2014 Hunter Valley shiraz
The 2014 vintage is a great one for Hunter Valley shiraz. Cellaring enthusiasts wanting to top up the Hunter representation in their cellar should grab these when they come onto the market.
Generally speaking, the best ‘14s are yet to be released, as they are often kept back a bit longer than the cheaper, drink-now versions. But there are exceptions. I’ve recently tasted the Tyrrell’s top-level 2014s, and they are sensational. So are Tulloch’s (Private Bin – tasting and Hector – tasting), and a smattering of others such as Audrey Wilkinson Winemaker’s Selection (tasting), Cockfighter’s Ghost Reserve (tasting)and Andevine Reserve (tasting). If these are any guide as to what is to come, it will be a very exciting vintage.
With the Tyrrell wines, I understand the mailing-list clients will have been offered the wines already but they aren’t going on general sale just yet. It is difficult to say which wines are the best: I was so impressed with all of them on opening, only to change my mind about my favourites a day later, and again a day after that. They are very young wines and they change subtly as they breathe. It doesn’t really matter as they were outstanding at every stage, until they finally began to go stale after three or four days open.
Johnno’s (tasting), Old Patch (tasting) and 4 Acres (tasting) are in short supply as always (about 290 dozen of each, and all $70), while Vat 9 ($80 – tasting) is made in more accessible licks, and is also outstanding. I also liked the Stevens (tasting) and NVC (New Vine Cuttings – tasting), both $40, and even the Vat 6 Pinot Noir ($50 – tasting) is a delicious wine in 2014. It seems to have been cast in a lighter, more fragrant, less try-hard style than previous vintages I’ve tasted, and is just beautiful.
What I like about the 2014 Hunter shirazes is their tremendous concentration, their depth of flavour (and colour) without sacrificing traditional Hunter elegance. None of the wines I mention has overt oak worth commenting on, and their balance is excellent. They can be drunk now but you’d be crazy to do that, as they will repay the investment many times over in flavour complexity if you allow them a generous amount of time in the cellar.