I was going to just review the 2009 Shiraz Mourvedre, but when I went to pick them up I ended up spending about 3 hours with Paul and Tracy Smith. I tasted all their bottled wines and a fair bit of what they have in barrels, so here is a bit of an overview of their new and upcoming wines.
First thing I remember is that the view from their winery is lovely, a sweeping vista looking over the vines west to the sea, and looking the other way the vines are cuddled by the hills that meander their way down to Sellicks Beach. This area is well known for growing top notch grapes, it's probably because they are happy grapes.
The second thing is Paul and Tracy are thoroughly down to earth type people. This is a winery started by people who love wine, they know it's going to be very hard work, but talk with them for a short while and the passion is obvious. They also have a very clear goal of what wines they are wanting to create, and they have the talent to make great ones.
The third thing that interested me is that there is a unique individual aroma that all of the Cradle of Hills wines have, even the Mourvedre that they don't grow has it, though the Mourv is grown pretty close by. That aroma is particularly stunning in the 2009 Shiraz Mourvedre, but the 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon also has it in spades. I wish I could describe it, but suffice it to say pretty much all of their wines I would be happy to have a 1/4 of a glass and just breath it in all afternoon.
Reviewing the 2009 Shiraz Mourv is pretty much a tease as it's almost all gone. However, whilst we were there Paul invited us to a prelude of the 2010 by allowing us to do a rough test blend. The rough goal being to get something like the 2009 - and why mess around too much and change the target when you've pretty much nailed it on your first vintage eh? For this fun blend there was a Shiraz-Grenache, the Mourv, a bold fruity Shiraz and a more austere Shiraz. We did a couple of blends and it's amazing how much a small change in percentages makes for a much larger change in the final wine. Before blending I would have expected to like a blend just of the big fruity Shiraz and the Mourv, but it absolutely would have lacked balance and character.
Our blend will not be the final one, but what is clear was the 2010 will likely be at least as good as the 2009 even without my input, and since I'd rate the 2009 as Excellent++ you'd be mad not to get on the mailing list.
I was going to waffle on about some of the other barrel samples, but I'll shorten it by saying the future looks extremely bright for Cradle of Hills, and that's good for us wine lovers.
PS. you gotta check out the very cool label, and have a read up on how it was created;