Enter, the latest majestic McLaren Vale red the Hickinbotham stable, the Hickinbotham Clarendon Vineyard Brooks Road Shiraz 2019.
For anyone who loves Penfolds Shiraz, this is the alternate choice – a McLaren Vale red that has the grandiosity and Penfoldian lavishness, but with authenticity and a sense of place.
Notionally, Peter Fraser makes this wine, while Chris Carpenter makes the Bordeaux varieties. Of course, Peter is across both given that Chris is Napa-based, but this Shiraz still feels different (and less oaky) compared to the Cabernet (for example).
The recipe for success here is undeniable. Sourced from the original ‘71 plantings on the Clarendon vineyard plus some 2002 plantings. Gentle maceration, 20 days on skins. 6 months on lees in 30% new French oak puncheons. Then a further 6 months in a combination of old, large foudre and an 18hl concrete egg (numbers: TA 5.9g/L pH 3.6).
Ultimately, it all leads to an incredibly polished, ultra-classy modern McLaren Vale Shiraz. Oak plays an important bit part in this wine, giving the finishing touches to the texture. But that’s not discounting the core of coffeed, richly flavoured, dark berried fruit. If I had to zone in on just one perfect component, it would have to be the texture. It had me thinking of Sassicaia, such is the unquestioned smooth-yet-forceful nature of it. Cosseting, powerful, savoury, yet incredibly rich in a fancy flourless chocolate cake fashion.
Satisfying. Balanced and wonderfully regional. The score will only go up with another few years in bottle too. Top class.
Hickinbotham Clarendon Vineyard Brooks Road Shiraz 2019. Best drinking: sure, open it now and revel in the depth of flavour. Or wait just a few years for even more oak cohesion. Either way, it will live for decades. 18.7/20, 95/100+. 14.5%, $75. Hickinbotham website. Would I buy it? Yes.