Paradise IV: Lost but never forgotten
Friday, May 21, 2021 in News
Paradise IV is both a beautiful story and a tragic one, the latter in wine terms at least. It started in 2006 when winemaker Doug Neal happened on a small, established, idyllic vineyard at Batesford near Geelong and realised, instantly, that there was an incredible vineyard resource there just waiting to be tapped.
Browse, bid and shop for Paradise IV.
Not just any vineyard, he later found out, but one of incredible historic significance (it was home, in an early incarnation, to some of Australia’s first commercial vines). Neal took on the vineyard, halved the cropping rate, and treated the resultant grapes with the love and care they rightfully deserved. He did such a fine job that critic Jeremy Oliver wrote, just before the Paradise IV story was about to be lost, that ‘it has always been my view that the Dardel (Shiraz) could easily command $200 or more.’
‘...Doug Neal did not own this vineyard; he simply recognised its potential, and unleashed it.’
We say ‘lost’ because Doug Neal did not own this vineyard; he simply recognised its potential, and unleashed it. At the end of the 2018 harvest the vineyard’s owners decided to call time on the vineyard, and - tragically - to have it ripped out. There will be no more new-release wines under this label. But we still have these ever-rarer, mature examples to devour right now.
We recently held the below tasting in the office. It’s an understatement to say that it was a bit of a treat.
Paradise IV Chardonnay 2011
Golden yellow. Butterscotch and peach, lemon and cream. It’s a smooth, soft, mellow chardonnay with lots of flavour and flair. This is remarkably fresh for its age, and is well sustained through the finish too. Complexity goes without saying.
Paradise IV Chaumont 2009
A cabernet blend with lifted aromas aplenty, a soft, sound palate, and a finish that is full of both spice and run. It tastes of truffle, leather, dried herbs and toast. It has a mouthwatering quality in the most positive of ways. It has complexity on its side, along with drinkability, that killer combination.
Paradise IV The Dardel 2010
It tastes like a cool climate shiraz, or a mature version of one, in that tomato leaf and truffle notes stand out as highlights. It’s fully mature, with a subtle smokey meatiness pushing forward with air. But the structure of this and the breadth of both flavours and aromas on offer are really quite something. Drinkability factor here is very high.
Paradise IV The Dardel 2011
It’s a leafy, watery shiraz on the one hand but on the other it has more than its fair share of muscle. It’s a fascinating insight into the unusual 2011 ripening season. It’s decidedly meaty and smoky, and therefore savoury. It’s not the most silken of the wines here but, if you’re inclined towards cool climate savouriness, it’s quite possibly the most interesting of them.
Paradise IV The Bates’ Ford Shiraz 2011
Fully mature but with plenty of punch to the flavour. It’s spicy, leafy and leathery with whispers of cedarwood oak and a raft of velvety tannin through the finish. Prickly acidity helps the wine feel energetic and lively.