1996 Brokenwood HBA Shiraz

Happy New Year!

From all of us at Aussie Wine Guy, we hope that you are welcoming 2013 in style.  We had a bit of a break over the holiday season, enjoying the odd premium label as the days passed by.

Stay tuned for a number of new tasting notes, but we’ll start with this one.. behold a special label from the Hunter Valley’s Brokenwood wines.  This release, a cellar door only wine, was purchased a few years back (possibly in 2007) during one of our many journeys to the region.

Tasting Notes

The 1996 Brokenwood HBA Shiraz is a really fine wine.  Made from a blend of the best from Brokenwood’s Graveyard block (in the Hunter Valley) and from the best of the Rayner block (in McLaren Vale), the wine was bottled in 1997 and then held for over a decade at the vineyard – constituting a museum release.  Incidentally, the ‘HBA’ stands for the first initial of the surname of the three original partners of Brokenwood – James Halliday, John Beeston and Tony Albert .  The blending was inspired by some of the great regional blends of the early heydays in the region, particularly from the 40s, 50s and 60s.

1996 Brokenwood HBA Shiraz Brokenwood HBA Shiraz

Our tasting began on Christmas Eve, December 24th, 2012.  The wine was opened and the cork extracted carefully – the cork broke, but the remainder was extracted without corking the wine.  The wine was decanted into a Riedel decanter (as pictured) and then poured back and double decanted as there was a fair amount of very fine sediment – almost too small to be filtered.  You can see the sediment on the picture of the decanter – it is very, very fine.

The wine was left to breathe for several hours before being presented at the Christmas Eve dinner, where it was faithfully poured into Riedel vinum Shiraz glasses (why not?).  Brokenwood’s website lists the 1996 HBA Shiraz as a ‘good to outstanding aged style’ however, based on our experience the wine is brilliant at this age.  Provided the bottle has been carefully cellared (as this one had been) it should be drinking at its peak.

Brokenwood HBA Shiraz Brokenwood HBA Shiraz

The bouquet was simply outstanding, an array of delicate flavours resembling something of a well cared for Burgundy.  The extended hours breathing in the decanter really brought out the full complexity of the wine, the initial sips revealed something of a velvety texture; finely crafted and lush with an array of tastes from spices (slight cloves, etc.) to a silky oak flavour.  The wine finished with a long, but subtle aftertaste which resonated for quite a while between sips.

To say that this experience set the standard for our holiday break would be an understatement.  What struck me is that the wine has been so masterly crafted – the blend from the tighter, more complex nature of a McLaren Vale Shiraz coupled so perfectly with the softer ‘all-round’ nature of Hunter Valley Shiraz is simply inspiring! The extended bottle maturation obviously has something to do with the success of this wine – this is not something we’ve encountered regularly.

Brokenwood HBA Shiraz

Stay tuned for more – new tasting notes coming soon.

[ Links ]

Brokenwood Vintage Chart    – http://www.brokenwood.com.au/wines/vintageChart/

Brokenwood’s Tasting Notes – http://www.brokenwood.com.au/wines/productRange/default.asp?emp=86

Further Reading about the HBA – http://www.theage.com.au/executive-style/top-drop/the-valley-of-the-kings-20110125-1a3jr.html

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