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Viv Thomson highlights the historical significance of the Thomson Family vines whilst Justin talks about the 2012 vintage in this short video.
Today, this wine is only made in the very best vintage years and is called Thomson Family Shiraz. It has been made nine times in 20 years and has become a highly collectible and sought-after wine. The 15 rows of original vines produce only very small amounts of fruit, cropped at less than two tonnes per acre (four tonnes per hectare) and then meticulously hand-harvested, selected and sorted. Only approximately 300 cases of our flagship wine are released in our very ‘best’ years.
The vines are referred to by the CSIRO as the Concongella clone and it is the mother clone of all subsequent Shiraz plantings at Best’s Great Western.
The Langton’s Classification for Thomson Family Shiraz is ‘Outstanding’:
“The particularly rare Best's Thomson Family Shiraz is one of Victoria's greatest wines and represents a window to Australia's winemaking past. Like Henschke Hill of Grace and Penfolds Block 42 in the Barossa Valley, the Best's Concongella Vineyard 1860s plantings at Great Western belong to Australia's rich heritage of ancient genetic and pre-phylloxera vineyards.
The fifteen rows of dry grown Shiraz vines, well over 140 years old, are the source material for the Thomson Family. It is a rich, generous wine with brilliant blackberry meaty fruit underpinned by cedar oak and gravelly tannins. The wine is open-fermented in small ‘tubs’ and then matured in a 50/50 combination of new and old oak for approximately 24 months”. Ref: Langton’s.
Thomson Family Shiraz 2010
“It’s always a privilege to drink this wine as it’s from seriously old vines and pouring it fills me with a sense of history and respect. It’s a wonderful, if still brooding, fuller bodied shiraz. The 2010 is a dark, earthy shiraz, richly flavoured and concentrated yet fragrant with spice nuances, its cedary oak integrated and its ripe, round tannins velvety. A fine tuned and structured wine that’s built for aging (20 plus years), although if you drink this so young, partner it with chargrilled scotch fillet and horseradish."
Jane Faulkner, The Age Epicure. 26 May, 2012
What price history? Made mainly from shiraz Henry Best planted in 1867, this Australian classic has a profound fragrance driven by sweet berry fruit, floral hints, peppery spice dark earth and toasty oak. It's ripe and velvety in the mouth, with extraordinary depth and carry, supported by ultra-fine, dry tannins. Ageing? Yes, three to 15 years. Food ideas - venison; fillet of beef.
Ralph Kyte-Powell, The Age Epicure, 01 May 2012
“This is a tremendous wine. Just terrific. The tannin feels so mature, so long, so sinewy. The fruit flavours are ripe and blueberries – and intense – but there is no heaviness here. Musky, vanillin oak plays an assertive role but given time, this won’t be an issue. Has an iodine character to it. A small amount of spice. A commanding presence. It finishes – eventually – with searing length. 96 pts”
Campbell Mattinson, The Wine Front, 6 March 2012
"Without doubt one of the great Australian reds produced from a vineyard planted almost 150 years ago by Henry Best in Victoria’s Great Western region. Sophisticated, sensual array of black fruit, integrated spice and pepper, chocolate characters, perfect poise and silken tannins. Drink with kangaroo fillets or cellar for up to two decades.
Kerry Skinner, Illawarra Mercury, 14 March 2012