Woodstock ‘The Stocks’ Shiraz 2009 (McLaren Vale, SA)
14.9%, Screwcap, $65
Heavy bottle, old vines and plenty of time in oak – its every bit a modern Vale Shiraz.
This particular wine is drawn from 31 rows of low yielding vines planted circa 1900. Each vine ‘only produces 3 bottles of wine per year’ which sounds an impressive figure a the very least.
Looking closer, means if we take the standard Australian row and vine spacing of 3 x 2, equals 3,748 litres of wine per hectare (given that 3 x 2 gives 1666 vines per hectare). Given that you might get, on average, 750 litres of wine from a tonne of red grapes (depending on pressing, efficiency etc), we’re thus looking at a yield of about 5 tonnes of grapes per hectare or 2.02 tonnes per acre. To put that in perspective, most of Hermitage averages a little over that amount, whilst Grand Cru Burgundy is quite similar (35 hl/ha which is just under 2 tonnes/acre equivalent).
In other words – and apologies for the digression – this is cropped at a seriously low level by any standards (though some of the dry grown Barossan Grenache vineyards, for example, crop at half this rate again).
Anyways, you can see the concentration that low yields give from the outset on this wine as it shines with obvious and bountiful red licorice and plum fruit with background vanilla oak, carrying a real riben-esque, fruit concentrate sort of warm year style with a little Shiraz beetroot in there too.
The palate follows with roundness, generosity and a little warm, the mid palate drawing it forward without any obvious tannins and topped off with hot year alcohol heat. That generosity drives the wine, though the distinct lack of tannic drive marks this as a wine for drinking sooner rather than later.
Overall much juicy drinking to be had here, even if it is hardly a profound sort of wine. Certainly bound to impress many for the moment.
Score: 17.7/20 92/100
Would I buy it? Not quite, a little warm and bulky for me to be swayed to buy.