The drought vintage of 2019 followed 'the 'normal' 2018 vintage. In the case of Standish, it meant that low yields of 500kg/acre dropped to 250kg/acre. For those who prefer hectare, this is less than 1t/ha! It is then very tempting to press hard, to get as much juice out of the berries as possible. In a drought year, the berries are small, and the skin to pulp ratio is high. The tannins are pronounced. Hard pressing accentuates this outcome. This is what I found in some of the 2019 wines described during this trip. Dan Standish did the opposite. He pressed gently - a tough thing to do, as it further reduces output, but the results are astonishing.
You may remember this picture from last year. This year, I am the first to review the four 2019 wines.
The 2019 Relic (2nd from left) from a 100 year old rocky vineyard was the first cab of the rank. This is a beautiful wine. The blackberry fruit is elegant and the overall impression is of layered fruit on a mocca base. The tannins are strong, but the small Viognier component (1-2%), lifts the wine and delivers a velvety finish. This is a masculine wine which will mature beautifully (98 points).
The 2019 Standish from an ironstone vineyard in Greenock has a very attractive profile of blue fruits, blueberry and plum. The tannins are deep and long. The wine is quite linear despite the big mouthfeel. It moves along the palate with elegance and poise. It finishes long. Power and elegance: perfect (98 points).
The 2019 Schubert Theorem is perhaps the most complex wine. This Marananga vineyard is divided into six parcels, as the conditions, in particular aspect and elevation vary so much. As a consequence, this is a very layered wine, with fruits moving from black to blue to red - very interesting. It attacks the palate on a broad front. This is no doubt the biggest of the wines (97 points).
Then we have the 2019 Lamella from Eden Valley. This wine is lifted, with a very pretty fruit feel. The fruit is concentrated, maybe a little singular in comparison with the other three wines. There is some eucalypt on the palate, common in this area. The vineyard is located between the Mt. Edelstone and Hill of Grace vineyards, more or less as the crow flies. The tannins lead to a dry and long finish (97 points).
Overall, these wines share the profile of the previous year, each wine in its own way. The different terroirs deliver these distinctive features. Sophisticated wine making has meant that elegance, power, and persistence of these wines has been maintained, while the harsher tannins, often found in 2019, have been avoided.
These are most likely the wines of the vintage. They filled the big shoes of 2018. I cannot recommend them highly enough.
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