiraz (from the bottom of the block 21/2 at 13.9 Bé) and Block 9B Cabernet (16/3 at 13.3 Bé). Each variety was crushed, fermented, and matured in oak separately. Block 1 was cold soaked prior to fermentation, 22/3 pressed-off into barrels (40% new American), remainder second and third use to complete fermentation and mature. Block 2 was pressed off skins 01/3 and transferred to a mix of French (44%) and American barriques 26/4, 36% first use, remainder well-seasoned. Block 9B was pressed off 27/3, fermentation complete 20/4, transferred to French barriques 03/5 (even mix of 1st, 2nd, 3rd use and well-seasoned). Barrel selection and blending trials were conducted prior to the final blend and bottling at 13.7% Alc by Vol. on 16/10/20.
IN NOSE Complex and alluring. Mulberries and dark and brooding fruit, backed by sweet spices and an elegant touch of cedar.
IN MOUTH Ripe, dark fruit is supported by creamy vanilla and a spicy cedar finish. The palate is extraordinary. Full-bodied. Rich, round, succulent and impeccably balanced. Incredibly plush and super smooth with chewy tannins. Great length.
GOLD MEDAL MUDGEE WINE SHOW 2021
95/100 "A wine that kept evolving the longer it sat in the glass, this is a fabulous long-term proposition. Slot this into the birth year wine/keepsake category. It's a glorious ride. From a warm, dry vintage, red berries and mulberry fruit from the Shiraz meets savoury Cabernet. Woodsy spices, black earth and flashes of leather gather some momentum. Dark plums and black fruit compote raise their hand too. Fine black pepper adds another layer of detail as well as some moreishness. A blend with excellent structure, watch this evolve in the glass. Although only 13.7%, there is some heft here. Lusty chewy tannins are brushed through the mouth drying out ever so slowly on a persistent finish. Just brilliant!" QWINE 2022
94/100 "A lovely nose of red plums, rosehip and blackcurrants lures you in. Its buoyant core masterfully melds fruit with oak. The fruit has lovely precision, freshness and intensity. This is a premium and plush shiraz cabernet that's drinking beautifully now, and will age well." THE REAL REVIEW 2022
94/100 "An inky but glossy deep red in the glass with aromatics that show the spiced, cedary impact of new oak that combines with plum and blackberry fruit alongside background earth and olive. The palate has a backbone of briny tapenade and drying black berry fruits; acidity and tannins are masterfully handled with acidity flowing and tannins super fine and complementing the savoury tones to the fruit. The mid palate brings more primary black cherry fruit before driving blackberry brings things home along with a dusting of spice." THE WINE REVIEWER 2022