The signals came early.
Back in January ’14, the articles lauding the 2014 Hunter vintage started popping up. By the time all grapes were picked, in late March, the murmurings had turned into a tide of positivity. ‘Best ever’ and ‘very exciting’ were the words bandied around, trumped only by this humdinger of a tweet from now Mount Pleasant Chief Winemaker Jim Chatto:
— Chatto (@jimchatto) February 21, 2014
You can add this new Thomas Wines Kiss Shiraz 2014 to the ‘nailed it’ list.
Actually, Andrew ‘Thommo’ Thomas has had a massive 12 months, having just finished his 30th consecutive vintage (with ex-Pepper Tree winemaker Scott Comyns as ‘super assistant’ this year) and welcomed both a new baby and a new cellar door.
Lots happening. That hasn’t harmed the quality of this new Kiss, however. Indeed Thommo thinks that his ’14s are ‘probably the best range of Shiraz that I’ve made in all of my time up here’…
The format for this Kiss Shiraz is keeping in line with previous releases. Again, it’s sourced from the Pokolbin Estate Vineyard, planted in 1969, with the only major change a price rise from $60-$75 – the first increase in five years.
Compared to the other five ’14 Thomas Wines Shiraz range (all to be released May 7th), this is quite a masculine wine. Bold, juicy, and ripe, it’s still more medium weight than full, more Hunter than Barossa – but bigger than some years. I don’t see that as a negative, as this has real presence. Luscious, purple grapey fruit, vanilla cream oak, the style silky and juicy, the tannins a welcome lift to stop this being too sweet fruited, complete with background notes of licorice.
It’s not hard to taste, see and smell the appeal here – it is beautifully smooth and generous, medium bodied Shiraz made with a masterful touch. That back palate grunt is attractive too. Indeed, the only negative is that it is so juicy, so buoyant, and just a little oak drawn that I couldn’t drink much of this now. Sometimes I thought this was too plump, but that grunt, that depth, marked this as very smart wine.
If you like modern, purple-fruited, polished Hunter Shiraz then the pleasure here is very obvious. I’m a big fan. Best drinking: 2020-2035+. 18.5/20, 94/100+. 14.2%, $75. Would I buy it? In the scheme of things, the price is more than fair (especially when you look at the price of say, Graveyard). I’d prefer to drink in five years, but I’d like to own a bottle of this.