With deep ruby core and tight garnet rim, this 2005 Kay Brothers Hillside Shiraz seems a fiery (14.5%) wine but it works fine. We don’t feel the strong alcohol throughout our 1 hour savouring over an ordinary Cantonese meal. It has fresh, dark fruit soft and plump, as well as tones of nougat, dark chocolate and roasted nuts. The tail is broad and spicy(white preppery), with tobacco and dried fruit.
Comparing across vintages 2005, 2004 and 2006 in a roll, we truly believe the 2006 Kay Brothers Hillside Shiraz is more floral, fresher; the 2004 Kay Brothers Amery Hillside Shiraz reflects terroir(minerality) and tertiary tones(leather, tar, dark chocolates), and is slightly more complex the other 2 vintages. The 2005 is fruitier, fresher, riper, rounder and gives even more energy. All different, but equally impressive in terms of cost performance.
Three points worth noting. Hillside was planted with cuttings from the famous flagship Block 6 Shiraz (selling from HK$700 up). This Block 6 Shiraz comes from centurion vines planted in 1896.
Hillside then uses 50% of the used oak from Block 6 the elder brother’ and employs 50% new mixed Barriques(French, American and Bulgarian). Other stylistic influencers of this Hillside are: fruit driven philosophy of the wine making team, and technical applications such as open tank fermentation; soft, basket-press, small barrels.
28 months in oak have conditioned the bright black cherries on the nose and flavors of blackberry spices (fennel, nutmeg and pepper), vanilla and milk the primal and the right public way- just wealthy without ever becoming sticky, and is never sweetish. But there is no oak monster here the fruit and oak blend well together to make a very interesting whole!
Scores are impressive.
96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2005 Shiraz 'Hillside' was aged for 28 months in mostly American oak. Deep purple in color, it has an enticing, expressive bouquet of smoke, bacon, game, and blueberry. Opulent on the palate, the wine is full-bodied, layered, spicy, ripe, and mouth-filling. The tannins are well-concealed but should permit 5-7 years of evolution in the cellar. Drink this top-notch effort through 2025. (JM) (10/2007)
94 points James Halliday
Outstanding* Bright red fruits, particularly fresh and vibrant on the bouquet; deeply fruited and long, with fresh acidity on the finish. (1/2008)