Frost Dodger. Such an evocative name. It’s a nod to the source of this wine – Dom Torzi & Tracy Matthew’s frost-prone vineyard at Mt McKenzie in the Eden Valley.
Marginal site, maximal wine.
For an extra layer of interest/concentration Dom uses the traditional appassimento method of fruit drying as well. I’m not sure how much, or for how long, but it clearly gives some X factor.
Of course, fruit drying is just part of the recipe. There’s this slow food-eque vibe to all Dom’s wines that only help give more (welcome) textural give. Think open ferments, gentle extraction (pump overs rather than plunging), basket pressing and plenty of oxygen along the way to soften and enrich.
It’s a recipe that tends to make the Barossan wines I like best.
Indeed, this Torzi Matthews Frost Dodger Shiraz 2021 is black-fruited, luscious, enveloping, yet not overwrought. I don’t see any of the heat or volatility of Amarone, for example, so you can probably discount extended fruit drying. You don’t see the 20% whole bunches either. There is a caramelised dark berry concentration though, all chocolate soaked small berries. But it’s not obvious, and it all retains some Eden Valley mint.
At every point you expect the palate to be boozy, hot, desiccated. But it stays so silken, so encompassing, almost like a Choc Wheaten (rich on the outside, dry in the middle). I don’t know how much new oak either, but the appassimento amplifies it – more richness, more caramel. Such an engrossing, plump profile, punctuated by coffee grounds. yet with nuances, then dry, muscular, yet silken to finish.
What a sensual Shiraz of power and texture for very fair dollars. I dip my lid.
Best drinking: good now, likely good in a decade too. 18.7/20, 95/100. 14.5%, $50, Torzi Matthews website. Would I buy it? Unquestionably.
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