Archer Eagle Eye Shiraz 2011 was limited, 1680 bottles produced A single parcel fermented on skins for 36 days in two small open fermenters with no de-stemming or additions.
Smells of complex musk and red fruit fragrance, some spice and layered black fruits, hints of minerals and wild berries. The palate is all about finesse and elegance with deceptive concentration, length and power – tannins are layered in soft sheeted formation.
Work on crafting balanced, complex and approachable wine starts in the vineyard with a range of parcels selected across different expositions, clone types and harvest dates. In the winery these are all vinified separately in small 10 hectolitre open fermenters, with a reasonable proportion of whole bunches and without the addition of cultured yeast. These are foot trodden and hand plunged.
In 2008, an exceptional parcel of grapes was identified and fermented without any de-stemming and given an extended maceration. This parcel has been bottled as an individual wine under the Eagle Eye label.
“I’m aiming for approachability, elegance and complexity. Wine for drinking.” Nick Stock
Eagle Eye Shiraz – Mike Bennie, The Wine Front, www.winefront.com.au, Sept 2012
From the hands of top shelf Australian wine writer Nick Stock and born in his ‘shed’ in Heathcote, Victoria, here comes a different take on shiraz from the region.
I remember tasting Harkham shiraz from the Hunter Valley and seeing another, different expression from that region assigned to bottle, again, when this wine was revealed on the table I was surprised to see Heathcote as GI, and not a wine from an en vogue ‘lighter-shade-of’ producer from Barossa Valley.
Stock does the hands on stuff for the wine, spending a fair whack of his time in his shed – the winemaking is simple, leaving some whole bunches in the mix and fermenting on skins for around 5 weeks. There are no additions save sulphur and the fruit is picked for a touch of extra vitality over concentration of flavour. I believe the eagle eye name and the stylised war-time pilot on the bottle are an homage to his grandfather who served in the Air Force.
Immediately with the ferrous, earthy tones comes deep, dark, briary fruit aromas – it’s heady without being assaulting, but there’s an inch-thick seriousness of Heathcote perfume here. Washy and expressive in the palate, it’s loose knit but still delivers eddying sloshes of black fruit, cinnamon/clove spice and curious slatey, stone-like mineral tannins that hone through the lingering finish. Skins, stems, pips, pulp and juice – a whole grape kind of experience in as much as each sends a message in this wine – juice and brightness of acidity, pulp and robust fruit flavour, skins and chalky, phenolic grip, stems and glassy acidity underlying, then pips and a tickle of bitterness.
Yes, many wines have this, but here it’s not amorphous, translating into detail and feel. In toto, it’s delicious to drink, hedonistic, pure in a hefty way and wicked. More shade than light, but sometimes we love to lurk in the shadows