THE STORY The rare and beautiful Best’s Great Western Thomson Family Shiraz is a great Victorian tradition. Once called the Thomson Centenary Shiraz, this wine was first released in 1993 to commemorate a centenary of the Thomson family settling in the area of Great Western. Representing Australia’s rich heritage of ancient genetic and pre-phylloxera vineyards, it is produced predominantly from 15 rows of Concongella clone shiraz vines planted by Henry Best in 1868.
THE WINEMAKING The 150-year-old shiraz vines are dry-grown, cropped at less than four tonnes per hectare, and delicately hand picked, selected and sorted. Open fermentation in small tubs is followed by maturation in new (around 50%) and seasoned French oak for 18 to 24 months. Only made in the very best vintage years, the original 15 rows yield very small amounts of fruit. Only 300 cases of the flagship wine are released in successful years, with only 11 vintages being produced in the last 20 years.
THE WINE This rich, generous wine shows intense blackberry and roasted chestnut aromas, cedary oak complexity, voluminous richness and muscular, gravelly tannins.
Deep crimson-purple; made predominantly from vines planted in 1868, and is genuinely a wine that is only made in the best vintages. I can't help but think when I taste a wine such as this that my ashes will have been scattered decades before it fulfils all of its potential. It has lashings of blackberry, plum, blackcurrant and touches of licorice and mint; the tannins are quite obvious, but ripe and in balance for a wine so blessed with great fruit. Bottle no. 833 of 4200.
97 points, Wine Companion (March 2012)
Deep purple/red colour, bright. Deep, dense, slightly oaky aromas with black fruits and black olive notes. Great texture! Fleshy and supple, smooth and compact, with svelte tannins and lovely harmony that continues the entire length of the palate. Very concentrated and young, and needs time. Will turn out superbly. One of the best, if not the best, wines released under this label.
97 points, The Real Review (March 2012)
This is a tremendous wine. Just terrific. The tannin feels so mature, so long, so sinewy. The fruit flavours are ripe and blueberried – and intense – but there is no heaviness here. Musky, vanillin oak plays an assertive role but given time, this won’t be an issue. Has an iodine character to it. A small amount of spice. A commanding presence. It finishes – eventually – with searing length.
96 points, The Wine Front (March 2012)
The GrampiansLocated in western Central Victoria, the Grampians was settled during the gold rush of the 1850’s. Indeed the vivid history of the gold rush is inextricably intertwined with the history of viticulture in the region. Seppelt at Great Western, one of the region’s iconic wineries was built at the end of the gold rush when scores of out-of-work prospectors excavated its extensive drives and cellars. The "drives" completed in 1932, stretch for three kilometres and provide perfect conditions for the maturation of sparkling wine, for which the region is well-known. The climate of the Grampians is Mediterranean and essentially cool with vineyards situated at elevations ranging from 240 to 350m. The region experiences long sunshine hours and low rainfall necessitating supplementary irrigation. Soils in the region range from weathered volcanic soils to sandy and red clay loams interspersed with ironstone. The region is suited to a diverse range of varietals including Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon but is best known for its crisp fruity Riesling and distinctive spicy peppery Shiraz.