Meerea Park Alexander Munro Cellar Release Shiraz 1998 (Hunter, NSW)
$100, Cork, 13.5%
This was released as a 10 yr old wine last year and the 99 is the current release. It's another smart move by the Eather boys, for this is a great way to show the oft neglected, yet legendary, ageability of Hunter Shiraz, which will often outlive Shiraz from nearly anywhere else in Australia.
Full red colour, lighter at the rim, but looking very youthful indeed, giving fair indication of this wines vigour. Earthen, caramelised nose - indeed, it smell its age - followed by red fruits and spice. Plenty of Hunter dirt on that nose, with just a whiff of field mushroom (the lovely brown ones) The palate is again slightly leathered, but its also big and berried, reflecting the warm 1998 vintage. This ripe, slightly sour youthfulness carries through onto a finish that is still tannic and unresolved, dry and long & ultimately satisfying in its slight gruffness - its 'proper' red wine in a style that the Eather's do so well. The 13.5% alcohol here also seems near perfect.
In the end this is a really very impressive, genuine Hunter Shiraz. Its dry, structure driven and unquestionably Hunterish, the sort of wine that will never be lush or immediate, and many may indeed just write it off as a bit dry and leathery. To me, however, its a great 11 year old expression of its origins & ultimately the sort of wine I like to drink. 18.0