Region: Hunter Valley
Background: Alexander Munro is winemaker Rhys Eather’s great-great-grandfather and these true reserve wines are released only in years that reflect the status of the label. There was no 2000 vintage of this wine released as the vineyard was hit by a freak hailstorm which led to the downgrading of the fruit.
Fruit Source: Situated in the heart of Pokolbin, the “Tallawanta” vineyard is the source for the wine. The vines have an aveage age of 40 years and dry land grown, thus ensuring low yields and high quality. 1998 vintage yielded around three quarters of a tonne per acre.
Winemaking: Hand picked fruit was crushed into open fermenters with no heading down board. Selected yeast at low inoculation rates was used to allow a longer fermentation, at higher temperatures. The wine was racked and returned 3 times daily via a splash tray to increase oxygen pick up. Fermentation temperatures were allowed to peak at 28 degrees Celsius. After 7 days 40% of the wine was transferred to new French Nevers oak and the balance used. The wine was largely egg fined prior to bottling.
Winemaker’s comments: 1998 in the Hunter Valley will be remembered as the best vintage since the legendary 1965 and 1959 vintages. The vintage was very hot and dry with temperatures peaking at 44 degrees Celsius for days on end. THis full bodied Shiraz exhibits spicy, pepper and berry fruit aromas with well-integrated oak. The palate is a wonderful combination of concentrated fruit and subtle oak leading to a very long finish. The wine has fine grain tannins, which provides it with great stucture. This wine has all the hallmarks that are required for long term cellaring.
Cellaring estimate: This wine has all the characteristics that are required for further long term cellaring.
Suggested food match: Red meat dishes and aged cheeses.
Decanting prior to serving is highly recommended.
Gold Medal – 1999 Hobart Wine Show, class 53.
What the experts say:
“Eather’s most impressive wines thus far are Meerea Park’s flagship Aexander Munro shirazes …. “Best of all, watch out for the stunning ’98 Alexander Munro Shiraz.”
Huon Hooke, Good Living 8/2/00
“This is what Hunter Shiraz is all about”.
Jeff Collerson, Daily Telegraph 29/3/00
“It’s expensive, but this Rhys Eather creation from the Tallawanta vineyard is an exceptional wine”.
John Lewis, Newcastle Herald 29/3/00.
“The star current release is unquestionably yhe ’98 Alexander Munro’ Shiraz”.
Outstanding. Phil Trickett Winewise 3/8/00
“my runner-up to the wine of the year was a shiraz from the Hunter, the Meerea Park 1998 Alexander Munro Shiraz”
John Lewis Newcastle Herald 10/1/01
“The highly extracted, deep purple-coloured 1998 Shiraz-Alexander Munro was aged in 100% new French and American oak. It is powerful, moderately tannic, dense wine that remains unevolved and youthful. If it develops more complexity, it will merit and outstanding rating. Large scaled, muscular, and deep, it offers a classic display of meltedtar, blackberries, creme de cassis, and licorice. Drink it over the next 10-12 years.”
89/100 Robert M. Parker Jnr The Wine Advocate, May 2001