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Despite being only 2% Viognier, in its current state, Standish’s 2018 The Relic Shiraz-Viognier shows prominent notes of stone fruit and spice, plus the blackberries and blueberries of the Shiraz. Full-bodied, lush and creamy-textured, with a long, silky finish, this beauty should drink well for a couple of decades after its release next year.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 96-99 RPShiraz co-fermented with 2% Viognier, from the Hongell Vineyard in Krondorf, planted 1991. A cascade of aromas: cassis, blackberry, bilberry, creamy Black Forest gateau, black pepper and cardamom, then more savoury kelp, creosote and bloody undertones. Concentrated yet buoyant, with juicy persistence and fine, mouthcoating tannins. Controlled opulence. Drinking Window: 2020 - 2038Decanter | 97 DECFrom an east-facing slope with ridges of quartz, offering very attractive blackberries and plums and some dark violet florals, too. This has a really expressive feel. The palate has plush, fleshy, deep-set fruit flavors and a gently spicy thread. Deep black-fruit finish with rich dark plums and blackberries. Smooth, plush tannin. Full-bodied, but approachable. A 2% co-ferment of viognier. Long, blackberry finish. Drink or hold.James Suckling | 95 JS
The 2021 The Schubert Theorem Shiraz was made with fruit from the Roennenfeldt Road vineyard, in Marananga, with 70% whole bunches in the ferment. The northeastern corner of this vineyard is matured in concrete egg to preserve the blue-fruited core that defines the style of this wine; it is the only cuvée that features an alternate maturation vessel. I knew (before and) when I tasted the 2019 and 2020 vintages what I was going to get, by and large. When I was in the Barossa in June 2021, I was already thinking about what the Schubert would look like from this year, as the perceived fit of season and style had the potential to dovetail in a most titillating fashion—a "stars aligning" kind of thing. A cool season overlays a warm site capable of producing dark, dense, sometimes brooding, always pure Shiraz. The combination of concrete egg (and, in this case, a slightly shorter maturation in this vessel) and cooler year has produced a wine of scintillating precision and fruit sweetness. It glows with its own black light. It shimmers and oscillates between fruit luminescence and plush tannic texture, and in doing so, it barely contains its own energy and abundance. The distinction between this profusion of fruit and the old "fruit bombs" of yore is the precision of acid and pliable fruit tannin that defines the middle palate and the ability of the fruit (courtesy of the winemaking) to shine through the vessels in which it matured. The tannin that shapes the wine is plentiful, make no mistake, yet it is ductile and fine and threads through every aspect of the palate. A thrilling Schubert this year, it’s like a strike of lightning on a dark night. This wine appeals most fervently to my penchant for freshness, energy and resonant bass line. 14.9% alcohol.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 99 RP
The 2021 The Relic Shiraz-Viognier is made with fruit from the Hongell family vineyard, Krondorf. It was made with 1% Viognier co-fermented, with 25% whole bunches in the ferment this year, up from 15% to 20% in 2020. The Relic is one of Australia’s greatest Shiraz Viognier wines, and it’s a sure thing each year for quality and execution of style. In 2020, it was my preferred wine of the collection for its savory, meaty/bacon fat/bloody character. All elements were in balance, and it managed a savory and floral drive within the same glass. Super cool. This year, I love the wine for all the opposite reasons. The 2021 is creamy, plush and almost sybaritic in its outlay of fruit and tannin. At 15.5% alcohol, it’s the highest alcohol wine in the 2021 release, yet it doesn’t show that via warmth or harshness in the wine. The whole-bunch component is up slightly this year from last, and honestly, it feels completely invisible in the wine. This is undoubtedly the biggest, most plush wine in the collection, but true to form for Standish, it is balanced and fresh, with a long future in front of it.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 98 RP
The 2021 The Standish Shiraz was made with fruit from the Laycock family vineyard, Greenock, with 30% whole bunches in the ferment. The Standish Shiraz was the first cuvée launched by Dan Standish in 1999, and the wine is routinely typified by its muscular tannin shape and earthy, savory fruit. The most attractive part of this wine is the splay of exotic market spice (namely sumac, black pepper, star anise and fresh cardamom) that sails in on the coattails of the red/purple fruit. It has all the exoticism and romance of a hike through the mountains of Morocco, yet it, perhaps more than any other wine in the collection, speaks of the Barossa in a clear enunciated voice. So, where does it fit in 2021? The 2021 The Standish Shiraz is finer, prettier and lighter than I have ever seen it at this stage of its life. It has all the spice and Barossan identity that is expected; however, it misses the dense baritone of fruit that is present in earlier iterations. Whether you think that is a positive or not is up to you—I am fond of this wine throughout all its incarnations. Vintage variation is responsible for the spark of curiosity and joy that I experience every year during this release, and the real triumph in 2021 is the ability of the vineyard (this vineyard) to shine through the season that shaped it. 14.9% alcohol.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 96 RP
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