‘Terracotta’ Shiraz

‘Terracotta’ Shiraz like the Semillon is made from fruit grown on the red basalt/clay soils of Pokolbin. A small amount of the white grape variety Viognier is co-fermented with the Shiraz before being matured in French oak. The name was changed to Syrah for the 2011 vintage to better describe the style of Terracotta. The addition of a small amount of Viognier gives it a european edge.

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2016

Region: Hunter Valley

Alcohol: 13.5%

Background: ‘Terracotta’ wines get their name from the soils on which the fruit is grown. These red clay soils are renowned for their low fertility thus reducing the yield of the vine and increasing fruit concentration. Named Shiraz from 2000 to 2010, the name has been changed
to Syrah to better describe the style of the ‘Terracotta’ red
which has always included the white variety Viognier.

Fruit source: The ’Lochleven Estate’ old-vine shiraz vineyard on Deasys Road in Pokolbin.

Fermentation: 2% Viognier fruit was added to the Shiraz and allowed to co-ferment in 2 tonne open vats. 40% whole bunches were also included.

Maturation: When fermentation had ceased, the wine was then pressed out and transferred into 33% new French oak Puncheons and matured for 17 months.

Winemaker’s comments: Excess rainfall in 2015 prevented a release of ‘Hell Hole’ , ‘Terracotta’ and ‘Alexander Munro’ Shiraz, so 2016 was a welcome relief. Whilst not completely trouble free, the Valley’s older vineyards, with their deep roots produced high quality
grapes if well managed. 2016 will be termed a ‘classic’ vintage.

Tasting note: The vivid glossy crimson colour is an indicator to the lovely ripe plum and blueberry fruit aromas present. On the palate, medium-bodied dark fruit flavours dominate, with some supporting spicy oak nuances. A lovely mouthfeel is kept fresh with fine balanced acidity.

Cellaring estimate: Medium term.

Suggested food match: Most red meat based cuisine.

2014

2014 Terracotta Syrah - FSRegion: Hunter Valley

Alcohol: 14.0%

Background: ‘Terracotta’ wines get their name from the soils on which the fruit is grown. These red clay soils are renowned for their low fertility thus reducing the yield of the vine and increasing fruit concentration.

Named Shiraz from 2000 to 2010, the name has been changed to Syrah to better describe the style of the ‘Terracotta’ red which has always included the white variety Viognier.

Fruit source: The Worthington’s ’Leonard Estate’ old-vine shiraz vineyard on Palmers Lane in Pokolbin.

Fermentation: 2% Viognier fruit was added to the Shiraz and allowed to co-ferment in 2 tonne open vats. 40% whole bunches were also included. Maturation: When fermentation had ceased, the wine was then pressed out and transferred into 40% new French oak Puncheons and matured for 16 months.

Winemaker’s comments: 2014 is being acclaimed as the best Hunter Valley (red) vintage in 50 years with references back to the legendary 1965 wines. It is certainly the best we have seen across all levels since 1991.

Tasting note: The highly lifted nose is a give away of the stems and small Viognier addition, the later also adds a glossiness to the crimson colour. Dark berry fruit, hints of aniseed and dark chocolate are evident on the nose. The medium-bodied palate has integrated oak and tannins that are supple, giving the wine a silky long finish.

Cellaring estimate: Medium term.

Suggested food match: Most red meat based cuisine.

What the Experts Say

‘Here is a class act from the Leonard Estate vineyard, in Pokolbin. It is vivid purple, has 14 per cent alcohol and brings scents of berry pastille and cinnamon to the nose. Profound ripe plum flavour rolls onto the front palate and cherry, coffee cream chocolate , spearmint and spice fruit characters integrate with savoury oak on the middle palate. The finish brings forth smooth, earthy tannins. ★★★★★.

John Lewis – Newcastle Herald – 21st October 2015

2011

TSyrah-2011Wine Notes

Region: Hunter Valley

Alcohol: 14.0%

Background: ‘Terracotta’ wines get their name from the soils on which the fruit is grown. These red clay soils are renowned for their low fertility thus reducing the yield of the vine and increasing fruit concentration.

