At the top of the pyramid is the 2005 Syrah Astralis Vineyard. It is sourced from a vineyard planted in 1920 and is one of the Syrah cuvees in which 100% new oak is utilized...It delivers an ethereal bouquet of smoky oak, violets, espresso, black pepper, blueberry, and blackberry liqueur. Densely packed and tightly wound, all it needs is time. The wine is totally harmonious, impeccably balanced, and exceptionally long. When it fully unwinds, even my high rating will appear conservative. Its only competition comes from the likes of Guigal, Chapoutier, Chave, Krankl, and Ringland. (JM)
*Collectibles* Supple, graceful and pointedly focused, offering a whoosh of blackberry, cherry, dusky spice and clotted cream character that zings across the palate, picking up hints of espresso and mineral as the finish rockets on and on. Impressive for its deceptive power and harmony. (HS)
Glass-staining purple. A room-filling bouquet displays the full range of dark fruits, with exotic Asian spices, graphite, cured tobacco, lavender perfume and rose pastille adding complexity. Mouthcoating boysenberry and kirsch flavors are complicated by high-octane chocolate, candied licorice, vanilla bean and floral pastilles, with a bright cracked pepper quality adding lift. Supple tannins mount on the finish, adding structure but allowing the jaw-dropping fruit to shine through. If you have the means and the access, this is one to buy. (JR)
*Cellar Selection* Astralis has become one of Australia’s top collectibles, and Roman Bratasiuk’s 2005 version is once again top-shelf stuff. It’s full-bodied and rich without being over the top, balancing dark-chocolate-covered blackberries and blueberries with more complex savory notes (spice, grilled meat). While it’s a big, hulking wine at first, the finish shows great elegance and finesse, ending with silky tannins. (JC)
Astralis is a wine of unchecked power, supercharged by oak and alcohol, a blast of sweet raspberry fruit that doesn't stop for pedestrians. Whatever burn the alcohol leaves in its wake is incidental if there's a mammoth steak nearby. This vintage is a lovely textural pleasure to serve up at the next Aussie Rules Football League Championship.
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