Thomas Wines Sweetwater Shiraz 2011 (Hunter Valley, NSW)
14.5%, Screwcap, $35
With Andrew ‘Thommo’ Thomas currently doing a lap of the east coast with the Next Generation Hunter Valley boys, it seems only right to be opening up this Shiraz tonight.
Thommo is particularly excited about the quality of his 2011 Shiraz lineup and, judging by this Sweetwater, he’s ‘not bullshitting’ either.
Controversially (not), the 2011 Sweetwater Shiraz is drawn from the Sweetwater vineyard at Belford, planted in 1998 on the classic red/brown Hunter loam over limestone – a dirt that’s synonymous with the best Hunter reds.
Part of the secret to this wines success is also the inclusion of a little (10%) French coopered American oak, which gives a chocolatey edge that only enhances the generous, open-knit flavours.
Like many of the great ’11 Hunter Shiraz (it was an excellent vintage in the Hunter. Patchy elsewhere, but very strong in the Hunter/WA. Believe the hype), this has a bright boysenberry colour that is so very distinctive. You just don’t see that boysenberry purple colour anywhere else. Dead sexy.
It’s a bright wine too, with jubey, purple plum fruit apparent from the get-go. Very sweet fruited and ripe. You expect this to be sweeter and confected than it tastes actually, for it smells like chocolatey, grape Hubba-Bubba. But that’s the clincher – It’s quite soft, the sugar plum juiciness abounding, yet still capped off with a fillip of late tannins and a red earth tinged palate that is anything but sugar sweet. Warm clime Shiraz doing its thing.
Hardly profound, but unquestionably delicious, this nails the modern Hunter Shiraz generosity and polish, without losing the earthiness. Certainly the best Sweetwater since 09 too.
Score: 17.7/20 92/100
Would I buy it? I’d probably buy the Kiss Shiraz above this, but would buy a glass or two off a list regardless.