Named Shiraz from 2000 to 2010, the name has been changed to Syrah to better describe the style of the ‘Terracotta’ red which has always included the white variety Viognier.

Fruit source: The Worthington’s ’Leonard Estate’ old-vine shiraz vineyard on Palmers Lane in Pokolbin.

Fermentation: 1.5% Viognier fruit was added to the Shiraz and allowed to co-ferment in 2 tonne open vats. 60% whole bunches were also included.

Maturation: When fermentation had ceased, the wine was then pressed out and transferred into 100% new French oak Puncheons and matured for 22 months

Winemaker’s comments: 2011 was an exceptional Hunter Valley vintage, particularly for Shiraz. The months of January through March were very dry and warm, perfect conditions for Shiraz.

Tasting note: The highly perfumed nose is lifted by the small Viognier addition, which also adds a glossiness to the deep red colour. Dark spectrum berry fruit, hints of spice and dark chocolate are prominent on the nose. The palate has a medium-bodied depth of flavour with tannins that are smooth and supple giving the wine a silky long finish.

Cellaring estimate: Medium term.

Suggested food match: Most red meat based cuisine.

What the experts say:

“Open-fermented with a little viognier; 22 months maturation in French hogsheads (30% new); name change from Shiraz to Syrah. What Hell Hole has in power, this has in finesse; red fruit notes are balanced with positively silky tannins.”

Rated : 95 Points

James Halliday – 2015 Wine Companion

 “A single-vineyard wine from Leonard Estate, with deep, smoky, toasted-fruit Hunter regional shiraz bouquet. It’s smooth and supple with intense mellow flavour, lashings of tannin and a fleshy texture. Delicious flavour; very long carry. A serious, cellarworthy shiraz.”

95/100.

Huon Hooke – SMH Good Living 25th March 2013

 “Deep garnet-purple in color and full of cassis, wild blueberries and crushed plum aromas with chocolate box and violet hints, the generously fruited, medium to full-bodied 2011 Terracotta Shiraz gives tons of ripe, black fruit flavors supported by medium levels of finely grained tannin set aside just enough acidity. It finishes long with some floral and spice nuances coming through. Drink it now to 2021+.”

Rated : 92+

Lisa Perrotti-Brown – The Wine Advocate #213 – Jun 2014

2010

2010-Terracotta-Shiraz-FSRegion: Hunter Valley

Alcohol: 14.0%

Background: Terracotta wines get their name from the soils on which the fruit is grown. These red clay soils are renowned for their low fertility thus reducing the yield of the vine and increasing fruit concentration.


Fruit source
: The Howard family’s ‘Somerset’ old-vine shiraz vineyard in the heart of Pokolbin.

Fermentation: 3% Viognier fruit was added to the Shiraz and allowed to co-ferment in 2 tonne open vats. 30% whole bunches were also included.

Maturation: When fermentation had ceased, the wine was then pressed out and transferred into a combination of 70% 1 year-old and 30% new French oak Hogsheads and matured for 20 months.

Winemaker’s comments: In 2010 the vineyards we used fared much better with the seasonal rains than in 2009, it was simply a matter of timing when each block was at peak ripeness for the particular wine style.

Tasting note: A vibrant crimson in colour; the nose is lifted by the small Viognier addition and compliments the dark berry fruit, there are also hints of spice and dark chocolate. The palate is a combination of blueberry and cherry and a solid medium-bodied depth of flavour. Tannins are smooth and supple giving the wine a silky long finish.

Cellaring estimate: Medium term.

Suggested food match: Most red meat based cuisine.

2009

2009-terracotta-shiraz Region: Hunter Valley

Alcohol: 14.0%

Background: Terracotta wines get their name from the soils on which the fruit is grown. These red clay soils are renowned for their low fertility thus reducing the yield of the vine and increasing fruit concentration.

Fruit source: The Howard family’s ‘Somerset’ old-vine shiraz vineyard in the heart of Pokolbin.

Fermentation: 3% Viognier fruit was added to the Shiraz and allowed to co-ferment in 2 tonne open vats. 25% whole bunches were also included.

Maturation: When fermentation had ceased, the wine was then pressed out and transferred into a combination of 70% 1 year-old and 30% new French oak Hogsheads and matured for 20 months.

