- Barossa Valley, SA
Charles Melton's Nine Popes is recognised as Australia's benchmark interpretation of a southern Rhone blend. With heat, drought, a compressed vintage and low yields, 2007 proved a real headache for South Australian growers, but some old-vine grenache styles provided real highlights from both McLaren Vale and the Barossa.
Presenting a deep, dark crimson colour, the 2007 Nine Popes opens to a vividly ripened, rich and somewhat meaty nose of raisins and plum fruits smoothed over by sweet vanilla oak, causing it to appear a bit oaky at this stage and in need of more time to integrate. Incredibly dense and plump, its weighty palate pumps out a smorgasbord of bright fruit flavours, revealing raspberry, rhubarb, plums, currants and game meats with a sprinkling of cinnamon stick character. There's an even coverage of fair tannins, glossy acids and an expansive sweetness emanating from its deeply fruited core, but the sweetness seems to be imparted more from sweet, smoky oak as opposed to confectionery Barossa grenache.
O This very youthful Nine Popes is presently too sweetly fruited and too sweetly oaked to genuinely thrill me. It does possess real weight and depth though, so given the choice I'd sit some aside for a while in the hope of encouraging complex savoury development and integration. Drink 2013-2015.