Brokenwood 2014 Graveyard Shiraz
The intensely perfumed, sumptuous and seductive Brokenwood Graveyard articulates the very best of Hunter Shiraz. It is arguably the Hunter Valley's greatest red wine of the contemporary era. The east-facing Graveyard vineyard, first planted out in 1968, was once earmarked in 1882 as the Pokolbin cemetery but this did not eventuate.
First made in 1983, Graveyard Shiraz is a meticulous classification selection of the best parcels, mostly from the oldest plantings. After vinification in open-top stainless steel vats, it finishes fermentation in barrel. Maturation takes place in a combination of French and American oak barriques for a period of around 14 months. Young elemental Graveyard typically shows ginger bread, blackberry aniseed fruit, plenty of savoury oak and floral/herb garden notes. The opulent gamey/French polish characters develop with time bringing a rich palimpsest of aromas and flavours.
The Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz remains the only Hunter Valley Shiraz in the Langton's Classification of Australian Wine, and remains in the "Exceptional" category.
"Excellent crimson-purple; has a fragrant plum and cherry bouquet, then an intense and very long palate moving into a savoury black fruit spectrum; exemplary tannin and French oak management underpins the line and balance of a wine destined to outlive many who taste it."
Halliday Wine Companion 96 points - James Halliday
Understandably some excitement surrounding the release of this wine. Scooping the pool at the 2015 Hunter Valley Wine Show with 5 trophies is a massive achievement. Tasting the wine it is easy to see why. A wine of great poise and is it as good as the 1998 and 1986? Time will tell but it is a very, very good Shiraz.
Chief Winemaker Iain Riggs made the comment during vintage 2014 that he thought in 32 years there were no more surprises left. Except of course starting to pick Semillon on the 8th of January and Shiraz one month later.
Once upon a time, before the private irrigation scheme, some Shiraz was picked in late January but Semillon was always early February. Not so any more. The winter and the spring of 2013 were very dry, in fact 207mm in the last 5 months of the year. Lower crop and low foliage equals early picking except vintage 2014 which was not too dissimilar to 2000, except 2014 had perfectly ripe tannins at much lower sugar levels. An effortless high quality vintage for the winemakers.
Processing started with 3-4 day cold soaking, then a 4-5 day
ferment at 26-28C. The vineyard is on loam soil and gives a more floral character than those in red soils. The oak regime for this wine is 100% French, no new oak.