Paringa Shiraz 2003
"...its saturated ruby/purple color, excellent texture, and weighty, lush mouthfeel are impressive. The wine, which had just been bottled, needs to settle down, but it possesses loads of character, and it should ultimately merit a score similar to the Cabernet Sauvignon. A substantial effort, it provides further evidence of just how special the 2002 vintage appears to be in South Australia."
-The Wine Advocate
Alan Robb Hickinbotham (David's grandfather) became a founder of the Australian wine industry almost by accident. In May of 1936, Hickinbotham established the Roseworthy Oenology course with the intent of furthering winemaking by instructing viticulturalists to use scientific research to produce better wine.
David eventually purchased 300 acres of prime vineyard land in McLaren Vale early in the 70's. There was no irrigation at that time so the vines were dry grown. This produced grapes of intense flavor that captured the distinctive character of McLaren Vale fruit.
The Paringa vineyard is set on about 1700 acres of prime Riverlands property about 150 miles northeast of Adelaide in South Australia. The rainfall in the region is quite low but the Paringa property abuts the historic River Murray so they have a convenient source of water for the vineyard's drip irrigation system. The vineyard has been planted to Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot, plus small sections of Chardonnay, Columbard, and Ruby Cabernet.
Yields are maintained at approximately 6 tons per acre and careful attention is paid to canopy management and irrigation technique. David Hickinbotham and winemaker Mike Farmilo both agree that the quality of the wine improves with lower yields and have made the decision to go for quality over quantity.
Though Syrah originated in the Rhône Valley of France, Australia is home to the oldest Syrah (called Shiraz here) vines on the planet. Found in Australia’s Barossa Valley, where phylloxera has never threated viticulture, these ancient vines are between 140 to 175 years old!
Having brought fame and merit to the country’s wine scene since the early 1950s, namely via the debut of Penfolds Grange, today Syrah (Shiraz) claims rank as the most widely planted grape in Australia. In fact, the amount of land dedicated to Shiraz in Australia is now almost equivalent to what it is in France. Australian Shiraz has its own personality with flavors and aromas of intense blackberry, fruitcake, menthol, tobacco leaf and umami. Conveniently one can find great Australian Shiraz at a variety of price points but the very best will be dense, gloriously complex and capable of long aging.