Suspense be damned, I rated it Excellent+++
I'm always a little hesitant to rate a wine that highly, it leaves no room if I think a future vintage/wine is better. What I can say, with less hesitation, is that the 2014 Pagan leaves me unable to imagine how a wine could actually be any better.
Apart from coming in a Methuselah, and being in my hands, of course.
I tried this over 3 days. If you don't know how the Pagan is made, perhaps refer to here.
Initially, in Pagan terms, I thought the fruit was perhaps a wee bit lighter, and with more noticeable mouth watering delicious morello like acidity, than previous incarnations. This was just during the brief tuning period, where a few hours of air allowed what was already a high quality instrument, to come into complete harmonic resonance and really start to sing.
The really impressive part of the performance for me, is how you taste this wine with your entire chemo-sensory system. I could taste it with the back of my throat, and smell it with the back of my nose. Not an uncommon thing with a single malt scotch, but this is not a monster wine, and in fact it's quite refined with the flavour coming in waves. Not shore break waves either, deep ocean waves that slowly fade to the distance minutes later.
Ironstone, cedar, star anise and a hint of cloves by day 3. A wonderful earthy savoury character around a balanced complex fruit core, the morello acid is still there but blending in so well you really only find it bobbing up occasionally in those big flavour waves.
If I didn't know it was Amarone style I'm not sure I would have picked it as such, it's just so impeccably balanced that nothing stands out. It's actually a hard wine to describe well, yes it's big, and yes it's a sipping wine, but it just gently rocks you, and reminds you life is very, very good.
$50 RRP (and, genuinely, worth it)
Oh, a few notes on the production for the curious. Dried for 6 weeks in the winery, 100% estate Bewitt Springs fruit, then 21 days ferment, finally aged in 2nd and 3rd use French oak for 22 months.