An excellent flagship wine from Fowles in the Strathbogie Ranges.
A dense mulberry hue in the glass, an inviting tangle of blackberry, blueberry, vanilla and liquorice excite the senses. There's a dusting of white pepper and black peppercorn alongside some oaky spice. The palate has great depth, with ripe plum and dark chocolate density balanced elegantly by some lighter red fruits. Tannins are silky and well rounded with great length. With recommended cellaring until at least 2018, this isn't far off peak drinking!
Awards and Accolades
GOLD - Sydney Royal Wine Show 2011
96 Points - James Halliday, Australian Wine Companion "Strong colour; a medium-bodied wine with a seamless fusion of ripe satsuma plum, spice, pepper and quality French oak. Great care was taken in the vineyard, and the wine was matured in mostly new French 500l puncheons replacing barriques."
90 points. Robert Parker Online "The Rule 2008 Shiraz casts a deep garnet colour, presenting notes of ripe black currant, wild blueberries and warm black plums with underlying cedar, liquorice, tar and black pepper aromas. Medium to full-bodied with plenty of ripe black berry flavour, it has a solid backbone of crisp acid and medium to firm, grainy tannins, finishing long with the new oak still poking through. Approachable now, it should cellar to 2018+."
From the Winery
The fruit was harvested on a range of days, with most coming off the vine at the end of March 2008. This wine was fermented in high tech sweep-arm fermenters to maximise colour and flavour. We chose to ferment this wine in stainless steel tanks to preserve primary fruit flavours. We fermented the wine at 23˚celsius. We chose to use Enoferm Syrah yeast to promote full expression of varietal fruit and good palate structure.
A Cote du Rhone isolate, Enoferm Syrah is a high glycerol producer which contributes to a rich mouth feel and this yeast is reputed to enhance classic violet, pepper and raspberry Shiraz aromas. This wine was matured using 95% new French oak barrels and 5% new American oak barrels. The barrels were a combination of 60% Puncheons (500L) and 30% Barriques (225L) and Hogs Heads (300L). This was followed by further maturation in 100% old French Hogs Heads. Special Comments: We want The Rule to be a big and powerful wine, but still be sophisticated and speak to its cool-climate home.
We drain off juice at the fermenter to concentrate the skins, then ferment in shallow fermenters to make it easy to homogenise the cap and extract colour, flavour and tannin. For complexity we add yeast at a very low rate of yeast addition to mimic some of the characteristics of spontaneous ferment which often makes more complex wine than using pure cultured yeast. We unashamedly love the flavour new oak barrels impart and most all of this wine spent time in new French oak. The vintage of 2008 was a challenging one: hot, too hot in fact, and the sugar levels jumped up, often ahead of flavour ripeness.
The team had to work extremely hard to harvest fruit before it became cooked! To keep up with the heat and ripening, we rented refrigerated trucks to run the ferments, we hired an extra forklift to flip grapes into the crusher faster and we put on extra staff even though we still asked our regular crew to work silly hours... So now, with the passing of time(!), it is particularly satisfying to see this wine looking so exciting and doing so well on the show circuit. Unusually the fruit for The Rule 2008 came from a young block of Shiraz tucked back into the Ranges and not one of the traditional north facing blocks. The more protected and cooler location let us catch the perfume and elegance which sets Strathbogie Shiraz apart, even in this hot year
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