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Hewitson Mother Vine Shiraz 2012
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Dean Hewitson has been indeed very fortunate to be tutored by some of the best wine makers and wine scientists in the world. Having completed his degree at Roseworthy, he worked at one of Australia's best wineries, visited some of the world's best wineries experiencing fifteen vintages worldwide, and spent two years at UC Davis, California, where he completed his Masters. Through all of this, to be guided through wine evaluations and wine making techniques of the great wines by the masters themselves has certainly been a privilege and a wonderful opportunity for him. He therefore is able to draw on a very wide spectrum of ideas, practices, philosophies and experiments. These are encapsulated in his wines.
Hunting down the right varieties in the right vineyard in the right region was the next step. Each variety has been selected on the basis of being able to produce a wine of world class that, in particular, the old vineyards of South Australia are able to produce. Geographical isolation and in part a fluke of human non-intervention have preserved pre-phylloxera vineyards that are more closely linked to the original clones from Europe than anywhere on earth.
Historically and presently the most important wine-producing region of Australia, the Barossa Valley is set in South Australia, where more than half of the country’s wine is made. Because the climate is very hot and dry, vineyard managers must be careful so that grapes do not become overripe.
The intense heat is ideal for plush, bold reds, particularly Rhône blends featuring Shiraz, Grenache, and Mataro (Mourvèdre). White grapes can produce crisp, fresh wines from Riesling, Chardonnay, and Semillon if they are planted at higher altitudes.
Most of Australia’s largest wine producers are based here and Shiraz plantings date back as far as 1860. Many of them are dry farmed and bush trained, still offering less than one ton per acre of inky, purple juice.
Marked by unmistakable aromatics, a savory palate, and an elegant texture, Syrah is capable of producing fascinatingly complex and long-lived wines with a stunning purple hue. Native to the Northern Rhône, Syrah’s best examples are found in Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie. It is also an important component of the GSM blends of the Southern Rhône and beyond, alongside Grenache and Mourvèdre. Both varietal Syrah and GSM blends are common in Australia and California and are gaining popularity in Washington State. In Australia, Syrah is known by the synonym Shiraz, which tends to indicate a bolder, fruit-driven style of wine, and is occasionally blended with Cabernet Sauvignon for added depth and structure.
In the Glass
At its best, Syrah shows aromas and flavors of purple fruits, fragrant violets, baking spice, white pepper, smoke, and even bacon fat. Many examples from California aim to recreate this savory style, while others focus more on concentrated fruit flavors. In Australia, under the name Shiraz, it shines as that country’s unofficial signature red grape, producing deep, dark, intense, and often jammy reds.
Cool-climate Syrah, with its peppery spices, is a natural match with flavorful Moroccan-spiced lamb dishes, where the spice is more about flavor than heat. With Australian Shiraz, grown in warmer regions, heavy meat dishes with abundant protein and fat are a necessity to match the intensity of the wine.
Due to the success of Australian “Shiraz,” this synonym for Syrah has been adopted by winemakers throughout the world. If the label says “Shiraz,” you can typically expect a plush, fruity, and potent wine made in the Australian style. New World "Syrah" will generally more closely resemble the French style.