Tuesday, March 9, 2010

2006 Command Shiraz Release

In 1984 the Barossa was amid its darkest hour. A grand history of predominantly fortified wines was no longer having any traction in the marketplace, and subsequently nobody wanted to buy the fruit from the Barossa’s wonderful old vines. These were the last days of the vine pull scheme that saw the Barossa lose over 50% of its total plantings and a great deal of irreplaceable old vines, tracing back to the Barossa’s origins of the early 1840’s.

In 1984, Neil and Lorraine Ashmead also made the decision to buck the market and make a limited release Reserve Shiraz, as they believed the oldest Shiraz vines on the property (planted circa 1904) produced something unique and something delicious. The name Command was bestowed upon the wine as it showed all the hallmarks of power and richness and put quite frankly – the wine commanded respect. Elderton was among the first company in the Barossa to do this, of course with the exception of Penfold’s Grange and Henschke’s Hill of Grace.

In 2010, the Australian wine community is again in tough times. With oversupply rampant, a disadvantageous Australian dollar and a globe growing tired of the large company commoditisation of Australian wine, many are again wondering where and if respite will come.

Through these tough times however, Cameron and Allister Ashmead (the second generation at Elderton) are very proud to announce the release of the 21st Command Shiraz, the 2006 vintage. From very humble beginnings, this wine is now respected as one of the great wines on the planet, with drinkers, scribes and wine competitions all hailing what can be achieved from the century old vines on the banks of the North Para River, in the town of Nuriootpa.

The 2006 shows the signs as being one of the greats, in the ilk of 2002 and 1992, as it is full bodied, rich and power packed, yet a wine that has the balance and finesse to showcase its best at any stage in the next twenty plus years. The wine has been rated at 94 points by both James Halliday and by Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, and sits comfortably in the Excellent category of Langton’s classification of fine Australian Wine.

Having spent three years in a combination of American and French oak puncheons and a year in bottle (as every vintage produced has), the wine shows its provenance and pedigree, whilst been given the treatment to make it fit for long term cellaring.

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