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