Head Wines ‘The Brunette’ Syrah 2008 (Barossa Valley, SA)
$35, Screwcap, 13.5%
‘The Brunette’ comes from a high elevation vineyard in Moppa, which consists of heavy soils of deep red clay and ironstone that give structure, longevity and reward from cellaring.
Admirably, this wine matches that description well. What I particularly like is the restraint on offer, though this equals a desperate need for some decanter time if you’re looking for a drink tonight.
Red, but not glass staining, this smells delightfully of its terroir, with said red clay and ironstone soil giving a nose of rust, red dirt and licorice, dusted with coffee oak.
The palate follows in atypically Barossan fashion, with nary a sweet fruit character in site, nor any sweetness of oak either. Instead, it’s an almost perversely dry, firmly structured, red dirt dominated mouthful of meaty, licoricey extract that had me thinking of something Southern Rhonish, though obviously in a more Shiraz dominant frameset, with tannins signing things off with serious intent.
It’s this dry, serious, savoury and utterly terroir reflectiveness though that makes this Head Brunette. The only thing missing is immediacy, which is such a classic hallmark of Barossan reds. Instead this is a slightly haughty drink, gruff even, without the fruit slut, sex appeal of so many Barossan brethren. It’s drink me later, ‘Syrah’ Shiraz then, with all of it’s best work ahead of it, hence my slightly conservative score.
Good stuff regardless. 17.5++