Shottesbrooke – Winery in Focus – August 2018
Barry Weinman: 25th August 2018
Shottesbrooke hails from McLaren Vale and got underway with the establishment of the cellar door in 1994. Given the location, it is no surprise that there is a focus on Shiraz, Grenache and Cabernet, complemented by aromatic white wines from the Adelaide Hills.
Winemaking is led by Hamish McGuire who took over as head winemaker in 2004. Hamish also happens to be the son in-law of founder Nick Holmes.
The wines are divided into a number of levels, starting with the Discovery Series, then ascending through the Estate, Single Vineyard and Reserve ranges. Complementing the core range are the 1337 and Expressions lines which include sparkling and fortified wines.
For me, the real interest is with the McLaren Vale reds. As might be expected, Shottesbrooke makes high quality Shiraz. The surprise for me was just how good the Cabernet-based wines are. Wines like the Punch Reserve have led me to reassess my preconceptions about the regions that the variety is suited to. Whilst it is a bigger style than Margaret River for example, with more obvious new oak, the wine remains balanced and age-worthy.
The pick of the range however, from a sheer deliciousness point of view, is the Single Vineyard Grenache. Fragrant and fine, a superb wine coming from 80 year old bush vines.
Shottesbrooke – Grenache – Single Vineyard – 2016 (18.4/20pts – $33). This took a day to really open up, but I was rewarded with fragrant plum, cherry and bright red berry fruit that was quite captivating. The palate has it all; Density, structure, slightly chewy tannins and persistent, high-quality fruit. Long, fine and silky, this is a treat now, but will also age well for 5 – 10 years. A beautiful wine.
Shottesbrooke – Shiraz – Estate – 2012 (18/20pts – N/A). A delicious wine showing ripe fruit and hints of savoury complexity. The fresh acidity and fine tannins combine to make a great drinking wine. The length and complexity are noteworthy, but it is the delicious McLaren Vale Shiraz fruit that is the star.
Shottesbrooke – Shiraz – Estate – 2015 (17.5/20 – $20). Mocha notes over ripe plum and red berry fruit. The palate is fresh and lively, with fine tannins and well-judged acidity adding life. The finish is quite chocolatey, with Middle Eastern spice notes building. Excellent fruit quality built in a medium bodied style that will be great drinking now with Moroccan food but really needs 5+ years to hit its peak (if the 2012 is any indication). Excellent Value.
Shottesbrooke – Shiraz – Tom’s Block – Blewitt Springs – Single Vineyard – 2015 (18/20pts – $40). The pick of the current batch of Single Vineyards wines for me. The balance between ripe, elegant fruit and fine oak hits the sweet spot. The tannins are fine and supple, combining with the acid to keep the wine alive and fresh. Hints of sage on the finish make a lamb roast a great match. From a warmer year, fermented in and aged 16 months in older oak.
Shottesbrooke – Shiraz – Eliza – Reserve – 2014 (18.5/20pts – $60). Superb fruit on the nose that is ripe, concentrated and dense. Think plum and red berry, with vanilla/cedary overtones from the oak. The palate is thick with fruit. Very deep and dense, the concentration of fruit is palpable. There is a fine, almost silky mid palate that leads to a long finish that is a little shy now, but perfectly balanced. An impressive wine that, whilst just starting to open up, needs 10+ years to shine. Fermented and aged in new oak .
Shottesbrooke – Cabernet Sauvignon – Estate – 2016 (17.5+/20pts – $20). Lithe and supple by comparison to its bigger siblings, this is a fruit-driven wine that is approachable, has bright acidity and decent length. With air, the sweet berry fruit really shines, making for a very enjoyable wine.
Shottesbrooke – Cabernet Sauvignon – McLaren Flat – Single Vineyard – 2012 (18/20pts – N/A). A savoury, spicy wine that is complex and intense. Chewy and textured, with menthol, sage and rosemary, with an almost gamey note. This is a big, powerful, dense wine for those looking for a hearty red. Age-worthy.
Shottesbrooke – Cabernet Sauvignon – Punch – Reserve – 2012 (18.5/20pts – $60). Lovely cassis and fresh berry fruit to open, with hints of sage, rosemary and mint chocolate. The depth and density of the fruit is impressive, as is the balance, with the finish remaining lithe and supple, despite the intensity of the fruit. Very long, the oak is apparent on the finish, but is well matched to the fruit. At 6 years of age, this is just starting to open up, but is still worthy of extended time in the cellar.
Shottesbrooke – The Proprietor – 2012 (18.3/20pts – $60). Cabernet Sauvignon (49%), Merlot (42%) and Malbec (9%) aged in a blend of new and seasoned oak. Closed and subdued in comparison to the Punch, yet there is no doubting the quality of the fruit and winemaking. Somewhat of an iron fist in a velvet glove, this is fine and almost silky, yet there is brooding power to the fruit. Needs years to come around, but will be worth the wait.