David 17 June 2014
Here’s something very special and a little different to my usual offers. I’m calling it Parkerfest, named not after me, but US wine critic Robert Parker.< p style="line-height: 150%;">
Parker is, without a doubt, the most influential wine critic in the world and his impact via The Wine Advocate newsletter with its 100-point scoring system, has been enormous. A good rating from Parker guarantees worldwide demand and soaring prices, while a bad or even mediocre score can spell financial disaster for a winery. While many admire his phenomenal tasting ability, communication skills and independent assessment, others are highly critical of his influence and what they call the‘Parkerisation’ of wine around the world. With so much riding on a good rating, critics argue that many estates either wittingly or unwittingly, have changed their practices and styles to suit the Parker palate. But does Parker rate wines the market wants to drink or does the market buy wine which Parker rates? Much has been written from both points of view but the Parker debate is certain to continue.
So what is a Parker wine? It’s usually a big, rich, opulent red, with plenty of ripe fruit, oak and high alcohol and the wines of Noon Winery have always been unashamedly in this style.Noon is a small family run estate inMcLaren Vale, South Australia. Farmer and french teacher David Noon acquired a patch of old vines in the 1960s, initially selling the grapes, before starting to make his own wine in the 1970s. His son Drew grew up in the vineyards and later attended Roseworthy College, a Mecca for winemakers, before working at several wineries, including Tyrrell’s. In 1996 Drew returned home and, with wife Raegan, took the reigns at the family winery. Drew is one of the few winemakers in Australia with aMaster of Wine (MW).
Noon focuses solely on red wines and makes them in what can only be described as a heroic style. I’ve tasted many of their wines and they're powerful, ripe, opulent, concentrated and alcoholic. These blockbuster wines are highly sought after and hard to find as they sell out immediately they’re released. Not surprisingly they’ve attracted a cult following among those who like this high-octane style… including Robert Parker.
I checked out Parker’s ratings and none of the almost 50 Noon wines he’s rated score less than 90 points. 28 of them score 95 or higher and 5 score 99 points. Incredible!
“An Australian genius!” The Wine Advocate #127
“This estate’s brilliant owners/winemakers, Drew and Rae Noon, are meticulous about everything... The results are some of the most precise, full-bodied, yet remarkably vibrant wines produced in Australia.” The Wine advocate #167.
“Noon remains one of Australia's iconic wineries. As usual, Drew Noon sets the bar for South Australia.” The Wine Advocate #181
“Life is too short not to be drinking the wines of Drew and Rae Noon… With their incredible perfume, extraordinary purity and layers of fruit, these are attention-getting wines but there is a restraint, balance and complexity that is remarkable.” Robert Parker’s book The World’s Greatest Wine Estates.
Noon grows grenache, graciano, shiraz and cabernet sauvignon. There are three vineyards in McLaren Vale planted in 1934, 1943 and 1998 and two contract vineyards at nearby Langhorne Creek, one planted in the early 60s, the other in the 70s.
I’m pleased to be able to offer several older vintages from Noon. The most important thing with aged wine is provenance. When purchasing aged wines there is always the risk they have not been stored well and the detrimental effect of this on the wine will be significant. I’ve seen many aged wines ruined by cellaring conditions that people have described as ‘good’, but which were in fact substandard. Even when a bottle supposedly comes from a good cellar, you can’t be sure it’s spent its entire life there.
Importantly, I can guarantee the provenance and cellaring conditions of every bottle offered below. They are in immaculate condition. All were purchased from cellar door upon release and have been held in the same temperature controlled cellar since that time. The certainty of the cellaring conditions adds significant drinking pleasure and value to these wines.
I hope you enjoy these treasures, they are deep, rich and dense… and ready to drink.
Noon Winery Eclipse
This is Noon’s signature wine. Prior to 2011 the wine was made up of around 60-70% grenache and 30-40% shiraz. Since then it’s been around 90% grenache with small components of shiraz and graciano. The wine sits in the Excellent Category in Langton’s Classification of Australian Wine.
1999 Noon Eclipse - 3 bottles available. (Parker 94 points) $100 per bottle Order this wine
2000 Noon Eclipse - 3 bottles available. (Parker 92 points) $100 per bottle Order this wine
2001 Noon Eclipse - 3 bottles available. (Parker 94 points) $100 per bottle SOLD OUT
2002 Noon Eclipse - 3 bottles available. (Parker 95 points) $100 per bottle SOLD OUT
2003 Noon Eclipse - 3 bottles available. (Parker 94 points) $100 per bottle SOLD OUT
2006 Noon Eclipse - 3 bottles available. (Parker 97 points) $150 per bottle SOLD OUT
Selected tasting note from Robert Parker: “The 2006 Eclipse is a blend of 65% Grenache and 35% Shiraz, sourced from 60 to 80-year-old vines in McLaren Vale and Langhorne Creek. The wine spent 18 months in small and large French and American oak. Dark ruby colored, it offers a fragrant, already complex bouquet of violets, mineral, Asian spices, leather, black cherry, and blueberry. Remarkably elegant and impeccably balanced, on the palate notes of garrigue, licorice, and kirsch emerge leading into a 60+ second finish. It can be enjoyed now but for optimum pleasure, give it another five years of cellaring and drink it through 2026.” 97 points. The Wine Advocate #181 Feb 2009.
