Eldorado Road Perseverance Old Vine Shiraz 2016
‘Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.’
John Quincy Adams
To be honest, John Quincy Adams isn’t the first person who I’d reach for in search of inspiration. But I like that quote. I suspect Paul ‘Bear’ Dahlenburg might like it too, given the story behind this Eldorado Road Perseverance Old Vine Shiraz 2016.
As ever, it starts with a vineyard. A rundown, forgotten vineyard near Glenrowan in northern Victoria that Paul first heard about in his day job as head of Baileys Glenrowan. Dating all the way back to the 1890s, this block has been progressively neglected for years, only to be resurrected by Paul despite the words of consultants (and even the current vineyard owners) who warned it was a lost cause. A work of persistence and perseverance, now delivering glory.
There’s more colour and life to the vineyard’s backstory, illustrated beautifully (as usual) by Campbell right here. And it’s such a pleasure to see that hard work born out in liquid form.
A homage to the reds likely made in the 1800s, it’s Shiraz but with a dash of Ugni Blanc/Trebbiano, which is co-planted throughout the vineyard. A field blend then, without trying to be cool. It spends 24 days on skins, and matured for 18 months on full lees in older oak. It’s easy to get swept up in the romance of a vineyard resurrected story like this, but that’s doing an injustice to what is a superb, charismatic Shiraz. It has that bombastic black plum/black olive middle you see in Rutherglen (or indeed Glenrowan) and Heathcote reds, but it’s mid-weight. Fruit saturation levels are right up there, but the finish isn’t warm. Instead, it’s velvet glove power, a veneer of oak adding sweetness and softness, the ripples of licorice and something vaguely meaty in there too, the acidity and tannins not noticeable but still there.
I admire wines like this so much. I dip my lid at the ability to be both hedonistic and yet contained, and I enjoy the extra detail and sense of balance that comes with it. Yes. Yes to power and form. Yes to a wine that flows like a crisp on drive. Yes to perseverance and resurrection. Best drinking: Now to twenty years. 18.7/20, 95/100. 13.3%, $65. Would I buy it? Yes.