Winemaker’s comments: 2009 was a much better vintage for the Hunter than the disastrous 2008 for Shiraz. The earlier ripening vineyards that avoided the heavy deluge on St. Valentines Day (120mm in 24 hours) have produced many very impressive wines.

Tasting note: A glossy crimson colour in the glass; the nose is subtly lifted by the Viognier and compliments the berry fruits. There are also hints of mixed spice and licorice. The palate is a mix of blueberry and black cherry flavours and proudly medium-bodied. Tannins are ripe and supple giving the wine a silky long finish.

Cellaring estimate: Medium term.

Suggested food match: Rack of Lamb.

2003

TS-2003[1]Wine Notes

Background: Terracotta gets its name from the soils on which the fruit is grown. These red clay soils are renowned for their lo fertility thus reducing the yield of the wine and increasing fruit concentration.

Fruit Source: This wine is made from a single vineyard in the heart of Pokolbin. This 12 year old vineyard is un-irrigated and located behind the ‘Graveyard’ vineyard on the ‘terracotta’ coloured clay soils of the area.

Fermentation & Maturation: 8% Viognier fruit was added to the Shiraz and allowed to co-ferment in 2 tonne open vats. When fermentation had ceased, the wine was then pressed out and transferred into a combination of 40% new French oak and 60% used French oak. The wine was matured for 20 months then bottled with minimum filtration after a light egg fining.

Winemakers Comments: 750 kg per acre was the yield from the ‘terracotta’ shiraz vineyard in 2003. The drought conditions and warm ripening period ensured low yields and maximum fruit concentration.

The nose is lifted with no obvious Viognier apricot. The palate is full bodied, clean and lively, with plentiful fine tannins giving it good structure and the ability to improve over many years.

Cellaring: Medium – Long term 12+

What the experts say:

“Eight percent viognier’s been taken up beautifully – smells and tastes of intense plum and raspberry with splashes of Asian spice. Chewy tannins are assertive but this is very pure, very clean, very intense.”. Drink: 2008-2017.

94 points.

Campbell Mattinson – Winefront Monthly – Sept/Oct 2004.

“floral viognier life, sweet fruit, textured, powerful”.
Huon Hooke – Good Weekend – SMH – 2/1/2006

“A classic old-fashioned Hunter Valley “burgundy”. The colour has a distinct tawny rim; the bouquet has earth, tar and roast-meat complexities. The palate is rich and savoury with fully ripe, fruit flavours backed by drying tannins. Stylish stuff. Now to 12-plus years.”
 95/100.

Huon Hooke – SMH Good Living – 10th February 2009

“Semi-mature reds of this quality are rare. Nicely developed with tertiary complexities, this is loaded with earthy, leathery, roast-meat, savoury Hunter character. There are a lot of tannins, balanced by a core of sweet, ripe fruit.”

 95 Points.

Wine Magazine – Top 100 New Releases – June / July 2009

2006 Penguin Wine Guide

2002

TS-2002[1]Wine Notes

Background: Terracotta gets its name from the soils on which the fruit is grown. These red clay soils are renowned for their lo fertility thus reducing the yield of the wine and increasing fruit concentration.

Fruit Source: This wine is made from a single vineyard in the heart of Pokolbin. This 12 year old vineyard is not irrigated and located behind the ‘Graveyard’ vineyard on the ‘terracotta’ coloured clay soils of the area.

Fermentation & Maturation: 8% Viognier fruit was added to the Shiraz and allowed to co-ferment in traditional open vats and then pressed into a combination of 40$ new and 60% 1 year old French oak and matured for 20 months. The wine was then bottled with minimum filtration.

Winemakers Comments: The cool conditions of 2002 allowed the fruit to ripen slowly and produce intensely flavoured wines. The wine has rich berry and licorice characters supported by cinnamon oak. The palate has good line and length with ripe soft tannin.

The nose is lifted with no obvious Viognier apricot. The palate is full bodied, clean and lively, with plentiful fine tannins giving it good structure and the ability to improve over many years.

