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2020 was a very small cropping year due to the drier season. Some 600 dozen bottles were produced following rigorous selection. But once more we can be confident that our organic approach gives the vines greater strength and ability to perform in such years. Though dry, temperatures stayed modest through the growing season. The resulting wine has good natural vibrancy and balance. A review of clonal material some years ago results in this wine being: 51.6% Houghton Selection Syrah; 42% clone 470 Syrah; 4.4% Viognier; and 2% Mourvèdre. The Houghton Selection hails from from Houghton’s Frankland River vineyard on the Roche family property. As we understand it, it was a considered selection of modest-cropping vines from the Houghton vineyard in the Swan Valley. Viognier is added into the ferments of our best Syrah parcels at about 5% total must weight. While grown separately it is co-fermented and harvested with the Syrah – so it’s usually pretty ripe. Mourvèdre is fermented separately and used for its tannin profile and additional earthy, ferrous notes. We feel this variety likes these ironstone soils, and it’s come into its own as the vines mature. Clone 174 also grows on Isolation Ridge but has not been included as yet for Isolation Ridge Syrah. The wine is matured in large-format foudre (3,500 litres), which heightens the wine’s brightness and typicity. Small parcels of the fruit are picked and fermented as 100% whole bunches. These make up 6% of this wine. Shallow open-pot ferments are kept relatively cool to provide calculated extraction of tannin with gentle plunging through the fermentation period. We’re looking to compose Syrah that is aromatic, elegant and complex. – Hunter Smith
Very deep, bold red/purple colour, bright and youthful. The bouquet is fruit-sweet and deliciously appealing, sweetly jammy and there’s possibly some whole-bunch character as well, stylishly intertwined. The palate is again seductively fruit-sweet and perfumed, with floral notes as well as red and blue fruits, the tannins supple and well balanced with the other components. It’s already very approachable and supple, a delicious young, evidently cool-climate, Shiraz. Long finish and very elegant. A gorgeous wine. 95 points. Huon Hooke, The Real Review February 2022
Spicy, perfumed, white flower and Turkish apricot, blackberry and liquorice. Medium-bodied, supple and ripe, with fine plum skin tannin and flavour, a little meatiness and gentle chew, Christmas cake and fragrance, fine emery board tannin and sweet black berries on a long finish. Svelte, yet rich. Very good. 94 points. Gary Walsh, The Wine Front April 2022