Plush and sophisticated yet without any excess baggage.
This Black Dog is a classically styled Shiraz whose name hails from our second ever vintage in 2001 when cellarhands noted that the wine from our most spectacular hilltop block of estate shiraz was “as black as dog's guts”. The nickname caught on amongst family and friends, so today, provided vintage conditions deliver us a shiraz of suitable depth and concentration to do the name justice, a new Black Dog is born.
Appearance: Mid to deep, bright purple / crimson. Nose: Dark fruits and dark chocolate are the dominant characters. Some herbs and spices - sage and nutmeg? Cacao, dark olive and some florals appear as it breathes. Palate: Only medium weight, but those rich, dark fruit and chocolate characters from the nose come through with plenty of power. Ample, but very fine grained, almost graphite-like tannins weave through the fruit to give the palate plenty of structure to hang onto for years to come.
At al elevation of around 280m, our 1.4 Hectare 'Black Dog' Shiraz block is both the highest and the most level vineyard on our Ferguson Valley estate. It was planted to a very sparse 1250 vines per hectare in 1997 on an even bed of classic freedraining WA "Marri soil" (a deep layer of ironstone gravelly loam over reddish friable clay). Vines are spur pruned and vertically trellised and yields restricted to five tonnes per hectare (two tonnes per acre) or less.
This release was fermented in small open topped stainless-fermenters, hand-plunged and then pressed off skins once sugar dry and only when the desired balance of fruit, body and tannin had been achieved - 14 days this year. The wine underwent malolactic fermentation and subsequent maturation for 18 months in Burgundy coopered French oak barriques, one third of which were new. It was given a light egg white fining prior to being bottled in December 2011. Only 260 dozen were made.
2010 was yet another excellent season.....A typically wet and windy winter and early spring came to a screeching halt as the vines started to hit their straps in October. The main growing season through to late April was consistently a degree or so warmer and 20% drier than the 30 year average, with less than 100mm of rain falling over those six months. A lack of significant extremes allowed us to avoid any vine-stress and harvest each variety in optimal condition.