Dry Red No. 2 is in Northern Rhone Côte Rôtie style, whose fruit is from 1973 plantings of Shiraz. This 2006 vintage composed also from 2% Marsanne and 2% Viognier. Dry Red No. 1 is a Bordeaux Blend. Both are from the cooler Victoria which provides a longer maturing time for vines, hence both are considered 'French' by some.
Sensual and perfumed like a Cote Rotie, this Number 2 bottle is elegant and would have been coined a Rhone’s Burgundy(if that place exists at all), though its richness of fruit and structure(15% ABV) is distinctly Australian. On the nose, there is intense, ripe black shiraz fruits, black pepper and power. On the palate, bodied with a long and complex finish.
Number 2 uses hand-picked grapes, basket-pressed, which pass through a vintage crusher destemmer. It also uses lots of stalks not just for extra tannin(and ageing potential), but also for extra juiciness to the mid-palate, hence the style. The juice goes straight to barrel in underground cellars; the finished wines are neither fined nor filtered, hence the intensity and length.
Twenty years ago in an HKWS tasting, a flight of Number 2 pitted against some bottles of Cote Rotie did not win as expected, but did leave some solid impression amongst tasters of the evening. First, there is always an underlying power exists for any Number 2 vintages of the evening. Second, the Viognier offers lifted aromatics to the nose, while the core of pure, silky black fruit on the palate is funky and sexy. Third, the corners of each Number 2 vintage were not rubbed off– not even a bit- and there’s always room for the edginess to show unlimited expression and potential.
Scores are impressive, for example, WA 95/100
WA - The 2006 Dry Red Wine #2 is composed of 96% Shiraz with 2% Viognier and 2% Marsanne. It is more opulent and layered than the Underhill cuvee with a noticeable aromatic lift from the addition of the white varietals. Elegant and exceptionally long, this beautifully rendered effort is a hedonistic turn-on for drinking over the next decade.