2003 Clarendon Hills "Astralis" Syrah South Australia (nicked label)

SKU #1327503 99 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 It’s hard to believe the 2003 Syrah Astralis Vineyard could be better, but it offers riveting richness, intensity, purity, and equilibrium. Structurally, it is similar to the Piggott Range, revealing abundant amounts of sweet, ripe tannin, and huge extract, richness, and depth. Meant for true connoisseurs who are willing to forget it for 5-8 years, it represents what Roman Bratasiuk and Clarendon Hills do so well ... show respect for the great traditions of France, but recognize the extraordinary raw materials that emerge from old vines planted in McLaren Vale. This fabulous wine offers both power and elegance, and showcases the extraordinary talent of Roman Bratasiuk. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2030. (RP)  (10/2005)

95 points Wine Enthusiast

 **Cellar Selection** Still very closed on the nose, showing cassis and black cherry aromas after much airing. Its color is a powerful, almost glowing, purple and its flavors—a vibrant surge of pure black and blueberries—are just as intense. Very concentrated and tight, with a linear, minerally frame underneath its monstrous tannins. Winemaker Roman Bratasiuk recommends aging for a mimum of 6 years before drinking; if you are as foolish as I and insist on opening a bottle today, decant for a minimum of 6-8 hours. Rating may look stingy by the time Bush finishes his second term.  (3/2005)

95 points Wine Spectator

 **Collectibles** Aristocratic stuff, brimming with lovely blueberry, plum and vanilla flavors, wrapped in a mantle of peppery, cedary oak, finishing with plenty of flavor and a rousing intensity that promises a long, impressive development. A stylish red that shows no signs of quitting. Best from 2008 through 2020.  (4/2005)

94 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Opaque ruby with a violet rim. Full-throttle, liqueur-like aromas of raspberry, black cherry, blueberry, mocha, coffee, violet, licorice pastille and exotic Asian spices. Dense and thick yet fresh, exuberant and high-toned in flavor, showing every imaginable berry note and an impressively deep, velvety texture. Finishes bright, pure, fresh and very long, with fully buffered tannins and exotic, sexy oak spices lingering.  (8/2005)

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Price: $199.99
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Varietal:

Shiraz/Syrah

- One of France's noblest black grape varieties, Syrah is known for its intense and distinctive perfume reminiscent of briar fruit, tar, spice and black pepper and its firm structure. One of few black grape varietals frequently vinified on its own, the best examples of Syrah come from the Northern Rhône, particularly Hermitage, but also Côte-Rôtie, Cornas, Crozes-Hermitage and St-Joseph. These wines are very astringent in their youth, though some Crozes-Hermitage and St-Joseph can be enjoyed young, relatively speaking. Given the requisite patience, though, these wines can reveal amazing complexity and secondary fruit characteristics like plum and blackcurrant as well as subtle hints of smoke and flowers. In the Southern Rhône, Syrah is used to add structure and complexity to wines dominated by Grenache and complemented by Mourvèdre, like the more immediately drinkable Côte du Rhônes, as well as the long-lived wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. In recent years, plantings of Syrah have spread throughout the Languedoc-Roussillon where it is produced on its own or blended with other varietals. Outside of France, the most important Syrah growing country is easily Australia, where it is called Shiraz. Quality levels here depend greatly on yields and geography, and the wines range from bold, fruity and easy-drinking to intense and ageable, like the famed Penfolds Grange. Often bottled on its own, in Australia Syrah is also can be blended with Grenache and Mourvèdre, as in the Southern Rhône, and is increasingly combined with Cabernet Sauvignon. Syrah has also been steadily increasing in popularity in California, thanks to a group of advocates called the Rhône Rangers. Its most successful iterations come from the Central and Sonoma Coasts, where winemakers are pushing boundaries and creating some incredible wines. In recent years Syrah has also found a number of proponents in Washington State, which is definitely a region to watch for this variety.
Country:

Australia

- While it is true that the greatest strides in Australian winemaking have come in the last 30 years or so, commercial viticulture began as early as the 1820s and has developed uninterrupted ever since. The majority of the great wine regions are in the southeastern area of the continent, including Barossa Valley, Clare Valley, McLaren Vale, and Coonawarra in South Australia; Yarra Yarra Valley and Pyrenees in Victoria; and the Upper and Lower Hunter Valleys in New South Wales. Many of the wines from Southeastern Australia are based on Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon and various blends including Grenache and Mourvedre. In Western Australia, along the Margaret River, great strides are being made with Pinot Noir as well as Bordeaux-styled reds. There are also many world-class releases of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc from the land Down Under, where Riesling also enjoys international acclaim. While many equate Aussie wines with “value,” there are more than a few extremely rare and pricey options, which never fail to earn the highest ratings from wine publications and critics throughout the world. View a list of bestselling items from Australia.
Sub-Region:

South Australia