Reserve | 2006 HJ Reserve Shiraz
Dan Murphys Interview, 2011
Corrina Wright from Taranga
We ask one of Australia’s leading winemakers, Corrina Wright of Oliver’s Taranga Vineyards fame, about her winemaking philosophy and those wine styles from which she seeks inspiration. Corrina took over the winemaking helm at the winery in 2000 after a stint at the University of California and at Gallo wines in the Sonoma, one of America’s largest wineries.
Q: Was it daunting taking over the reigns of a family business founded in 1841?
A: I certainly have always seen my role as that of a custodian and a guardian of a legacy that precedes my generation and those before, valuing tradition, authenticity and a passion for what we do. This belief is shared by all who work at the winery.
Q: Do you plan to take the winemaking in a new or different direction?
A: We are determined to be remembered for laying the groundwork for future generations, not being a flash in the pan nor marketing driven. I want the wines we make to be age worthy and looked back on as classic wines. If those of us here can achieve a name for what we do now, we will have done our job as caretakers of something very special.
Q: Since its first release in 2000, the HJ Reserve Shiraz has rapidly risen to prominence as one of Australia’s finest Shiraz. What makes it so special?
A: The HJ vineyard is just one of those special and rare vineyards delivering truly world-class old vine Shiraz. Prior to 2000 our fruit was being sold at the highest prices to be included in the exalted wines of others. We would rather make great wine ourselves, a single-vineyard wine expressive of our tradition and sense of place.
Q: Do you feel tradition comes at the expense of innovation?
A: On the contrary — tradition supports innovation. Our success with the proven McLaren Vale performers of Cabernet, Grenache and Shiraz allows us to explore emerging varieties such as Fiano, Sagrantino and Vermentino. There seems to be growing interest in a broader range of European varieties in recent years and getting in early, as we did with Tempranillo, seems to be the best approach.
Q: What wine styles or varieties inspire you?
A: I love Riesling, a good Chablis or White Burgundy. As you can tell from what we’ve planted, I’m into Tempranillo and Italian varietals. I also enjoy aged Semillon and wines from people who are doing things a little bit more interestingly.
Top Tips from Corrina
Look beyond the biggest brands and seek out those that get involved in regional definition and honour a sense of place. Get involved, taste, and learn from smaller makers who can portray the character of their vines and fluctuating seasons in the bottle. Good producers whose vineyards have great reputations are fully aware that rather than trying to leave a bold signature all over the wines, their role is understand that they are a custodian of something special.
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McLaren Vale - Estate grown
Deep, dark maroon
Excellent spicy lift, strong mocha and dark chocolate overtones
Super intense palate, but still showing the typical HJ restraint and finesse. Again a wine to age, with fruit depth through the middle palate
drink now to 2021
New French oak