Sourced from gnarly old vines at the glorious piece of wine history that is Sunbury’s Craiglee – Still gravity fed & using the winery structure that dates back to the mid 1800’s
I am quite a fan of the Craiglee style, but there is considerable vintage variation. In warm yrs, the big red fruits come to the fore in a style that is decidedly opulent, whilst in cooler years it is the spice and meaty pepper of cool climate Shiraz. I actual prefer the spicier wines for the long term, as the ripe vintages can lack definition.
This is undoubtedly a warm year wine, carrying the trademark red fruits shining bright (kinda like Rudolph)
First tasted at the Annual Craiglee Open Day at the end of July, it was interesting to try this compared to the 05 vintage – which seem richer and absolutely mouth filling in its generous texture. I was initially swayed by its buxom glory, yet the 06 seemed to be the purists wine, with more noticeable acidity and probably closer to my preferred style.
So I thus rather looked forward to a second drink, this time from a half bottle & tasted over three days. A rather inky, dark red colour (Its almost a boysenberry red) the nose opens up with opulent red fruits – lovely luscious redcurrant and red licorice fruits. The palate has quite powerful fruit & structure, with firm acidity (yet not natural acidity?) on a red fruit and raspberry liqueur palate. The finish is warm, with noticeable alcohol heat.
On day one, straight from the bottle it was a very firm wine indeed, so I stuck the cap back on and left it for 48 hrs. Coming back again on night three, the red fruit was still there, but the alcohol had reared up and was now the dominant factor. In fact the whole wine had taken on a brandy like heat and hardness that was not even slightly attractive.
So in the end I am very torn. I was lucky enough to try a 20 yr vertical of Craiglee Shiraz about 4 years ago that served to reinforce the sheer ageability of this wine style – besides a dip in the mid 90’s, its a surprisingly cellar-able Shiraz that really hits its straps at the 10 year mark. However I’m just not sure about this one – that hard alcohol heat isn’t going anywhere, although the rest of the wine seems built for the long haul. 17.3/20
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