Sunday, December 12, 2010

2008 Yelland and Papps Divine Shiraz (Sample)

The Yelland and Papps Divine Shiraz is an ambitious wine. Gorgeously packaged with a smart label and a weighty, impressive bottle, Susan Yelland and Michael Papps have bravely chosen the ‘difficult’ 2008 vintage to launch their premier and limited release Divine series. The Divine sits above the Devote and Delight Series, and only 700 bottles have been produced.

Like most of the Yelland and Papps range, the 2008 Divine Shiraz uses grapes sourced from the Greenock sub-region of the Barossa Valley (in this instance off vines planted in the mid 1980s). It has been basket pressed, given 3 months lees stirring and was aged for 10 months in 50% new American and French oak.

The Divine Shiraz is a powerful wine that may polarise opinion between the powerful flavoursome warm climate posse and the cool climate peppery Shiraz crew. It has a nose of toasty, coffee/vanilla oak and ripe raspberry and mulberry fruit. On the palate the wine has powerful, concentrated, supple blackberry and black plum fruit with lashings of toasty oak, salty liquorice and Lindt dark chocolate, especially on the back palate/finish.

The fruit shows some of the stress of the 2008 vintage, though the small production volume has led to careful selection (in a single site), avoiding the ‘dead fruit’ characteristics and overly harsh tannins that the 2008 vintage has thrown up all too often in South Australia. The tannins have an emery board grip to them that puts some brakes on the fruit in the mid palate, complementing the dark chocolate and liquorice finish. The alcohol is listed as 15%, and given the vintage may actually be higher than this. Luckily, it is sufficiently integrated into the wine to provide some pleasant warmth, yet does not throw out the overall balance – it is a balancing act, but given the vintage, an impressive feat. The American and French oak is quite prominent, though at only 50% new it doesn’t overpower the fruit, nor do the Yanks overwhelm the French as much as you would assume. Most pleasingly, the Divine finishes surprisingly savoury, relative to the style and black fruit and chocolate flavour profile.

As noted, this is an ambitious wine with a (relative) price to match. Given how tough the 08 vintage was, this is a promising first up premium result from Yelland and Papps, and yet another endorsement for the north/north-west sub-regions of the Barossa Valley (Greenock, Moppa, Ebenezer, etc). It is a statement of intent by the winery, and I look forward to seeing more of the Divine range from the superior 2009 and 2010 Barossa Valley vintages.


RRP: $65
ABV: 15%

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