This dry grown, 5 acre block is situated on some tough loamy clay adjacent to The Hunter Resort on Hermitage Road in Pokolbin, and was planted by the legendary Johnnie Walker in 1967. Having tasted some amazing wines made from these vines over the years, this was the vineyard Thommo was most interested in when he started his own brand in 1997. Unfortunately, it was well and truly spoken for at that time. Fast forward a decade, to my surprise the lease over this vineyard became available, so naturally he jumped at the opportunity. The first vintage from this vineyard under the Thomas label was 2009.
Extremely low yielding (only 0.5 Tonnes/acre in 2010), these vines produce very small bunches and tiny berries, resulting in a relatively high skin to juice ratio. Reasonably gentle maceration during fermentation is employed to ensure that the wine is not over extracted, and maturation was carried out in French (72%) and American (28%) oak. The result is a wine that is certainly in the ‘muscular’ end of the medium bodied spectrum, but with an underlining silky texture.
The 2010 Motel Block Shiraz is typically dense in crimson purple. The nose has intense blue and black fruits, with a touch of red earth and the quality oak has integrated into the wine very nicely. The palate has similar concentrated dark berry fruits, and is underpinned by a firm yet supple tannin structure leading to a long and savoury finish. Drink 2012 – 2025.
94 points - James Halliday