Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Review: **** $$$ Thorpe Wines Reserve Shiraz, McLaren Vale, Australia, 2004

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Original Review, May, 2008: The Thorpe Wines Reserve Shiraz, 2004, was part of the first vintage of wines produced by Nicole Thorpe from a 12-acre shiraz plot in McLaren Vale, primarily with the use of organic farming techniques. I've heard some good things about the line. I tried the entry-level Nymph cabernet sauvignon (from a mere 5 acre plot), but the reserve shiraz has a much stronger reputation, despite its small production.

In the glass, the reserve shiraz is completely opaque. You see hints of purple and burgundy just at the very edges. Deep, potent aromas blast from the glass, complex black cherry plus eggshell plus sleek oak.

On the palate, there is an acidic, tannic attack of fragrant violets, furthered by lightly sweet fruit around your mouth. A bit of cigar tobacco. Then the tannins come back for a second attack. Then the tannins attack for a final assault! Whoa. Needs some time, for sure. But real promise for the years ahead.

Good intensity. Alcohol is 14.0%, but this can work with food because of its bright acidity. Gonna let this decant for a day and see what's up. Three stars out of five now, with a plus for its juvenile strength.

Updated Review, over two years later, July, 2010, now six years from vintage date; decanted briefly, swirled vigorously and served cellar cool:  Color and aromas are consistent, though residual oak aromas have evaporated.  The current aromas are black cherry with a mineral component that I called "eggshell" before.  Still seems accurate.  On the palate, the perfumed violets are still definitely there in the mid-red-style attack.  Sweet fruits kick in, but now the tannins are sweet and furry, not clamoring for more years in the bottle.  Moving this to four stars, as the balance of potent perfume, light acids, furry tannins and lush sweet fruit is quite compelling.

Updated review, almost five years later, now 11 years from vintage date, May, 2015:  Color is still opaque black magenta.  Still bold eucalyptus and black cherry pumping out from the glass.  Excellent balance with bold fruit and perfumed black cherry aromatics.  Still yummy and lively.  Not showing any worse for age.  Bold and classic example of some of the best characteristics from McLaren Vale.  Still four stars.

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