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Greenock Creek Apricot Block Shiraz 2014 750ml, Barossa Valley

$60.00

Since I opened this bottle a week ago, it's been like taking a Ghost Train ride through the old East End Fruit and Vegetable Markets, trying to guess by their aroma whose stalls you're passing in the dark, and what wonders their barrows held as you already reach the next station. It's like a constant gradual swoop through a great range of fruits, moods, shocks and confections.

This one has a little of that aniseed piquancy the Alices was throwing about, but here it's more mellow and politely hiding in the rich marshmallow-and-musk slurp. Lemon, too, like a sabayon with juniper berries. Cedary oak: somebody's just played with your fire. And then the deep well of blackness. Oh my goodness. As if to stiffen the metal of its lemony acidity, this year the Alices shows more rusty iron than I recall happening in previous vintages. Probably some grapeshot ironstone down there on top of the clay. There's ironstone along some of the ridgetops, like north of the Seppelts' Mausoleum, and it'll be in the recent clays and loams on either side. Which is all on top of the real old rocks. Again. It's heady with citrus rind, like mandarin peel left on the stove. And mace. And all those quinces and figs and currants and glacé cherries. And yes, the old tell-tale dried apricots soaking for a tart. Sometimes that apricot whiff reminds me of streuselkuchen, the perfect local apricot yeastcake.

This year it's more like panettone, an Italian model, soused in liquor and served in a trifle with all sorts of quivering black gels, berries and jams. And chips of fresh nougat. Its alcohol, its tapering acidity and drawn-out galvo tannins make a very racy composite chassis for that great engine groaning within. Very trippy.

Philip White, 2016


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