Cellaring: Medium – Long term 15+

What the experts say:

“Yes I know this is expensive but I think it’s simply the best Hunter red I’ve had in years – maybe ever. This is not one of your tough old leathery Hunter Shirazes, as mighty as some of those have been. This has lovelyrich fruit, beautiful balance and structure and a little splash of Viognier, which makes it not only trendy but also just a tiny bit more delicious. If this is the future of Hunter Shiraz then I want a part of it.”

Stuart Gregor – Don’t Buy Wine Without Me 2005

“Lifted aromas and flavours so typical of Shiraz with a touch of Viognier (8%); stylish and long palate; well balanced, fine tannins.”
Rating 94. Drink 2017.

James Halliday – 2006 Wine Companion

2001

TS-2001[1]Wine Notes

Background: Terracotta gets its name from the soils on which the fruit is grown. These red clay soils are renowned for their lo fertility thus reducing the yield of the wine and increasing fruit concentration.

Fruit Source: This wine is made from a single vineyard in the heart of Pokolbin. This 10 year old vineyard is un-irrigated and located behind the ‘Graveyard’ vineyard on the ‘terracotta’ coloured clay soils of the area.

Fermentation & Maturation: 7% Viognier fruit was added to the Shiraz and allowed to co-ferment in 2 tonne open vats. When fermentation had ceased, the wine was transferred into a combination of 40% new French oak and 60% used French oak. The wine was matured for 20 months then bottled with minimum filtration after a light egg fining.

Winemakers Comments: 1 tonne per acre was the yield from the ‘terracotta’ shiraz vineyard in 2001. 2001 was a wet Hunter vintage which delivered 350mm of rain within a few weeks.

A complex nose of cherries and blackberries with regional wet earth that is slightly lifted by the Viognier. The palate is medium to full bodied with black fruit lushness and plentiful fine tannins giving it good structure and the ability to improve over many years.

Cellaring: Medium term 8+

What the experts say:

“The full-bodied, tannic 2001 Shiraz Terr

88 Points – Robert Parker – The Wine Advocate – 2003

complex array of leather, briar, earth, licorice and – ultimately – blackfruit aromas. Very powerful tannins tremble on the brink but don’t go over the top, and do contribute to the savoury/spicy/leathery/ regional flavours. A Hunter Valley answer to McLaren Vale”.

Rating 92.

James Halliday – 2005 Australia Wine Companion

2000

TS-2000[1]Wine Notes

Background: Terracotta gets its name from the soils on which the fruit is grown. These red clay soils are renowned for their lo fertility thus reducing the yield of the wine and increasing fruit concentration.

Fruit Source: This Shiraz is from a single vineyard on the Cypress Lakes Resort in the heart of Pokolbin. This 8 year old vineyard is un-irrigated and located behind the ‘Graveyard’ vineyard on the ‘terracotta’ coloured clay soils of the area.

Fermentation & Maturation: The handpicked and sorted Shiraz fruit was fermented in traditional open vats with the addition of 4% Viognier to co-ferment. Once fermentation had stopped, the wine was then pressed into a combination of 40% 1 year old and 60% new French oak and matured for 20 months. The wine was then bottled with minimum filtration.

Winemakers Comments: The atypical cool conditions of 2000 allowed fruit to ripen slowly which produced perfect phenological ripeness but also elevated baume. The result overall was intensely flavoured fruit which is clearly visible in the wine. The wine has deep blackberry,mulberry,stonefruit and licorice characters on the nose. The palate has a certain presence and incredible length with underlying soft silky tannin.

Cellaring: Medium – Long term.

What the experts say:

“On the palate the wine is gutsy, firm and tightly structured, but with substantial upfront fruit; there is enormous concentration here. It will develop into an absolutely beautiful wine”.

92+/100

Dr Ron Georgiou MW The Wine Oracle March-April 2002

“I found this very distinctive wine full of reminders of Frances Rhone Valley, which isn’t so surprising given that winemaker Rhys Eather is a self-confessed ‘Rhone nut’.”
 

John Lewis – Newcastle Herald 13th March 2002

“This red has been made from decidely ripe fruit and has been pushed to the limit to obtain structure and complexity …. the wine breathed up beautifully”.
Highly recommended – Winewise April 2002
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