Two Hands’ Single Vineyard wines take regionality to a high level by focussing on sites that justify individual treatment by consistently producing wines of distinctive style with particular qualities. They are simply named after the block, the road or the township they come from. Here’s Joe Czerwinski, writing for the important U.S. publication Wine Advocate: ‘Two Hands is making a collection of Shirazes that may be unrivalled in the world for expressing the places where they're grown... Tasting through the lineup is a fabulous exercise in seeing how Shiraz reflects its place’.
Hands-on proprietor Michael Twelftree has identified key vineyards, or areas within vineyards, that have the X-factor. Barney’s Block on McMurtrie Road in McLaren Vale is one. This small production wine is handled separately, from crushing and fermentation through to oak maturation, with the decision on every barrel’s ultimate destination left until six months after vintage, when each one is assessed (and may be declassified if it fails to meet this wine’s high standards). With minimum intervention in the winery and discreet use of oak, the aim is to give character of place the best possible chance to assert itself.
Inky purple. A flamboyantly perfumed nose evokes ripe black and blue fruits, vanilla, pipe tobacco, incense and floral pastilles, with a smoky mineral quality adding lift. Palate-staining blueberry liqueur and cherry-vanilla flavors expand with air while maintaining vibrancy and focus. Shows a velvety texture and becomes spicier on the finish, which is framed by smooth, late-arriving tannins. This brawny but surprisingly graceful shiraz should age nicely on its sheer fruit concentration.
Rich, full-bodied and explosively aromatic, with toasty spice and smoke notes swirling through dark berry and prune flavors, lingering well. The firm tannins need cellaring to soften. Best from 2016 through 2022.
91 points, Harvey Steiman, Wine Spectator (December 2014)
Deep dark, glass-staining red colour with a trace of purple; the bouquet very savoury, toasty, plummy and slightly smoky. Charcuterie. It's very rich and fruit-sweet on the tongue, full-bodied and lush, with succulence and deliciousness, the fruit very evident even above its considerable tannins. Impressive and worth cellaring.
93 points, Huon Hooke (November 2014)