The Ripper & Basalt Block: A Study in Hope Estate Shiraz

A study in Shiraz; from the same vintage and producer, one ripe and jammy, the other savory and mineral driven. Both are excellent, approachable and tremendous values within Australian Shiraz.

Estate: Hope Estate was founded by Michael Hope in 1994, with a goal of being able to focus all his time and passion into winemaking. Beginning with 30 acres of vines in Broke in the Hunter Valley, over the years he has been able to obtain unique vineyards throughout Australia, such as 200 acres of the famed red basalt soil at Fordwich. In 2006, Michael purchased the Rothbury Estate, a 420 acre winery in the heart of Pokolbin. Renamed Hope Estate, it has become an icon, symbolizing the best in Hunter. It is a premier destination with an amphitheater that hosts legendary bands, a brewery and restaurant.

Hope Estate ‘The Ripper’ Shiraz 2014

Winemaking: Grapes are from estate vineyards on the west coast of Australia, in the cool hills of Donnybrook. Aged for 12-15 months in 50% French oak/50% American oak. “The Ripper” is an Australian term for “great”.

Tasting Notes: Deep red-violet in colour, with alluring aromas of chocolate, cherry, plum, allspice and a trace of forest floor. Ripe raspberry, cherry, blackberry, dark chocolate and a hint of grilled pepper are framed by solid tannins and good acidity. Vanilla, toasted oak, earth and black pepper comprise the lengthy, plush finish.

100% Shiraz
14.5% Alcohol
$18 [average price]
Enjoy now thru 2024
Rated 90 points by Wine Enthusiast

Hope Estate ‘Basalt Block’ Shiraz Hunter Valley 2014

Winemaking: A single vineyard wine, grapes came from the ‘Basalt Block’ vineyard located in the Broken Back Mountains in Hunter Valley. The Mountains were formed by volcanic activity, leaving behind red soils rich in basalt. Aged in new and old French hogsheads [slightly larger than a standard barrel, holding between 225-250 Litres] for 13 months.

Tasting Notes: Inky garnet in colour, with engaging, predominately savory aromas of clove, flint minerals, black pepper and cherry. Silky layers of cherry, black cherry, blackberry, red currant and crushed black peppercorn align with fresh acidity and dry, firm tannins. Smoky minerality, black cherry, and toasted oak linger between each velvety sip.

100% Shiraz
13.5% Alcohol
Hunter Valley
$14 [average price]
Rated 88 points and ‘Best Buy’ & ‘Year’s Best Shiraz’ by Wine Enthusiast

 
Samples submitted for editorial consideration.

19 Crimes ‘The Uprising’ Australia 2016

Brand: 19 Crimes is a brand of Treasury Wine Estates, a global wine giant with an international portfolio of over 80 brands of wine, including Rosemount Estate, Penfolds, Beringer, and Stags Leap. Recently 19 Crimes was named ‘Wine Brand of the Year’ by leading US wine industry title Market Watch.

The various wines of 19 Crimes take inspiration from the list of 19 Crimes that were drawn up to assist the overcrowded British prison system and send felons to Australia beginning in 1788. With real mug shots being used on the labels, the wine “celebrates the rules they broke and the culture they built”. ‘The Uprising’ pays homage to Australia’s “Rum Rebellion” where soldiers and citizens united together to overthrow the government. A portion of the wine was aged for 30 days in rum barrels.

Tasting Notes: Inky red-violet in colour with aromas of jammy, dark fruit and cigar box spice. Concentrated blueberry, black cherry, raspberry and black pepper flavours are wrapped in velvety tannins. S’mores like finish, with chocolate, graham cracker and marshmallow smothered in black cherry sauce. Not for the faint of heart [don’t’ forget about the 15% alcohol!] an intense dessert in a glass.

50% Shiraz, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Grenache
Australia
Produced and Bottled by 19 Crimes
15% Alcohol
$10
Enjoy now

19 Crimes ‘The Banished’ Dark Red 2016

19banished

Brand: 19 Crimes is a brand of Treasury Wine Estates, a global wine giant with an international portfolio of over 80 brands of wine, including Rosemount Estate, Penfolds, Beringer, and Stags Leap. The wine takes its inspiration from the list of 19 Crimes that were drawn up to assist the overcrowded British prison system and send felons to Australia beginning in 1788. With real mug shots being used on the labels, the wine “celebrates the rules they broke and the culture they built”. Winemaker Paul Dahlenburg uses “careful tendering and a simple touch” to craft the 19 Crimes wines, as he believes “big, bold reds” naturally occur in the Victoria region of southeastern Australia.

