Now here is a quite unexpected exclusive.
These new 2014 Best’s super premium releases aren’t due to be released for another few weeks, but a kindly wine rep popped around with a few open bottles.
I definitely wasn’t complaining.
The colour alone on this pair of Great Western Shiraz is something to be marveled at – bright, achingly purple wines.
What’s even more exciting is that both weigh in at just 13.5% alcohol, again reminding that full-flavoured Shiraz doesn’t need to be 14% abv.
Perhaps the only challenge here will be supply, as the Thomson Family in particular is very limited. The 15 rows of ancient (planted in 1868) Shiraz vines that go into this wine are slowly dying off (natural attrition), and rather than dilute the old vine personality of the Thomson Family Shiraz, Best’s just reduce the production. A similar decision has been made with Tahbilk’s 1860 Vines Shiraz, which means there will come a time when both wines will be no more…
A caveat here – I’m a big fan of both Great Western Shiraz and Best’s.
Best’s Great Western Bin 0 Shiraz 2014
Historically one of the great bargains in Australian Shiraz (in my opinion), and even the recent price changes haven’t dented this wines appeal. Sourced from four blocks around the winery itself (in the Concongella vineyard), established in 1867, 1966, 1970, and 1992. The first thing you notice is that lovely purple colour – an amazing, bright purple colour. The nose is still wound up tight, the purple fruit sitting squat and so tight, with just a sliver of plum essence, black pepper and a little vanilla bean oak escaping. It’s just 13.5% and looks composed and so balanced – you can just drink it, helped long by fresh acidity. Everything in its right place, the moderation instantly making this more appealing than the ’13, the top shelf length suggesting long-term glory (I have fond memories of an 87 drunk about 4 years back that looked superb). Such a step up over the standard Bin 1, if still very tight. Excellent, full bodied but not overblown Shiraz. More! Best drinking: 2018-2032+. 18.5/20, 94/100+. 13.5%, $85. Would I buy it? Yes, yes I would.
Best’s Great Western Thomson Family Shiraz 2014
Exclusively sourced from the original 1867 Thomson Family Block (have a read about the block here), this is open fermented, basket pressed and spends 24 months in oak. Under screwcap, this may well live forever – the inaugural 1992 was still looking good back in 2012 and I have no doubt this 2014 will be in rude health come 2036. Interesting to see that the colour is deeper than the Bin 0 – it’s a deeper purple. This is more intense, more fragrant and even more impressive than the very good Bin 0, a step up from Business to First Class. There’s more oak, less overt purple fruit sweetness, and a more chunky feel – it’s thicker all round. That helps integrate the acidity too, giving the whole wine a different character, much more seriousness. The key takeaway is just how balanced it is – immediately swish and powerful and modern, but with a core of rich fruit and wow length. This tastes like special wine, regardless of the pricetag. Heck, you could even drink it now! Best drinking: 2016-2036+. 18.7/20, 95/100. 13.5%, $?. Would I buy it? Please somebody buy me some.
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