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 sites that do have the X-factor, and the Secret Block in the Barossa Valley is one. The site, in the Moppa Hills sub-region, typically makes a wine with seductive aromas, great elegance and exceptional fruit and tannin structure. The small production 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 the 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.
The elevation and site make this a late-ripening vineyard, the black fruits of the bouquet and palate have a range of licorice, bitter chocolate and earth nuances on the bouquet and mid-palate, the back-palate and finish with minerally acidity woven through the tannins.
94 Points, James Halliday, Wine Companion
Opaque purple. Explosive black and blue fruit aromas are complicated by candied licorice, mocha, Indian spices and a hint of floral oil. Deeply concentrated and expansive on the palate, offering sweet blackcurrant and blueberry liqueur flavors that gain energy and spiciness with air. This palate-staining wine shows surprising vivacity and focus on the long, smoke-tinged finish, which is framed by smooth, sweet tannins that are quickly absorbed by the dense fruit.
Broad and immensely expressive, this is aromatic with blueberry pie, savory grilled sausage and spice notes, coming together into a big yet polished and refined mouthful. The tannins are submerged under the explosive flavors, finishing with abundant meaty, spicy aromas.
95 points, Harvey Steiman, Wine Spectator (December 2014)
Smells exactly like Ovaltine, or maybe Milo, should you wish to be more patriotic. Also, blackberry, freshly rubbed mint leaves, baking spices and tar. Full bodied, with a wall of fruit and tannin and (some) oak, flooding every part of the mouth. Rich blackberry pastille, blackcurrant, malt and salt beef. Some warmth comes through, but pretty well contained, given the scale of this wine. Really steps up on the finish – super length here. For those who seek the full polish and majestic weight of Barossa Shiraz, this delivers. And they may rate it even higher.
94 points, Gary Walsh (November 2014)
Colonel William Light, the South Australian colony’s Surveyor-General, named the Barossa in 1837 after the site of an English victory over the French in the Spanish Peninsular War. In the mid-1800’s Silesian and English immigrants settled in the area. The Barossa itself comprises two distinct sub-regions: Eden Valley and the warmer Barossa Valley floor at 270m.The Barossa Valley enjoys a warm Mediterranean climate characterised by hot dry summers and relatively low rainfall. Cool sea breezes from the Gulf of St Vincent modify the temperature, however hot northerly winds can occasionally dominate creating considerable vine stress. Many older established vineyards are dry-grown, but supplementary irrigation is also extensively used. The valley is comprised of rich brown soils and alluvial sands. A long history of uninterrupted viticulture in the area means the Barossa valley is home to Australia’s largest concentration of old-vine Shiraz, Grenache and Mourvedre with many over 100 years old. Although most famous for Shiraz, the Barossa can also produce fragrant and deliciously fruity Grenache blends and beautifully rich, chocolatey Cabernet Sauvignons.