The Mount Edelstone vineyard, situated in the Eden Valley, was planted in 1912 by Ronald Angas, a descendant of George Fife Angas, who founded South Australia. Unusual for its time, it was planted solely to shiraz. The ancient 500-million-year-old soils on the vineyard are deep red-brown clay-loam to clay, resulting in low yields from the nearly 100-year-old dry-grown ungrafted Centenarian vines. First bottled as a single-vineyard wine in 1952, it became recognised as one of Australia’s greatest shiraz wines.
The 2009 vintage was preceded by another cold, drought winter. It was the coldest August since 1951. Spring had a few heat spikes up into the mid to high 30s and some frost damage in low-lying areas. It was the driest September for 30 years and the driest October on record. Staggered flowering resulted from cool weather, which reduced the fruit set. Some varieties were also pruned back hard to just a few spurs to allow them to survive with no water. Rain arrived mid-December, making it the wettest month of the whole year. The cool southerlies continued through into the new year, reminiscent of 2005. December didn’t record any days over 32C. January brought a record six days over 40C, not seen since 1908, causing vine stress, exacerbated by drought conditions and empty dams, followed by another week of hot weather culminating in a 46C day on Black Saturday on February 7. Fortunately subsequent weather was mild and dry, with perfect ripening weather from March 1 moving into autumn mode. A strong change brought a general rain across the state with 10-20mm in early March, which helped with ripening and flavour development. The Indian summer in late March brought ripening forward with all the whites finished and in the winery by early April. The resultant red quality was excellent.
Deep red with violet hues. Intense, classic aromas of rich, ripe satsuma plums, blue and black berry fruits are supported by cedar, tar and Mount Edelstone’s characteristic bay leaf, sage and pepper spice. The elegant palate is focused with lashings of lush, ripe plum fruit, black pepper, sage oil and exotic Indian spices; complex and textured with fine, velvety tannins for an extended and concentrated finish.
96 points - James Halliday