As Australia evolves to better define its own distinctive terroir through sub-regional definition, we shouldn't forget how many of our very best wines represent a skillfully blended composition of multiple vineyards. Peter Lehmann's magnificent 1996 Stonewell harnesses an appetising combination of predominantly north/north-central Barossa shiraz, drawing fruit from the sub-regions of Greenock, Stonewell, Siegersdorf, Moppa and Koonunga Hill. Whatever's going on here - works in my opinion!
Showing a gorgeous fragrance with ample character, complexity and vibrancy, Peter Lehmann's 1996 Stonewell reveals a balanced, savoury nose underlined by splendid depth of fruit. There's varnish and mushroom scents, maybe a hint of truffle too, with flicks of white pepper and classic cedar/vanilla oak complementing a dry aromatic edge to its wonderfully regional, stained black fruit base. By Barossa standards, its palate is gently weighted and practically medium-bodied in the way it draws out a perfectly elegant, leathery expression of blackcurrant and red cherry flavours; however, an incredibly lively finish really steals the show here. Very long and vivid, its growing leathery and fresh vanilla complexity is kept alive and kicking to the end, courtesy of a binding extract of ultra-fine tannins and slick acid which complement its deliciously persistent flavour without muscling it out. Oh yeah. A 96 for the '96.
ü+ A beautifully complex, seamlessly balanced, somewhat subtle and elegant Barossa shiraz with plenty of fruit richness at its core. It's such a fine example of what the style is capable of with a bit of age. Drink to 2014.