On the back of last night’s Malakoff-off, tonight I’m venturing into the rest of the new release Lethbridge range – which this year has a distinctly different (Shiraz) flavour.
In 2014, yields at Lethbridge were just 20% of normal (in Pinot and Chardonnay particularly), leading to more winery capacity and a serendipitous opportunity to play around with Shiraz from other vineyards.
These two first wines (and the Malakoff Shiraz from last night) are quite natural extensions to the range too, crafted in a style that I’d call classical Lethbridge, just with a different flavour.
Great to see.
Lethbridge Great Western Shiraz 2014
Sourced from the Hyde Park vineyard in Great Western and made without ‘extraneous artefacts’. Deep purple in the glass, this lively, pulpy Shiraz captures the juiciness of Great Western Shiraz perfectly, with that real plum essence purple fruit, before a dash of tobacco and some sweet oak and a slightly liquered finish. Perhaps a little warm and simple, but high quality and a proper Great Western terroir piece. Best drinking: 2015-2024. 17.7/20, 92/100. 14.5%, $30. Would I buy it? I’d splurge on the Serendipity instead.
Lethbridge Serendipity Great Western Shiraz 2014
Also from the Hyde Park vineyard, just a more serious style. There is the same purple fruit of the Great Western Shiraz, but this is inkier, more lavish, more purple fruit red and expansive. There is that same lovely purple fruit, that same mid palate round fruit, the same plum essence. It just feels more concentrated, the oak more lavish and the flavours more comprehensive. Lovely wine this in a laidback, live-forever style. Wonderully Great Western it is too. Perhaps a little skinny on the finish, but you get the sense that will resolve with more time in bottle. Lovely wine. Best drinking: 2016-2030. 18.5/20+, 94/100. 14.5%, $42. Would I buy it? Absolutely.
Lethbridge Indra Geelong Shiraz 2013
I love the front label/back label/tasting note of the Lethbridge label, even if the font isn’t easy to read. Here, Ray muses about whole bunches, as this sees only 20% of the fruit destemmed. Sourced from the Indra block, this is the top Lethbridge Shiraz (and priced accordingly). A beast it is too – dark purple red, there is a wonderful lift of boiled lollies and glacé fruit on the nose, followed by a typically complex, tour-de-force of a wine. There’s tomato leaf and beefiness to accompany the juicy-yet-sour tomato fruit, the extractive palate showing layers of spicy, meaty fruit. A bold, even slightly confronting wine, it is structurally sublime, if still tightly contained and awkward, with jutting angles. Important plus signs, with the tannin breadth suggesting it will be very long lived. Best drinking: 2018-2035. 18/20, 93/100. 14%, $95. Would I buy it? Not unless I was feeling very patient.