Reserve | 2006 HJ Reserve Shiraz
The hot and dry 2006 vintage was off the back of a very wet spring, allowing for great development of flavour on the Taranga vineyard.
- 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.
- Australian Wine Journal, Sept 2010, 94 points
Oliver's Taranga HJ Reserve Shiraz 2006 ($50) Straight away shows some classy, snazzy oak; scented with nutty, mocha and walnut tones overlying a beautifully composed, regional and seasonal expression of savoury berry and plum aromas with a touch of cinnamon spice. The palate also reveals some overlying nutty/mocha oak characters, but underneath that lies some pretty smart fruit. It's all quite tightly wound, elegant and measured at the moment, but it should open up with layers of flavour and texture with medium-long term cellaring.
- Philip White, June 2010, 93++ points
One sniff of this explains why Penfolds are such enthusiastic buyers of Oliver fruit: this could be prime Barossa. In fact, it's difficult to explain how it could be seen to be truly different from a Shiraz grown in the north of the Barossa, in The Moppa. It has the same intense chocolatey sweetness, perhaps contributed to by some smoky caramelised oak. If anything, the wine might be smoother and softer than most Barossans, a factor I tend to relate to the higher marine humidity of McLaren Vale. Perhaps if the wines from both places were picked a degree or two lower in alcohol/sugar they would show greater refection of both terroirs. In the meantime, slippers on, slump back, and surrender to this silk-then-velvet syrup. A block of chilli chocolate would do it perfectly. Or orange peel chocolate.
- Jeremy Oliver, The Australian Wine Annual 2009, 92 Points
A plush, smooth and fine-graind blend whose sweet expression of dark plum, cassis, blackberry fruit, cedar/chocolate/vanilla oak, cloves and cinnamon overlie meaty, gamey characters. Framed by firmish, fine-grained tannin, it's long, polished juicy palate finishes long and spicy, with lingering nuances of roasted coffe and mocha. Elegant and balanced
- Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate 2009, 93 points
The 2006 Shiraz H.J. Reserve, sourced from tiny yields of 1 ton per acre, was aged in 100% new French oak. A glass-coating purple/black in color, the nose delivers an aromatic array of pain grille, espresso, scorched earth, smoked meat, and blueberry. Velvety, ripe, and voluptuous on the palate, this beautifully balanced Shiraz will blossom for several more years and drink well through 2021.