Noon Winery Solaire
This rare and unusual wine is no longer made, the last vintage was 2008. Only 2 barrels were made in most vintages so it's hard to come by. It’s 100% Grenache, produced from very ripe grapes. I’ve tried this wine several times and it’s full-bodied, high alcohol and slightly sweet. Perfect with hard cheese.
1999 x 3 bottles (500ml) available. 17.9% $120 per bottle Order this wine
2002 x 3 bottles (500ml) available. 18% $120 per bottle Order this wine
As such small quantities of this wine were made they haven't been widely reviewed.
Tasting Note from Noon: “The 1999 Solaire offers up sweet blackberry and strawberry aromas along with fresh earth and cedar spice notes. It is medium-deep in colour and the palate is powerful, intense and fresh. There is a rich sweetness at first but the palate finishes dry with the flavours lingering for a long 45 seconds or more. There is good balance despite the intensity of this wine and yes, it carries the alcohol without a problem. This is an exciting wine to drink and is maturing slowly.”
Noon Winery Reserve Shiraz
First released in 1997, the fruit for this wine comes from the 2.7ha ‘20 Rows’ block in Langhorne Creek. Prior to 1997, the wine was made by David Noon (Drew’s father) and was known as Noon’s Traditional Red. It sits in the Outstanding Category in Langton’s Classification of Australian Wine.
1999 Noon Reserve Shiraz (Parker 96 points) - 3 bottles available. $150 per bottle Order this wine
2000 Noon Reserve Shiraz (Parker 96 points) - 3 bottles available. $150 per bottle Order this wine
2001 Noon Reserve Shiraz (Parker 99 points) - 3 bottles available. $250 per bottle SOLD OUT
2003 Noon Reserve Shiraz (Parker 99 points) - 3 bottles available. $250 per bottle Order this wine
2004 Noon Reserve Shiraz (Parker 98 points) - 3 bottles available. $200 per bottle SOLD OUT
2006 Noon Reserve Shiraz (Parker 99 points) - 3 bottles available. $250 per bottle SOLD OUT
Selected tasting note from Robert Parker: “Not surprisingly, the 2003 Shiraz Reserve possesses off-the-charts richness as well as an intoxicatingly complex, multidimensional bouquet of smoke, licorice, blackberries, cassis, vanilla, and incense. A huge, sweet, rich, concentrated attack becomes even more impressive with laser-like precision to its full-bodied, super-concentrated style. Boasting good acidity, ripe tannin, and a layered mouthfeel, this stunning Shiraz is the finest I have ever tasted from the Langhorne Creek sector of South Australia. It should drink well for two decades.” 99 points.The Wine Advocate #161 Oct 2005.
Noon Winery Reserve Cabernet
First released in 1996, the fruit comes from the 1.2ha ‘Fruit Trees’ block in Langhorne Creek. Prior to 1996 the wine was made by David Noon (Drew’s father) and was known as Noon’s cabernet. It also sits in the Outstanding Category in Langton’s Classification of Australian Wine.
1998 x 3 bottles available. (Parker 96+ points) $150 per bottle Order this wine
1999 x 3 bottles available. (Parker 94 points) $150 per bottle Order this wine
2000 x 3 bottles available. (Parker 95 points) $150 per bottle Order this wine
2002 x 3 bottles available. (Parker 96 points) $150 per bottle Order this wine
2004 x 3 bottles available. (Parker 95 points) $150 per bottle Order this wine
2006 x 3 bottles available. (Parker 98 points) $200 per bottle Order this wine
Selected tasting note from Robert Parker: “The 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon was sourced from a 35+year-old vineyard and aged for 18 months in small French and American oak. Opaque purple-colored, it delivers textbook Cabernet aromas of wood smoke, pencil lead, scorched earth, black currants, and blackberry liqueur. This leads to an opulent, full-bodied, concentrated wine that beautifully combines finesse and power. As with most vintages of this wine, it can be enjoyed now or cellared for a decade. It will reward the patient imbiber with a drinking window lasting through 2030.” 98 points. The Wine Advocate #181 Feb 2009.