This Shiraz is grown in Heathcote, in the east of Australia, on the slopes of Mount Carmel in Central Victoria. Based further out in the Hunter Valley region The Tyrrell's are very famous for their incredible (and unique) white wines made from the Semillon grape, but have a superb platform on which reds can be produced, too. And what better to prove this than the benchmark for so many Australian reds, Shiraz?!
This is a delicious, smooth, balanced, generous and brooding Shiraz that keeps its mighty power well and truly under wraps. You'll be completely unaware of the alcohol level on account of the ripeness of the fruit flavours and the supporting level of acidity.
Really, this zips over the palate leaving you rather thirsty for more, while also giving masses to think about flavour-wise: damson and plum, black pepper and coffee with a really lovely set of olive-brine and licorice notes to boot. It's very, very good and really made us think about this region for fine reds all over again.
There is a growing trend in Australian wineries to produce red wines that are less extracted than in previous decades. This has yielded wines that retain focus and flavour, but that are often less alcoholic and lighter in colour and body, becoming fresher and in many cases more approachable. Some say more European in style. In some cases we have found absolute joy in reds that look like dark rosé, full of wild berry flavours and punching at about 14% alcohol, while others turn up with under 13% and an ethereality that can sit somewhere between refreshing and disappointing. It's a reaction in part to declining sales of high alcohol reds and in part a desire to increase the opportunities in restaurant markets that often look to get more subtle and nuanced wines, which broadly speaking was not the trump card in the Australian wine industry's hand.
So, as cooler climate sites are identified, such as Heathcote in this case, and as wine making practices shift, there are more and lighter options than there have ever been before, which is great. Victoria is home to some of Australia's most famous and successful Pinot Noir producers; and though Tyrrell's make some of the lighter and less intense reds here, we found that some were not as complete as we'd have liked... perhaps it was a case of "come back next year", but right now, they were missing something. But that's not the case with this Rufus Stone. It's excellent and captures that balance of heritage and forward-thinking in a brilliant, slightly alcoholic, glass of wine.
The winery at Tyrrell's is a proper historic family-run operation that dates back over 160 years. Their Vat 1 Semillon is the most awarded Australian White wine ever and they have been at the forefront of developing Chardonnay and Shiraz vines too. Some of their vineyards are still planted with vines that are over 100 years old.
Their forward and back-looking perspective is personally stated by the family in really open ways: "It’s a humbling experience to be able to go out every day and work with vineyards that were planted by my grandfather, my great grandfather and my great, great grandfather,” says fifth-generation winemaker Chris Tyrrell. “And while the Hunter Valley was Australia’s first grape-growing region, it’s still a progressive wine region. No one rests on their laurels here, and at Tyrrell’s we are very much a part of that, constantly looking to innovate and stay ahead of the curve.” As he and his father, Bruce, say, "it’s all about keeping half an eye on the past and one and half eyes on the future."
Style: Vibrant, Soft, Smooth, Silky, Round, Rich, Powerful, Medium Full, Elegant, Dry, Dark, Complex, Broad
Best food matches: Wild Boar, Warm Salads, Tapas, Steak, Roasts, Ribs, Red Meats, Pork, Pizza, Mature Cheeses, Lamb, Hard Cheeses, Grills, Grilled Vegetables, Game, Duck, Cheeses, Charcuterie, Casseroles, Beef, Barbecue