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Saturday, 18 February 2012

Natural Selection Theory: Tom Shobbrook

A timing error on my part meant I had a limited amount of time at the recent Natural Selection Theory tasting held at Spring Brisbane.  I'd previously tasted some of Anton Van Klopper's Domaine Lucci and Lucy Margaux wines, as I had James Erskine's Jauma wines, so for this short opportunity I opted to focus on tasting a few of the wines of Tom Shobbrook (pictured).

A bit about Tom: a Barossa boy, Tom spent 6 years at a leading biodynamic Tuscan Estate - Riecine - before returning in 2007 to his parent's property in Seppeltsfield.  On his return, Tom gained some additional experience working for the Kleins at Ngeringa.  He's now working towards conversion to biodynamic practices on his parents property and that which he owns around Ebenezer.

Eden Valley Riesling 2011: split 40% across tank and 60% in 4-5 year old old oak.  Has the soft florals of the vintage and the lime of the region.  Back end delivers a real citrus burst with requisite mineral and pebble.  The magic happens with fantastic racy length and presence.  Will age tremendously with great acid structure. 93 - Very Good. $35-40

Didi Giallo Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2010: whatever you think Sauvignon Blanc is like, throw those thoughts out of your head.  This is not like that at all (it's nice for a start).  I thought it to be a good Pinot Gris initially.  Honeyed pears, floral, spicy.  Real subtle nuances - full and smooth.   Magical.  95 - Outstanding.  $45

Shobbrook 2011 Nouveau Mourvédre: You'll most likely be a little surprised by the spritz on opening this - a little undissolved CO2 is left in the wine on bottling.  Made in a real drink-now style, it's just a beautiful expression of fruit.  Cherry fruity, rounded mouth-feel - yet there's complexity in there, surprising for a young wine.  Some good chalky tanning completes the picture. 91 - Very Good.  $22

Tom is a captivating individual.  Some will have issue with the winemaking techniques that some of the collective employ, but one thing is certain: the wines have an inherent challenging quality about them, and the Natural Selection Theory collective are a group akin to the 19th century artistic sets.  Urging each other on, challenging themselves to make better wine, constantly pushing the envelope.  For that I admire them.


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