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2012 Savaterre Shiraz

"Stinky, smoky, stalky, plush with fruit and oak, lengthy. Complex but not at the expense of immediate deliciousness. Has a sinewy character to the tannin but it wraps like a genome through the wine, twisting both flavour and dry control as it motors through. It’s a remarkable shiraz. Meaty, smoky and dry but with plenty of dark, berried flesh. As the kids now say: boom....Rated: 94+ Points "
Campbell Mattinson, The Wine Front : December 2013

100% Shiraz.

Its’ been a long time coming!

Our first Shiraz vintage release. Ten years in the making and I’m proud as can be! This is a great wine. You don’t hear me saying that often. More Rhone than Australian. And while I wax lyrical about the wine lets remember it’s the vineyard not me that is responsible for this acheivement. 

A beautiful clear wine. Vibrant purple – a darker core – with crimson edges.

An incredibly complex, lifted, lively and intense nose. Exotic aromas of smoked meats, dried red rose, allspice, clove, dark plum, dark cherry ,blackberry, mulberry, mandarin, violets, sandlewood, bay and funky undergrowth. This aroma really revs me up, it continues to evolve as time goes by. This wine is alive!

Complexity, poise, sinewy acid, fine tannins wrapped around a sleek core of pristine dark fruit. A wine that’s slightly reduced and smelling of undergrowth now that transforms in the glass and continues to seduce. This is Terroir. This is Savaterre. 

Here are Campbell Mattinson's thoughts from winefront.com -

"It’s been tough. The shiraz vines finally went in at Savaterre at the peak of the worst drought in the Beechworth region’s recorded history. That was late Spring 2003. The vines were planted with water spears and biodynamic preparations laid on but still 30 percent of the vines were dead by the end of the first summer. Lucky there were plenty of them to start with; or plenty in terms of density anyway. They’re growing there now at 8000 vines per hectare on a handkerchief of paddock spotted by Tim Kirk, of Clonakilla fame, who was visiting Savaterre back then to see the chardonnay and pinot noir vineyard, for which the estate is renowned. As Savaterre’s Keppell Smith now tells it, Kirk looked out at the dry yonder and pointed at a patch of flowing grass and the dire straits of dust. Kirk found the sun and stepped out of the shade and said something like, You and shiraz, babe, how about it?” I am of course taking licence. Kirk may have even muttered the words “potentially one of the best shiraz sites in Australia”. It’s neither here nor there.

Except to say that Keppell wasted no time in getting the planting going. The rows run east-west and it’s all shiraz; there’s no viognier or roussanne. Ever since, he’s been eager to grow and crush, mature and bottle a shiraz from it. But there was that drought, which applied the anchors to the vineyard’s development. And there’s Keppell Smith himself, who is not easily satisfied. Four vintages have been made but the 2012 is the first he has deemed suitable for release.

“The vineyard barely ripens the grapes by the time the leaves are falling,” Keppell says. “Each vine makes about one bottle.” He’s picking the vineyard at high 12s Baume-wise, at times low 13s. The end wine (from the 2012 vintage) is 13.5% alc. Interestingly, the Savaterre shiraz vineyard is planted on its own rootstock “because I’ve decided rootstock is evil. I just don’t like the flavours they produce.”

This is interesting because phlloxera is alive, well and on the move in north-east Victoria. “It’s all dry, sandy, decomposed buckshot here.

This first Savaterre shiraz will be released in early December 2013. The 2012 Chardonnay and Pinot Noir will be released in February 2014. All are as good as anything Savaterre has thus far produced; all too at 13.5% alcohol, or close-enough to. Blessedly, seventy-five percent of Savaterre’s production is now sealed with a screwcap, according to the demands of the market.

But back to the wine. Fair to say that after a long wait, Keppell is happy with the wine he now has to put on the table.

“”I’m so proud of this wine. I thought I’d f#cked it. It smelt so bad in barrel but it has just transformed. I’ve lived to see a great shiraz come off my block; I’m a happy man. Some bastards try their whole life to produce a wine like this.”

2012 Savaterre Shiraz
100% stalk. 100% shiraz – “there’s no weed in this”. Stinky, smoky, stalky, plush with fruit and oak, lengthy. Complex but not at the expense of immediate deliciousness. Has a sinewy character to the tannin but it wraps like a genome through the wine, twisting both flavour and dry control as it motors through. It’s a remarkable shiraz. Meaty, smoky and dry but with plenty of dark, berried flesh. As the kids now say: boom.

Rated: 94+ Points. Drink 2015 -2024+
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All grapes under this label are sourced exclusively from the Savaterre Vineyard in Beechworth.

It is imperative to open this wine at least 2 - 3 hours ahead of drinking if you are going to experience the layers of complexity the palate has to deliver. This is particularly relevant if you intend to enjoy to consume this wine in the next two years.

Unfiltered. Store at 14C.

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