Red and black fruits, sweet liquorice and milk chocolate on the sly, spice and plenty of perfume. Medium-bodied, fresh blackberry, lively, powerful, succulent and smooth, creaminess to the tannin, a chocolate and velour deluxe kind of feel, bright boysenberry acidity, and heaps of length. A very fine Vat 9. One for the ages.
96+ points, The Wine Front (May 2019)
Deep, bold, bright purple/red colour. The bouquet is reserved and almost floral, with dried herb and essency dark berry aromas. A touch of reduction. The palate is medium to full-bodied and the dark-fruit flavours are intense and long-lasting. There are generous tannins, which are fine and supple and run the full length of the palate. Superb balance and poise, a very promising youngster with a long career ahead of it. A superb shiraz, very much in Tyrrell style, which is restrained compared to some other top Hunters - even in a great year like 2018.
96 points, The Real Review (October 2020)
From the oldest and best blocks on the Ashman property, hand-picked and vineyard-sorted, each block vinified separately in open vats, maturation in new and 1yo 2700l French casks until the blend assembled in Dec ‘19, then given a further 5 months before bottling. This is a woven tapestry of black fruits studded with sparks of red. Soars after a challenging bouquet.
95 points, Wine Companion (January 2020)
Based on old vines, some going back to 1892, the 2018 wine is purple in colour, concentrated, ripe and aromatically intense, yet still subdued in youth. Berry aromas, malty, earthy and meaty notes meet the nose with a thread of smoky oak. The palate is superfine in texture and intensely flavoured, but not overpowering. The balance is superb and it will undoubtedly grow extra dimensions with long ageing.
95 points, The Real Review (October 2020)
Lots of crushed berries with red earth, terra-cotta and hints of metal and blue fruit. Ferrous. Salt and white pepper. Some oyster shell, too. Full to medium body, bright fruit and lightly chewy yet polished tannins.
95 points, JamesSuckling.com (May 2019)
The Hunter Valley is the most important quality wine-producing region in New South Wales, even though it represents only a fraction of the state’s production. Established in the early 1800s, the first vignerons recognised that the coastal fringe north of Sydney was too wet and humid for viable viticulture and thus took the decision to move into the hinterland. Although the region can be particularly hot, the cloud and rainfall patterns significantly modify the microclimate. The Hunter Valley is maritime influenced, with afternoon sea breezes funnelling up through the Hunter River and Goulburn River gap. Rainfall is very erratic and can arrive at the most inopportune time. Soils are generally rich volcanic and alluvial. The best vineyard sites are located within sight of the imposing Brokenback Range that is exposed to the cool sea breezes. Further inland, the maritime influence gives way to a greater degree of continentality. The Hunter Valley is best known for exceptional age-worthy Semillon and fresh savoury medium-bodied Shiraz, although Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay also perform well.