Pinot Noir and Shiraz are like-minded buddies with a long Australian history dating back to the Hunter Valley and famed Mount Pleasant winemaker, Maurice O’Shea. The blend has seen a welcome resurgence in recent years, and not just in the Hunter. In the Canberra wine region winemakers are used to blending Viognier with Shiraz but Victorian winemaker, Doug Neal, introduces a foreign concept that proves there’s room for some new thinking.
Here, we see Murrumbateman Pinot Noir (70%) and Shiraz (30%) coming together nicely with a percentage of whole berries thrown into the winemaking mix. The result is a textural, lightly savoury interpretation of the great Hunter blend. Red berries, blue berries, pomegranate, spice and a flourish of Canberra shiraz violets envelop the senses. The aromatics are captivating. Smooth across the tongue, velvety, with dark fruits, cacao, all brought into line by a mesh of fine tannins. The wine saw 15 months in oak before blending in September, 2020. Doug Neal is an oak importer/distributor, so the oak is mentioned here for nothing other than to indicate that the guy understands its role and the tightrope walked by winemakers in search of balance. Plenty of good drinking here for now or for later.