2016 Huntington Estate ‘Basket Dried’ Shiraz

Tim Stevens, the Huntington Estate winemaker, picked the grapes for this wine at 12.9 baumé.  Normally this translates to a wine with about the same alcohol content by the time it finds its way into bottle.  The thing is with this wine, he then air dried the fruit (amarone and/or passito style) for about a month and the resultant alcohol is 15.5%.  How labour intensive, let alone stressful must this winemaking method be?  This level of alcohol may seem a bit scary for some punters but the concentrated fruit flavours  have produced a lovely, beautifully balanced wine.  Tim has got this method down pat I reckon.

Richness and concentratedness (another new word of mine) begin on the nose.  There’s one hell of an introduction to this wine right here I must say.  Mind you, it’s like it says to you, “Don’t be afraid,  I’m a friendly beast”.

Same when tasting it.  Full on, but gee, everything seems so in-line without being rigid and all the usual wine components seem harmonious already.  I just realised that the word for this wine is, as I’ve said before, balanced.

Plenty of dark fruits such as blackberries and (dark) plums are the ones that’ll grab your attention, herbs have a say and creamy milk/dark chocolate creaminess seem to fill out the palate.  Actually, I think you’ll find it feels quite luxurious in the mouth like I did.  There’s almost something akin to a delicate acid involvement (for want of a better word) too that does not detract from the flavours, but more impresses its potential.  Tannins are present as I expected but with such a terrific concentration of fruit flavours, they are not an issue apart from being a tad dry.  To round out this truly delightful wine, the whole lot comes together for a long, lingering and intense finish that had me shaking my head in amazement.

(Sorry, the pic is of the 2015 vintage but the 2016 label is the same)

Region: Mudgee, NSW     Price: $75     Source: Sample thanks to Huntington Estate and Define Wine

Huntington Estate Website


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