Clarendon Hills Astralis Syrah (Signed), McLaren Vale
The lyrical and beautiful Clarendon Hills Astralis Syrah is a highly complex and well concentrated wine with dark liquorice, blackberry, mocha aromas and touches of chamomile, earthy, bitumen, herb garden notes. It is a changing kaleidoscope of aromas and flavours with dry, slinky tannins, plenty of fruit richness and underlying savoury oak. With age the wine develops paneforte, dark chocolate, cedar, spicy aromas and superb chocolaty textures. The wine is generally more muscular than standard McLaren Vale Shirazes with a compelling buoyancy, energy and flavour length. Vinification takes place in variable capacity, open stainless steel fermenters and is then matured in new 'Burgundian' pièces for 18 months.
"A great classic, the inky/purple-colored 2005 Syrah Astralis is a 40-50 year effort. Although closed, it displays gorgeous but subtle notes of smoked meats, black currants, graphite, new saddle leather, truffles, and blackberries. Remarkably elegant for a wine of such power and intensity, this complex, rich, full-bodied, backward Syrah has totally absorbed its aging in 100% French oak, and appears set for a long life. If you plan on drinking it over the next 4-5 years, it will need 24 hours of decanting. It should be at its finest between 2012-2035." 98 points, Robert Parker.
At the top of the pyramid is the 2005 Syrah Astralis Vineyard. It is sourced from a vineyard planted in 1920 and is one of the Syrah cuvees in which 100% new oak is utilized (along with Brookman, Hickinbotham, and Piggott Range). It delivers an ethereal bouquet of smoky oak, violets, espresso, black pepper, blueberry, and blackberry liqueur. Densely packed and tightly wound, all it needs is time. The wine is totally harmonious, impeccably balanced, and exceptionally long. When it fully unwinds, even my high rating will appear conservative. Its only competition comes from the likes of Guigal, Chapoutier, Chave, Krankl, and Ringland. 99 points, Jay Miller.