After a couple of so-so releases of Black Shiraz (or at least as I've seen it), the Joseph now sits firmly as my most prized sparkling red. Joe Grilli's tall-bottled icon is something of a super cuvée, combining every shiraz Joe's made since the 1980's with a random selection of matured Australian reds from the 1960's and 70's, a hogshead of Joseph's Moda Cabernet Merlot and some fine Australian fortified wines as dosage. Just thinking of this process causes me to envision Joe as a crazed alchemist, cackling away whilst conjuring up his sinister brew.
Immediately proclaiming the combination of maturity and freshness I ultimately seek in sparkling reds, Joseph's spectacular 2010 disgorgement scatters leafy/herbal aromas over charry oak, tobacco, dark cherries and perhaps even animal hide (dry, not damp if that makes any sense), with its collection of fragrant savoury tones communicating complexity and masculinity. The downright delicious palate balances medium weight with imposingly rich, savoury flavours and a very dry structure, as it forages into the mouth with wonderful elegance and complexity, meshing dusty tannins with tickly effervescence to draw out an exceptionally well directed, very long and fine finish, beset with lingering notes of dry herbs and licorice at the climax. I love its savoury elegance, richness and intense dryness.
ü+ Now here's a wine to convert doubters of sparkling reds. It's difficult for me to see how even the most discerning drinker wouldn't like this. Quite literally, it's got it all. Yes! Drink to 2018.