Saturday, May 4, 2019

Thomas Wines 2017 Shirazes

The range of the Andrew Thomas wines is forever increasing. Not that long ago there were three Shirazes, now there are nine. But it has to be said there is a good logic with this portfolio. There are four levels in the quality pyramid. The entry level includes two blended wines. The next level up has three single vineyard Hunter Valley Shiraz wines. Level three is a similar portfolio of three wines, but they are more expressive, and then there is 'Kiss', the Thomas 'grand cru'. Within each level, the differences relate to different terroir. So here it goes for 2017, which is about to be released.

Synergy is a blended Shiraz from the Hunter Valley. This medium-bodied wine is fruit forward, with quite a bit of spice (89 points). Two of a Kind is a 50/50 blend of Hunter Valley and McLaren Vale. The McLaren Vale component makes this a bigger, fleshier and sweeter wine. The tannins are more pronounced and the finish quite dry (91 points).

DJY depicts an old fashioned Hunter Valley style. This is a perfumed and aromatic style, with pretty red fruit and light tannins; think Hunter Burgundy (90 points). The Cote is a new wine from 45 year old vines, planted on friable dark brown soil on a steep slope. It is relatively lean, and quite racy with a lot of drive. This is a savoury wine with dusty tannins and great length on the finish (93 points). Sweetwater is the popular favorite in this portfolio. It is a bigger wine and typical Shiraz with blackberry and sweet plum flavours on the palate (92 points).

The Dam Block is another new wine. I believe the 30 year old plantings are right next to the Kiss vineyard. The intense blackberry aroma leads to an opulent and elegant mouthfeel with beautiful fruit depth, based on a structure of lively, velvety tannins. This was my wine of the night (94 points). Belford is also dark fruited, but leaner. The wine is quite long, but lacks the mouthfeel of the Dam Block (91 points). Elenay is a blend across all single vineyards. The wine has a high new oak component (50%), which is a bit too obvious at present, but will move to the background with time (hopefully) (92 points).

Kiss, from 50 year old vines, is the biggest wine of the line-up. It is full-bodied with blackberry fruit and spice on the palate. The wine has a big mouthfeel, yet is mainly elegant and smooth, but slightly fat on the back palate on the back of some coarse tannins. It should develop really well with some years in the cellar (94 points).

All these wines are well made by someone with enormous experience in the Hunter Valley. There should be a very attractive wine for everybody in this line-up from a very good Hunter Valley vintage.


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