Ox Hardy 1891 Ancestor Vines Shiraz 2013

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Said ‘Ox’ in Ox Hardy Wines actually goes by the name of Andrew Hardy. He’s the winemaker. Here, Ox takes fruit from 17 rows of historic 1891 ancestor vine shiraz planted in the Upper Tintara vineyard and transforms them into a rich and complex tapestry of flavours and textures, all of them bold. There’s no denying we are in McLaren Vale wine territory with this shiraz. The 2013 shiraz – from an extremely early vintage with a February picking date for the fruit –  saw two years maturation in second fill French oak, and then extended time in bottle before release.

I was expecting more new oak such is the resonance of toastiness and warmth in the wine. It’s joined by big mouthfuls of violet, ripe blackberry, plum, anise and a full spice rack of scents and flavours. A warm richness builds and builds with accompanying shades of earth and chocolate amid the flurry of developed fruit and long, generous tannins that bring everything nicely into line at the finish. It’s a fair price to pay for a Vale shiraz but maybe Ox is trying to say something here. . . old vines are to be treasured for what they bring to the glass. Celebrate them.

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