An old favourite

I remember as an 18 year old visiting the Hunter Valley with a group of friends.  Although only recently of legal drinking age, I was already on my way to becoming a wine lover, having enjoyed the odd glass of wine at family events – birthdays/Christmas/etc.  While there is no particular moment that I could say was a wine epiphany for me, there was one wine I tasted on this trip that really stood out.  We visited the Mount Pleasant (McWilliams) cellar door and they had on tasting an older vintage of the Rosehill Shiraz.  I can’t recall the specific vintage (maybe 1987), but it was about 7 or 8 years old and tasted like liquid velvet.  The wine was so smooth and mellow; I had tasted nothing like it before.  Since then, this wine has been an old favourite.  Throughout the ‘90s it was consistently good, punctuated with the wonderful trio of ‘98, ‘99, and ‘00.  During the early ‘00s, I felt it was less successful.  ‘01 and ’02 were poor Hunter vintages, while the ’03 was a hot vintage and the wine lacked its traditional elegant character.  Vintages since then I feel were made to a different style, a little too much like rich South Australia shiraz.  The fruit was ripe, the oak was American, and the style was a long way from the classic  ‘90s vintages.  I picked up a bottle of the current release – the 2007, which was a very good Hunter vintage – to see how my old mate was getting on.

Mount Pleasant Rosehill Shiraz 2007 (Hunter Valley):  I am pleased to say that this vintage seems to mark a return to form for this wine.  It is elegant and delicious.  The aromas are of dry spices (fennel, clove) and red fruits, while the palate shows nice raspberry fruit flavours, fine tannins, and nice supporting acidity.  It is tasty and smooth, with no overt oak or alcohol notes.   This is how I remember those great ‘90s vintages tasting, and it’s certainly the best made since the trio of ‘98/’99/’00.

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