How Old is an Old Vine?
At a recent tasting that we held with Argentinean wine maker Karim Mussi (expect to see his sensational wines in future cases) the subject of old vine wines came up. Karim was very proud of the fact that many of his are upwards of 80 years old and was keen to emphasise the effect that this maturity has on the fruit that the wine produces. When I put it to him that some wines are labeled as old vine once the vine reaches 20 years of age he responded by explaining the science behind the old vine distinction. Once the vine reaches a certain level of maturity, physiological changes take place which cause the vine to produce far fewer but extremely concentrated grapes. Karim's view was that a wine could only be described as old vine once these changes had taken place and to do so before would be misleading. So with Karim in mind I have decided to include an old vine wine that I am certain meets his approval.
Shrinking Violet Old Vine Syrah
Hailing from the ancient vines of l'Hérault the super concentrated fruit once harvested, is fermented in small stainless steel tanks then transferred to first and second use oak barrels for 6 months, giving the nose an attractive lift of fresh vanilla pod. The Oak barrels which are used to age this wine are all first use so impart the maximum amount of character into the wine making this an absolute must for those who love that classic, ripe, toasty oak up front. Despite the robust power of the dark fruits present in the wine, it is finely balanced with lovely mineral notes and a soft spice.