Shobbrook is back! This is Tom's Syrah made from very old vines (roughly 80 years old), but as is his want, this is not the typical jammy blackcurrant Shiraz you might expect from the Barossa Valley - it's much lighter on its feet. Here there grapes were split; half de-stemmed and direct pressed, the other macerated as whole bunches for three weeks, then put back together and aged in old barrels. If Poolside (Tom's pale, elegant way with the same grape) is at one end of the spectrum, then this is at the other - a little fuller and rustic around the edges. We only received a couple of cases of this one - limited quantities.
Some nice words about Tom from his UK importer: To say that the wine scene in Australia would not be where it is today without this man would be a gross understatement. A few years back now, the export of Australian wine was ruled by one central office and if your wines did not match what their view of Australian wine was, it did not get an export license. This was the end of the Penfolds era, Yellowtail was on the rise, these were the preferred, homogenous face of Australian wine. It took Tom and close friends James Erskine, Anton Von Klopper and their late partner Sam, literally walking directly into the offices of the Australia wine marketing board and insisting that they should be able to export their wines, showing the orders that had come in from overseas, for this mentality to change.
For a moment it seemed that we were never going to see these wines. The last few years have been extremely difficult for Tom. Since 2007 on his return to Australia from Italy, his focus had been to help his parents by buying all the fruit from their vineyards and selling it under his label. He achieved this goal around 2017/18 - no more sales to Two hands or Lehmann, only the Shobbrook label. The following year his parents sold the farm, without warning Tom. He was given around 10 days to shift 70,000 litres of wine to a makeshift shed at his new home in the hills. Due to the lack of additions in Toms wines and the lack of time they had to move the wines, all the wine was lost. He almost gave up, over a decade of struggling to be rewarded this way. Fortunately he is Tom. His persona for those of you who know him, is positive and kind. Other growers were happy to offer him vineyards or fruit while he waited for his own farm to start producing enough, most likely starting in 2022.
For now all the fruit for the 2020 wines comes from the floor of the Barossa Valley, just outside Tanunda in Vine Vale. Sand over yellow clay, layered by generations of erosion. The sand descending from the Adelaide hills above. With vines aged from 25 to 100 years old, the parcel is a real field blend of the history and the trends of the last century in the Barossa. From Riesing to Syrah with some Cabernet Franc and Cinsault to name but a few.