Friday, 19 October 2012

Not a top Shiraz - the Tintilla Estate 2005 Patriarch

This is a mediocre wine that I was hoping would be better.  I remember tasting and buying six of the highly rated 2007 Tintilla Estate Patriarch Syrah.  That was a fine wine and listed among Campbell Mattinson's best red wines that year.  As part of buying some of the great 2007 Tintilla Estate Patriarch and also some of their very nice Sangiovese, we were offered four bottles of the 2005 Patriarch for free as part of a promotional offer.

The Syrah grape is the same as what I refer to as the Shiraz grape, but Tintilla Estate explicitly uses the label Patriach Syrah for its top-end Shiraz compared to the middle of the range Tintilla Estate Shiraz.  Tintilla Estate uses this differentiation to refer to their very select Shiraz grapes.  The 2005 vintage is the first for the Patriarch Syrah and the 2007 the second (and much improved) vintage.

I can see why they were giving it away for free two years ago.  The wine is showing its age and does not have much life left.  I will need to use the other three bottles quickly (which I was expecting and that is why I brought them out of the cellar).  This wine is a little on the sweet side, tasting of over-ripe cherries and does not have much finish.  It also has a bitter aftertaste which is not pleasant.

I was going to write another couple of blog posts, but thought it best to write when the taste is fresh in my mind (if not fresh in my mouth!). This is always a good idea.  If you do not take notes immediately, you can start to run wine tasting memories together, and more recent smells or flavors can confuse your memory.  My wife always carries a little notebook to write down tasting notes so we have them for later.  Also make sure to date the entries as wine changes in taste over time.

I like Tintilla Estate as a winery.  They make some of the finest Sangiovese in Australia and I am letting my 2007 Tintilla Estate Patriarch Syrah sit for a while to reach optimal drinking age.  (2007 for The Hunter Valley was a very good year for Shiraz.)  But I need to call it like I see it, and the 2005 vintage of the Patriarch is over the hill.  I expect it was better 3- 4 years ago, but even then, I am pretty certain, it was not better than mediocre.

As a winery, Tintilla Estate is a beautiful one to visit and is located at  725 Hermitage Road, Pokolbin, NSW 2320.  We first visited it during June, 2010 when the Hunter Valley Food and Wine month was in full swing.  We had a most wonderful Italian buffet lunch and sampled a 10-year vertical of Sangiovese and Merlot-Sangiovese wines which was a real treat.

If you have any of the 2005 Tintilla Estate Patriarch Syrah, you better drink it quick or consider it as a cooking wine.  Meanwhile, I will look forward to one of the 2007 Tintilla Estate Patriarch Syrah soon.  Hopefully, I will have a much more favorable blog on that wine as I remember the tasting of it to be exceptional.

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