On Saturday, the (newly expanded) Team Graham made it to Brokenwood’s annual Graveyard lunch. There was 3 outfit changes (after multiple poonamis), and we were the only ones there with a pram, but great to make it (and feel welcome).
The brand-new Brokenwood Graveyard Shiraz 2017 is every bit the trophy-winning red too.
Here’s a wine that, despite significant recent price rises, has lost none of its lustre, with cellar door and direct-to-customer now the first preference for most Graveyard sales.
For mine, the secret to the sales success of Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz – and many top single vineyard wines – is about an emotional connection. Where you see a revered block, hear the enthusiasm from a winemaker, and it’s all born out in the glass. A wine with a clear identity, showing the stamp of terroir and winery, that has consistently deliver over many years.
Indeed, Saturday’s event was only open to members of Brokenwood’s top tier wine clubs, and the (not inexpensive) event was comfortably sold out. Geoff Krieger (Brokenwood GM) put out a show of hands for who had been to more than 15 Graveyard lunches. Plenty of arms went up.
You can just imagine how many of them will be buying this ’17 Graveyard.
Brokenwood Graveyard Shiraz 2017
Thirty vintages down and looking fine. The 45 year old Graveyard Vineyard is just another block up near to the winery – you can drive past and never know – but it’s a tough site with heavy clay soils. Only the top part makes it into Graveyard, and even then, it’s a wine only released in certain vintages. This is the first Graveyard Shiraz since 2014, although there is a 2018 and 2019 in the works, and it’s a ripe, warm year wine, but with surprising acidity. Actually, you just don’t expect it to be so moderate given the intensity. What tips this from ‘fine, good quality red’ into icon territory, however, is the hint of black wildness. A whiff of black olive. A licoricey edge to the blackberry and currant fruit. Something different. Some whole bunches in the mix? Whatever, this has x-factor.
To be completely honest, I wasn’t bowled over when my glass of Graveyard when it was first poured and wandered off to try some other Brokenwood reds (FWIW the ’18 Indigo Pinot was a bit diffuse and the ’15 Tallawanta Shiraz has real complexity despite the tough year). I then came back to the Graveyard, and every sip lobbed up something new. The best years are well off, but the depth, the latent complexity, the hard-to-define sensation of special wine brings you back. Best drinking: Brokenwood’s Iain Riggs has said before that this hits its strides after 10 years. No change with the 2017. 18.7/20, 95/100. Would I buy it? I can’t afford it. But give me one, ok?
Brokenwood Howard Vineyard Semillon 2013
I have a soft spot for warm year, classically styled Hunter Semillon like this. The early approachability, the lemon and hay. It’s not going to make for forever wine, but I like drinking it. And on Saturday, this was the wine I wanted to take home with me. Currently straddling the fence between primary green apple and citrus fruit with the first whispers of toast, it’s a generous wine – especially when tasted alongside the tight, wet year stamped 2012 Trevena Vineyard Semillon – but that palate width and less cutting acidity just makes it even more enjoyable. Best drinking: I like this style over the next five years, ten at a stretch. 18.5/20, 94/100. 10.5%, $65. Would I buy it? Aged Hunter Semillon like this is cheap in the grand scheme of things. Worth a bottle.
Finally, here’s a pic of us on Saturday morning:
(Disclaimer: We were guests of Brokenwood. The Brokenwood team were so accommodating of us too).