95 Points – Drink 2025 – 2040
A perfect partner to the Black label Cabernet. This is certainly one of the best and most stylish yet under this label. It’s from old Coonawarra vines that have been carefully managed by viticulturist Allen Jenkins. In fact, the vines date back to 1894. It’s a beautiful example of cool climate shiraz in an excellent year. Red fruits with a cranberry pomegranate aroma sprinkled with black pepper. The palate is bright and fresh with those fine chalky tannins bringing structure with subtle poise.
94 Ponts – Drink 2021 – 2036
There’s something about old vines – in this case the oldest dating back to 1894 – that brings an effortless ease to a wine, a quiet dignity.
Black Label old vines is not in the least bit showy or shouting. Fruits are mostly in the red/black fruit sphere, a touch of blackcurrant pastille opening to reveal a world of spice – nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves – and above it, cedary oak. Soft and plummy it meshes beautifully on the palate with a strong bucolic feel from the tilled earth and dried herb inflection to a gentle earthy savouriness. A touch of French polish alerts you to the presence of oak. It’s there, yes, you can taste it, but it’s part of the furniture, so to speak, integral and not to the point of being aggressive.
92 Points – Drink 2021 – 2027
This wine should be known as Very Old Vines Shiraz, with some fruit drawn off vines planted back in 1894 – it is arguably Australia’s oldest cool climate shiraz vineyard. The 2019 vintage is looking a little shy and reserved right now – dark cherry and fruit pastille aromas are lifted by nice touches of sweet clove. The oak is prominent but sits in nicely behind the fruit. What follows in a mid-weight palate, its fleshy fruits supported by firmish tannins although that fruit is silky and maybe a little light on. It’s a good but not great vintage of Black Label Shiraz.
94 Points – Drink 2024 – 2032
Always a favourite and this latest vintage lives up to past standards. People tend to forget that while cabernet is King in Coonawarra, the region’s reputation was established on the back of some extraordinary wines made from shiraz (think of the original Wynn’s Michael 1955 and the amazing Woodley’s Treasure Chest series). Wynn’s may focus on cabernet, but they have never neglected what this variety can do. The vines which provided the grapes for this wine come from the Undoolya vineyard, planted in 1894. The oak is a mix of “new (18%), seasoned French oak hogsheads (80%), vats (10%) and barriques (5%)” for a period of 13 months (to digress, not completely certain some of the maths relevant to the oak used by Wynn’s adds up but you get the general idea). Needless to say, this is a cooler climate style of shiraz.
A purple plum colour in the glass, which gives up an array of simply gorgeous aromas. Plush, soft, appealing, though much more refined than the big, bold Barossa styles we so often associate with the grape. The aromas include black cherry notes, black fruits, black olives, leather and plums. Oak has been well integrated. Plenty of fine tannins, though they are a touch gritty. The flavours morph into more dark chocolate and coffee grinds. There is a slight iodine note. Very good length, an excellent structure and an appealing density to the palate. Needs five or ten years to show its best but certainly approachable now.