Just as with it’s other 19 Crimes siblings, each cork is printed with one of the 19 Crimes; it’s a fun activity to see how many different crimes you can collect. Over the past year or so I have acquired a few, my favourites being: #5. Impersonating an Egyptian, #7. Setting Fire to Underwood and #17. Watermen Carrying Too Many Passengers on the Thames, if Any Drowned.

Winemaking: Aged in 100% American Oak.

Tasting Notes: Inky violet in colour with powerful aromas of vanilla, oak, grape jam and hints of baking spice. Concentrated dark fruit flavours are enveloped with sweet vanilla and oak in the full, syrupy body. Baking spice, dark chocolate, vanilla and hints of dark fruit comprise the lengthy, plush finish.

Blend of Shiraz, Grenache & Cabernet Sauvignon [Varietal percentages not available.]
Australia
Imported and Bottled by TWE Imports
13.5% Alcohol
$8
Enjoy now

19 Crimes Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

19cab

Brand: 19 Crimes is a brand of Treasury Wine Estates, a global wine giant with an international portfolio of over 80 brands of wine, including Rosemount Estate, Penfolds, Beringer, and Stags Leap. The wine takes its inspiration from the list of 19 Crimes that were drawn up to assist the overcrowded British prison system and send felons to Australia beginning in 1788. With real mug shots being used on the labels, the wine “celebrates the rules they broke and the culture they built”. Winemaker Paul Dahlenburg uses “careful tendering and a simple touch” to craft the 19 Crimes wines, as he believes “big, bold reds” naturally occur in the Victoria region of southeastern Australia.

Each cork is printed with one of the 19 Crimes; it’s a fun activity to see how many different crimes you can collect. Over the past year or so I have acquired a few, my favourites being: #5. Impersonating an Egyptian, #7. Setting Fire to Underwood and #17. Watermen Carrying Too Many Passengers on the Thames, if Any Drowned.

Tasting Notes: Dark garnet in colour with robust aromas of sweet mixed berry jam, herbs and hints of oak. Coffee notes accent bold red fruit flavours, firm tannins harmonize with white pepper and mocha elements on the lengthy finish.

Cabernet Sauvignon [I could not verify varietal percentage.]
Australia
Produced and Bottled by Baileys of Glenrowan Wines
13.5% Alcohol
$9
Enjoy now thru 2017

Stella Bella Skuttlebutt Rosé Margaret River 2014

skuttlebutt

Estate: Skuttlebutt is a label of Stella Bella Wines. Founded by Stuart Pym and Janice McDonald, the pair had a vision of building a modern and creative wine company in order to craft “high quality interesting wines with unique character” along with exhibiting “the unique and expressive terroir of Margaret River”. The estate consists of 80 hectares of 6 vineyards spread over the southern part of the Margaret River region in southwestern Australia. ‘Skuttlebutt’ refers to the colloquial term for gossip or rumours and is their “everyday” range.

Philosophy: Overall they strive to “create beautiful wines that suite all occasions & that our customers love & enjoy, as much as we do!” The Skuttlebutt line was created with the intention of producing wines “that are enjoyable, affordable and complementary to a modern lifestyle”.

Winemaking: In order to respect, protect and express the terrior, the estate believes in minimal intervention from the vineyard to the winery. Organic fertilizers are used only when necessary and sustainable methods such as planting rye and clover to help prevent soil compaction and to balance nitrogen levels are used in effort to create a natural balance in the vines. Buckwheat crops are used to encourage beneficial insect species throughout the vineyard.

Tasting Notes: Coral pink in colour with faint aromas of strawberry, minerals and hints of hay barn. Fruity, straightforward and super glugable with vibrant strawberry and raspberry flavours culminating in a dry finish. A bright acidity makes this a good companion with summer dishes.

50% Shiraz, 24% Merlot, 24% Sangiovese, 2% Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains
Margaret River
Australia
Produced & Bottled by Stella Bella Wines
13.5% Alcohol
$14
Enjoy now thru 2016