Meerea Park Shiraz 2008 (Hunter/Hilltops)
2008 was a vintage of contrasts. Over in the beautiful South Western point of our broad brown land it was a quite warm, even vintage, only threatened by some late vintage rain and the odd pesky bird. Contrast that to SA and Victoria, which, after a mild summer, exploded with a burst of record breaking heat in early March (this time last year in fact) that compressed 6 weeks of vintage down into 1 week. If you picked early, life was great, with some truly brilliant whites and early picked reds of rare form and natural acidity.
Anything left out in the 15 days of extreme heat however was basically cooked, with reports of fruit coming in at 30+ baume – that’s a potential alcohol of 30%…2008 in South Australia particularly will be a vintage of two very definite halves.
Finally, in stark contrast, the Hunter Valley had a soul crushing vintage – cold, wet and miserable, with what little hope of ripe red grapes destroyed with incessant weeks of rain. Suffice to say it was a challenge, with much of the reds simply left on the vine. The flip side of this is that the white wines from 2008 have some of the most brilliant acid structures you will likely see in Hunter Valley whites – 2008 Hunter Semillon’s may well live forever.
The Eather boys of Meerea Park were not spared the misery, with much of the red grapes simply picked onto the ground or left for the birds, having never achieved real ripeness. There will likely then only be two 2008 reds from the Meerea Park stable – this wine & the Shiraz Viognier.
This Shiraz then is delightfully true to its reputation – its bloody good value. Boysenberry purple in colour the nose has some peachy, squishy sweet fruit with just an undertone of black soil & leather underneath. The palate is all primal and angular, with quite big ripe flavours and firm old oak edges. Still, the finish is spot on and it never feels overdone, it just a bit raw and young.
Notch up yet another tick then for Meerea Park – fast becoming my favourite Australian winery. This bright & youthful red feels just post ferment and could do with another 6 months in the bottle to come together, yet never feels aggressive, oaky or overly sweet. Will continue to improve for another 5 years too . Not bad for a $15 wine.. 17.0+