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Rockford Black Shiraz (2009 disgorgement)

January 31, 2010

Only the land from Down Under has this penchant for producing sparkling reds, and of all these, only the Rockford Black Shiraz reigns supreme, the rest being either too sweet, too bland or too simple. What exactly is this Black Shiraz?? It is actually disgorged annually from a solera that is derived from the renowned Rockford Basket Press shiraz. Every year, some 30% of the current vintage of Basket Press is added to the solera which, of course, contains back vintages of Basket Press that had been added in previous years. Part of that is disgorged and matured in seasoned oak for three years before being bottle fermented and left on lees for another year. Only some 2500 cases of the Black Shiraz is disgorged and sold only at the cellar door at Krondorf Road in the Barossa every December (loyal fans on its mailing list – known as the “Stonewallers” – get the first cut in October), the whole lot being completely sold out before Christmas. Each customer is only allowed a measly carton of 3 bottles, max. Priced originally at AUD56, it is usually sold for well over AUD100 by the time you see it in retailers and restaurants. I have made it a point to obtain some every year, since 2003, directly from the cellar door either in person or by proxy. For the 2009, I’m absolutely indebted to AW for procuring 12 bottles. Fantastic effort!!

Popped and poured at Imperial Treasure T3. Bright purple, offering a bouquet of raspberries and brandied cherries. Medium-bodied. Slightly thin initially, but it rapidly gained weight with notes of redcurrants, strawberries and a hint of licorice underscored with liquered herbs. This is not the most complex nor layered of Black Shiraz that I’ve had, of course, for these things need time and another 5-8 years of careful cellaring can be extremely rewarding. No…I’m not in any hurry to drink up my stash of Black Shiraz.

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