Chapel Hill The Vicar Shiraz

There are unwritten rules of the wine world that only the most courageous and the most clever dare to break. The decision to release the more approachable 2010 before the more tightly coiled 2009 The Vicar is a laudable decision and further proof that this estate champions taste ahead of convention and convenience. But don’t imagine for an instant that this release is ready to play right away, because The Vicar defines a benchmark for McLaren Vale in structural definition and honed refinement. There is a wonderful juxtaposition here between deep satsuma plum and blackberry fruit, black olives and liquorice, and taut, refined, fine-grained finesse. Confident, firm and mouthfilling structure is scaffolded around a rigid chassis of fine-grained tannins of gripping texture and long-ageing promise. $53 at Dan Murphy’s.