Deep garnet-purple in color, the 2010 Astralis is still quite primary eliciting aromas of black plums, blueberry compote and blackcurrant liqueur with a savory and baking spice undercurrent plus a fragrant whiff of violets. Very structured, fine and complex in the medium to full-bodied mouth, this wine is revealing much more than when I first tasted it a year ago and is now showing layer upon layer of black fruit preserves, mocha, toast and spices before finishing with great length. Extraordinary wine. Approachable now, it should cellar to 2030+. I am grateful to Roman Bratasiuk for presenting me with small verticals from his cellar of some of his greatest vineyard sources for this report, including the Merlot (as an indication that Merlot can do well in Australia!), the Old Vines/Romas Vineyard Grenache and a vertical of the Astralis vineyard Shiraz going back to 1991. Readers should note that the 2011 vintage Clarendon Hills wines are being released a little later than usual and therefore were not available for tasting in time for this report. However, I have been informed that they will be available for tasting very soon and will hopefully make the South Australia report.
Sourced from a single vineyard in the cool Blewitt Springs area of McLaren Vale, the vines over 90 years old; whole bunches and whole berries are included in the prolonged fermentation, followed by 18 months in 100% new, high quality, French oak; the extreme power of the palate is so effortless the wine has a touch of elegance that will emerge in the decades to come.
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