This is a technique practiced in the Valpolicella region in the northeast of Italy, where grapes are picked and laid out on racks to semi-dry before fermentation. It’s a laborious process that leads to increased sugar concentration in the juice, which in turn means a higher alcohol level in the finished wine (15.6% in this case) as well as rich raisiny, dark fruit and chocolate flavours. The wine is then aged for 2 years in new French oak hogsheads (300L).
The result is unique - a full-bodied Australian Amarone-style made from 100% Shiraz - and what a heroic and beautiful wine it is. There are several good notes for this wine, however you really can’t go past this incredible score from Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate:
“Deep purple-black coloured, it is profoundly scented of crème de cassis, blackberry pie and blueberry preserves with suggestions of chocolate box, menthol, sandalwood and prunes plus a waft of clove-studded smoked ham. Full-bodied, rich and oh-so-decadent, it fills the palate with spicy black fruited preserves and just enough freshness, finishing long.” 97+ Lisa Perrotti-Brown (The Wine Advocate).
To put this in perspective here are a few other wines that have scored 97 (not +) points by Parker:
97 points - 2005 Château d’Yquem
97 points - 2005 Château Cos d’Estournel
97 points - 2008 Domaine de la Romanee Conti, Romanee Conti
97 points - 1990 Henschke Hill of Grace
97 points - 2009 Penfolds Grange
97 points - 2008 Château Petrus
Makes this wine suddenly seem like a bargain!