2019 Standish Release

The Standish 2019 Release

Each year, the Standish shiraz collection is released in two tranches. The first, in May, to the database. This year, in 2021, the Lamella was already sold out just one hour after I received the email, I mistakenly assumed I had time to finish my cup of tea before I placed an order. The second, the much-anticipated retail release, is occurring this year on June 1. These are some of the greatest shiraz available in Australia. Buy avariciously.

The 2019 Vintage

Each wine in the collection – four this year, sadly the gorgeous Andelmonde was not made in 2019 – is a single site thumbprint of vineyards in Barossa and Eden Valley, each with a distinct and eloquent voice, each crafted in the same manner (fermented wild in open top fermenters, 15-20% new French oak). The 2019 vintage was a small make (nothing in comparison to 2020 of course, more disappointment awaits us there) with yields some 30% down on the 2018 vintage. The Eden was even lower, 50% down. The growing season and harvest were characterised by warm, dry daytime conditions and cold cloudless nights, which led to two major frost events in September and November, topped off by wind and hail towards the end of November (both affected fruit set, which in turn affects yields). The rest of the season running up to harvest was generally warm with low rainfall, saved by a cool Feb that eased the ripening into an early finish in March – one of the earliest on record. The ol’ kick in the teeth was true of Barossa in 2019: great quality, tiny yields.


The Wines

Four shiraz wines: Lamella (Eden Valley), Schubert’s Theorem (Marananga), The Relic (1% viognier, Krondorf) and The Standish (Greenock) hit select stores on Monday. As was the case last year, I am releasing a review video on my YouTube channel today (Friday May 28).


The Relic

Hongell Family Vineyard, Krondorf, 99% Shiraz 1% Viognier

EL: Viognier skins or juice? Skins.

DS: Planted a row on the same plot, picked on the same morning and co-fermented.

EL: Hongell family vineyard, as in Ian Hongell of Torbreck? Is there a coincidence there given your history with Torbreck?

DS: The vineyard is owned by Ian’s dad John and his younger brother, Trev. It’s pure coincidence!

The shiraz is muscly and taut beneath the slip of viognier that sits atop. This is brawny and svelte at once – summer apricot, red licorice, blackberry, star anise and spice. I can’t get away from the chermoula lamb vibe that this is giving off, perhaps it’s just a good food suggest. The tannins are polished by the viognier, but retain and gravelly, brutish pitch. This is all curves and streamline, the shape of the wine commands time to let it unravel and straighten out. A class act, a wine for the ages – certainly it’ll live for ages… picking up red raspberry and strawberry as it coasts along, it’s really opening up – giving rise to the suggestion that the wines are compressed and tight right now. The Relic has a bounce and a chew about it – it’s a little flick as it leaves the building, enough to yearn to get it back in – come back! We want more! 14.9%alc.


The Standish

Laycock Family Vineyard, Parb’s Rd, Greenock, 100% Shiraz

EL: From the looks on the map: the fruit is from a vineyard to the east of the Greenock creek and verging up towards the Western Ridge of the Barossa – correct?

DS: Yep, It’s on the Greenock/Moppa border. The bowl on the western ridge – it’s on the east facing slope before you drop into the bowl of Greenock. It’s on the border. Right clone, right aspect, it’s all about the place. Ironstone gravels and layered schist on a bedrock of solid ironstone at 314m above sea level.

Traditionally my favourite wine in the release, not for its immediacy or charm (like the relic) or its elegance and nuance (like the lamella), the Standish brings the savoury brute, it brings the spice, and it brings the staunch. This is the wine in the collection that opens and changes the most as it opens up. It’s got the spicy yin to the fruity yang, wrapped in a fortune cookie of tannin. It’s tannic and dense and honestly pretty unapproachable without enough time to open up so I look forward to seeing it later today. It has a compact spice market located within the confines of the fruit – it’s the usual suspects – star anise, fennel, liquorice root, Szechuan peppercorn, but there’s also fresh grated nutmeg, saltbush, ferrous and red gravel. The wine flexes and contracts and it paces its way across the palate, enduring through the finish, giving us an insight into the folds of flavour and concentration that it will reveal in time. Super impressive, I love it for different reasons to the 18.


’19 Schubert’s Theorem

The Vineyard: Roennfeldt Road, Marananga, 100% Shiraz. Sourced from various sections of the Schubert Family Vineyard. That ‘sparkly black dirt that I talk about in the video is actually crystalline quartz and mica-schist which erupts from the deep red/brown earth, elevation is 272-296m above sea level.

EL: My understanding from when we spoke is that the connection between the name of the wine and the vineyard is both the Schubert family, and the concept of the sum of parts being greater than the whole… reflecting the vineyard sourcing, in effect. Was I right?

DS: Yep. Absolutely. The most sophisticated and interesting fruit comes from the east facing slope; this vineyard is really about the right clone planted in exactly the right spot, on the right dirt.

I think this had the reputation for impenetrable beast last year… but I really don’t see that this year. It is velvety svelte and plush with a midnight core of fruit and tannin. Like a blackhole in space the fruit, spice and tannin swirl in and out of each other’s grooves, this is not placid or still, this is ever-moving, intense and black. The nose is pretty – leafy cassis, raspberry, salted liquorice and dark cocoa. It could be the choice of audio currently (Action Bronson) but there’s a capoeira agility to this wine… it’s lithe and flexible with layers of muscly tannin and lean fruit. There is no point at which the seams that connect the fruit, acid and tannin are able to be unpicked or loosened. Already now it is seamless. It is clear that this wine will chill out in time, its compressed layers will start to expand and fill out. The length of flavour ensures its long life. Epic. Big. Long. Super impressive again. Savoury edge – minerally and exciting. 14.9%alc


‘19 Lamella

The Vineyard: Fruit from Hutton Vale Farm, Eden Valley, 100% Shiraz. Cuttings came from the Mt Edelstone vineyard and were planted in the early 1960’s. The Angas family originally owned the Mt Edelstone vineyard – they sold it to the Henschke family. This vineyard is right in the middle of Mt Edelstone and Hill of Grace vineyards as the crow flies. Dan exclusively sources from the northern part of the vineyard.

It’s got that whiff of bacon fat and blackberry on the nose, pinning it firmly in the Eden. The tannins that wrap the fruit are black and sinewy, but they create a framework that will allow the fruit to expand within it as it opens up. The shape of this wine is undulating and consistent over the palate – it allows you to read the fruit and spice on the horizontal… expanding and contracting like breath. Supremely elegant in the context of the 2019 vintage, and the most open of the four wines in this release. An astounding wine of power and restraint – the pick of the bunch – if we must. The savoury spray of dry ground spice over tannin through the finish is a highlight – its powdery and complex at once. Pretty epic stuff. 14.9% alc


‘16 Lamella

The 3 extra years have really been kind to this wine, immediately the spice on the nose is the first foray in, on the palate those bacon fat savoury flavours from Eden start to propel this into an altogether different space. Strap in, there is road base, blue gravel, salted maple, blackberry, tomato bush, hints of soy, anise, chargrilled wagyu… jasmine tea and more crushed gravel. This really catapults into a new space, one of nuance and balance, the fruit has receded into the tannic framework, showing more complexity and spice than it does on release. It grows somehow…