Barely a Foothold

Probably the biggest crime of infanticide I have committed this year. I am stunned by how closed in and tight this wine is while still showing full ripe fruit and glimpses of decadence. Dense red with a thin purple rim, the nose is all briary structure and intense clamshell berry, writhing with mineral and acid, shy and un-relinquishing in friendliness and spirit. Nowhere is effusive Australian 14-5 shiraz chubbiness or fruit-forwardness. It is all tense poise and bits of things in tiny pieces, a jigsaw of Cornas or old-school Petite Sirah chunks many years from showing their perfect shapes.

Decanted heavily, the black spirit climbs hesitantly into your nose, mint, sagebrush and chaparral in hand, an edgy brightness to the taut fruit not only reinforcing the ridiculous young age, but promising much to come. In the mouth, it never explodes, it never gushes, it never spreads its legs or flutters its eyes. It doesn’t care what you want in a Syrah–it will only give you exactly what it wants and all in tiny increments. Dense and chalky, the fruit is SOLIDLY there, it is just wound around and through crazy acid and structure–a teeth-wiping search from start-to-finish. Stupendously tannic, but the tart blackberry manages little glimpses throughout.

This is blowing my mind from the fairly easy-to-assimilate Aussie reds we generally get in the US. At 4, it is tasting like a barrel-sample, not even CLOSE to something most people would want on their table. I’m embarrassed to have drankin this thing at this age. If you have this available in your market, I urge you to buy a case. DO NOT DRINK IT. It’s not a nice wine. It will punch you in the face and kick you when you’re down. The 99 will see this as absolute battery acid, unpleasant and awkward, and I see greatness beyond words. But it will take 10 years. MINIMUM. With the exception of The Stump Jump, this is one of their least-expensive wines, another quandary in the equation. Rarely do you see wines at this PP as tightly wound and structured. I wish more wines were built like this.

2016 D’ARENBERG ‘The Footbolt’ Shiraz McLaren Vale Australia 14.5

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