Rich, dense nose of stone fruit, violet, cloves, bacon fat and subtle pepper tones. Silky weight on the palate, has restraint but without lacking power. The fruit, violet and spice integrates well with classy new oak. Seamless, and velvety smooth, it will develop well over a decade or two.
The 2014 Black Guts melds together the structure of the 2012 and the density and concentration of the 2013. I thought it was an exceptional vintage for Shiraz, with low yields and a perfect growing season. The two blocks on our vineyard that produce the fruit for the Black Guts have both been through gradual rejuvenation over a period of 20 or more years. Nurturing an 80 year old and 50 year old vineyard back to consistent quality production has been a real joy (and a lot of hard work). When I look at the last few vintages and see the consistency and concentration in the wines, I think that everyone involved in the vineyard, in our garden, should be very proud. It’s a beautifully balanced Shiraz that drinks so well off the bat, but will mostly reward those that are prepared to cellar it for ten or more years.
I love the 2013 vintage. As a grapegrowing family, it sometimes can take a while to appreciate years like this. From a farming perspective, 2013 was a friggin’ disaster. 70% down on average yield and it’s fair to say that the mood around my family back then was rather sombre. However, the result of the low yields is nothing short of extraordinary. I knew there was some incredible concentration in our old vine Shiraz after pressing the few grapes we had, so I invested in a few extra of the very best new French Oak barrels I could find to help balance out the sheer power. It was going to be hard to contain….. I think the fact that we allow our wines the extra time in barrel helps to soften wines in years of intensity like this. Miniscule in volume, the 2013 Black Guts is deeply concentrated with rich, dark fruit. Unapologetically forward, its seduction is backed up by its charm- the long, silky smooth finish with fine tannins and acidity that epitomises the Rusden brand. It’s a rough diamond, which makes it all the more enjoyable in my book… and it’s a big, big boy.
Its wines like the 2012 Black Guts that make me remember to stop and appreciate the beautiful place I call home and am blessed enough to be able to ply my trade. I think 2012 as a vintage sits on top of the ladder with the profound 2002’s. It is one of the most perfect years I have seen for Shiraz in almost 20 years of making wine here at Rusden. It will benefit from decanting if opened in its youth; at the moment it looks its best 24 to 48 hours after opening. Time will tell how well it rewards cellaring. I’m certain it has the capacity to eventually outweigh the 2002 in terms of its density and precision. Plums and blackberries with hints of leather, roast meat, herb, pepper and exotic spice characters dominate the nose with a touch of the hallmark violet and mocha. A full bodied, rich, powerful and velvety smooth palate with a very long finish, it has a long life ahead of it.
2009 Black Guts v 2010 Black Guts…hmmm…. the eternal debate continues. Which vintage was better? 90 or 91, 98 or 99, 01 or 02, 04 or 05 and yet again 09 or 10? Normally I pick the dark horse but I think that the 2010 really has it all. Not as warm as the 2009, the acidity is what really grabs me this year, but with all the nuances of a warm year. It showing off a perfumed nose, overflowing with spice and violets, miles of velvety, soft fruit and mellow oak, and a great, integrated spine to ensure it ages as well as any Black Guts ever made. This Black Guts is big, but is dances ever so gracefully.
Another vintage where it paid not to react to the weather too early. A mid-march heat spell of 37-42 degrees Celsius for seven days caused a few to panic around the valley and start picking Shiraz too early. Thankfully the weather soon settled down (it couldn’t happen two years in row!) which allowed the fruit flavours to catch up to the high sugar levels in the grapes, which made way for prime Shiraz intake over about three weeks in the vintage shed. The result was some very powerful and diverse batches of Shiraz in barrel which has added to the complexity of this years Black Guts. It is the first in a double of great Barossa vintages and a must have for the cellar. It’s drinking incredibly well early on too (most hotter vintages do!) but it also has the structure to age for well over a decade or more. Undeniably a stand out wine for this release.