A meaty, savoury, spiced nose, something so welcoming about it, warm and friendly with a touch of perfume, dark chocolate, cinnamon and pink peppercorn to the blackcurrant, damsons and plums. Rich, ample and generous, yet delivered with such supple and velvety-soft tannins. This has an elegance to it, a cool sophistication in terms of the profile - neat and tidy, quite linear right now, brimming with energy, not yet fully expansive or loose, but quietly controlled and calm. It's confident though with invigorating acidity and I love the focus, detail and the purity of fruit. Sweet red fruits - strawberries, raspberries and red cherries with a slight balsamic, pomegranate edge that is so delicious. Juicy, crunchy, succulent and ripe but with an effortless edge to it. Supremely drinkable and likeable - what a gorgeous wine! A quality vintage and excellent winemaking skill on show. Ageing 18 months in French oak. 2025 - 2045
This has attractive dark peaches, red cherries, blood oranges and really exotic fruit aromas with such an expressive nose that is swathed in fragrant spices. The palate has strongly defined dark plums and blackberries and mouthwateringly intense dark cherries. Super succulent and deeply flavored with silky, gently sinewy, young-tannin muscle. A great Armagh for sure. Try from 2028 and drink over the following two decades. Screw cap.
In the context of the four vintages tasted alongside each other here, the 2018 The Armagh Shiraz is the silkiest, the reddest fruited and the most compact. In my opinion, the best Shirazes/Syrahs in this country present (within a sensible ripening bandwidth) a complex array of both sweet and savory fruit characters, not as a result of too little hang time, or too much, but purely as a result of the interaction between the brine, the soil and the climate. This vineyard and this wine achieves that complexity. So here, while the fruit has a mellifluousness and a suppleness that make it insanely attractive, I would suggest waiting a little longer for this wine to gain the momentum that it surely will gain in another year or two. Equally, if you want to see the pristine, almost sparkling fruit on show, then buy two bottles and open one tonight. It is gorgeous. This was my favorite wine here today for its silky, delicate line of tannin and fruit. In perfect sync.