New Release Tasting
Reviewed: 15 February 2012
John Griffith established Faber in 1997 after working with several wineries (including Houghton for 6 years) and a stint teaching winemaking at Curtin University.
The most interesting facet of the Faber story is that the first vines were only planted in 1997. At a time when there is a lot of cache given to old-vines shiraz, the Faber wines highlight that old vines are not the only ingredient required to make great wine. Rightly, the Reserve shiraz is considered to be amongst WA’s finest.
Looking through the new releases from Faber, I was impressed at how each individual wine was handled to maximise enjoyment. While John is a champion of Swan Valley shiraz, he draws on grapes from several premium regions to fashion other wines in the range.
There is no doubt in my mind that the Faber Reserve shiraz is a superb wine. Having said that, the other wines that I have reviewed here are worthy of attention.
Faber Vineyard – Malbec – Dwellingup Vineyard – 2011 (17). The colour is almost crimson/purple. This is very deep smelling, with blueberry and raspberry over mint, with briary, earthy undertones. The souring finish adds life, though there is a touch of astringency on the close (that softens noticeably with air). This wine has excellent quality fruit that has been massaged in the winery, resulting in a pretty wine that is full of subtlety.
Faber Vineyard – Petit Verdot – 2011 (17.5). Attractive, forward nose that shows very pretty ripe fruit and well-handled oak. The palate, on the other hand, is quite firm and tannic, with plum and mulberry jam components showing through. After a day on the tasting bench, this really softened, allowing the pretty, fragrant fruit to shine. Whilst ideal for lovers of a big red now, this will be much better with a few years in the cellar. Diam closure.
Faber Vineyard – Shiraz – Riche – 2011 (17.5). Rich and dense red/black fruit with a touch of fruit-cake, menthol and spice. The wafts of sweet, cedary oak compliments the style very well. On the palate, the textured, drying tannins from fruit and oak are the main feature initially. With air, the dense, rich shiraz fruit shines through. This is almost inky in the mouth. A rich shiraz that deserves time in the cellar. Made in the Saignee method where some of the lighter juice is bled from the top of the vat to concentrate the flavours.
Faber Vineyard – Shiraz – Reserve – 2010 (18 – 18.5+). There is lovely fruit on show here, with dense, ripe berries over cocoa and coffee aromas. There is also a slightly resinous character from the oak, though this will settle with time in the bottle. The palate is superb, with white pepper over dense, dark fruit characters. One on hand, this is immensely powerful, yet on the other hand, balanced and lithe. The essence-like fruit and spice speaks to the quality of the superb Swan Valley fruit used to make this wine. Sour plum and spice on the finish really add to the mouth-feel and texture. A superb wine with a long future. Cork closure.