Make a grab for new Shadowfax 96-point Pinot

“What a delight. The whole shootin’ match,” is how The Wine Front‘s Gary Walsh began his write-up of Shadowfax’s inaugural single-site Pinot Noir from the Straws Lane vineyard, perched 800m up in the Macedon Ranges. “ It’s a beauty.”

Sub-regionality is a real thing in this, the coolest fine-wine producing region on Australia’s mainland. Its scattered plots show intense personality. And the number of great wines grown here is increasing all the time.

With Al Timms at the helm, Shadowfax is no longer simply “one to watch”. Take your eye of this estate for a second, and you’ll miss a new high watermark. The pinnacle for Al and the team is their Little Hampton vineyard, with its 720m-high plantings turning out as engrossing and eloquent a single-vineyard Pinot as you’ll find in all the land. The 2018 – the sole Pinot to bag gold at both Royal Melbourne Wine Awards and Sydney Royal Wine Show – is a tour de force.

Beyond this, Shadowfax manages four other vineyards scattered across this cool, sparsely planted region, where ideal conditions for the gradual but complete ripening of grapes lend concentration, complexity and texture to the wines. The regional Pinot Noir is characterised by “quiet succulence, and a fine long finish,” according to Gary Walsh. “You’re having it large here, at a very fair price,” he concludes.

The potential is mind-blowing and seemingly limitless, once you throw in a grower with attention to detail and dedicated investment of skill, time and effort. Al has been working vines up here for 20-odd years and the quality of his output is incredibly exciting.

2019 Shadowfax Macedon Ranges Pinot Noir $33

Dark cherry, baking spice, toasted hazelnut, a flicker of mint and rose. It’s mid-weight, flavoursome, a subtle cranberry juiciness, lovely shale-y sort of tannin, maybe boysenberry, quiet succulence, and a fine long finish. You’re having it large here, at a very fair price. 94 points.

Gary Walsh, The Wine Front June 2020

2019 Shadowfax Straws Lane Pinot Noir $54

What a delight. The whole shootin’ match. The dark cherry flavour. The sliding graphite tannin. The cool ‘mineral’ acidity. The length. It’s floral, seasoned with spice and dried herb, offers bass and treble, clean lines, and makes you want to drink it with a feverish haste, which is a rare admission for this little piggy. It’s a beauty. 96 points.

Gary Walsh, The Wine Front June 2020

2018 Shadowfax Little Hampton Pinot Noir $63

Gold Medal, Sydney Royal Wine Show 2019
Gold Medal, Royal Melbourne Wine Awards 2019

Deepish red colour with a trace of purple. The bouquet shows lots of smoky char and stemmy characters skilfully intertwined, foresty and whole-bunchy with a sweetly-perfumed lift which is very fetching. It’s medium- to full-bodied and loaded with dried flower notes and some sinewiness from acidity. The flavour is delicious and very pinoty. 96 points.

Huon Hooke, The Real Review January 2020

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