This year, I have not reported on new releases often, as tastings were mostly cancelled. I receive some tasting packages, but it is not something I have focused on. However today I can report on the new Shiraz releases by Alex Head from the excellent 2018 Barossa vintage.
Friday, October 9, 2020
Head New Releases
The labels are now very stylish and clear
The 2018 Head Red is a Shiraz blend of 15 vineyards. 80% of the fruit now comes from the Eden Valley, and 10% each from the Stonewell and Moppa vineyard. This wine is red and black fruited with good purity. It is a juicy and fruity wine, which delivers a big mouthfeel. There are some earthy characteristics here, but basically this is fruit forward. It is a big, but lively wine, which tastes much more Borossa Valley than Eden Valley, probably courtesy of the vintage.
You are probably familiar with the Northern Rhône equivalent Alex Head tries to achieve with the Blonde and the Brunette. It works really well in 2018. The 2018 Head Blonde comes from a Stonewell vineyard with clay over limestone, a rarity in the Barossa Valley. The fruit profile is similar to the Red wine, but what strikes you immediately is the elegance and smoothness of this wine. This wine goes down the palate like a treat, helped by understated acidity; very balanced with great length. There is sometimes some Viognier in this wine, but not in 2018. Yet this wine still has a lifted and sexy character. This is a Marilyn Monroe type wine.
The 2018 Head Brunette is darker fruited (ha, ha). It comes from the highest vineyard in the Moppa subregion. The soil is typical Northern Barossa: deep red clay and ironstone. This is the most complex wine of the three. 20% whole bunch will have contributed to this. There is spice, chocolate and some gamy notes. It is a sophisticated wine, more in the tradition of Barossa, and executed very well. If we stick with actor comparisons, this is Jennifer Lopez. Personally, I preferred the Blonde, only because it is such a different expression of Barossa Shiraz and because of it sheer drinkability.
I highly recommend these wines. They will easily go for 10 years plus.