The 2018 Command Shiraz is finally available, and it is not to be missed!
As a vintage, the 2018 growing season started off well, with winter rainfall around 10% higher than average. However, spring rainfall was down by about a quarter and December was about half of the Barossa average. These weather conditions allowed canopies in the vineyard to grow quickly and healthily, which in turn helped flowering and the resultant bunches were ideal.
January and February remained warm and dry, but the icing on the cake was the Indian summer of March and early April, without extremes nor rainfall, and was perfect for finishing off a very fine vintage. In the winery, the fact that the vintage was long meant that absolute attention to detail could be afforded to every parcel of wine.
The Command looked sensational in ferment, with unbelievable colours and flavours putting a smile on the faces of the whole winemaking team. After maturing in new American and French oak puncheons, the wine remained in barrel for almost 3 years, and was bottled in early 2021.
This is a wine that screams big and beautiful Barossa Shiraz. Not a shrinking violet, this is a wine that commands attention and respect.
With 96 points from the Wine Advocate, James Suckling and Decanter (winning Gold in their wine show) and 95 from James Halliday (in a year where editor Tyson Stelzer was largely unkind to many Barossa producers) it is evident that this is a wine that has impressed the most discerning of palates.
“The 1894 planted Command Shiraz vineyard is really something that is just so special. It simply knows what you want it to do and gets on with doing it outstandingly. It really does deserve its mantle as one of the great vineyards of Australia.”
– Jules Ashmead, our Head of Production.
With very small vintages of Command coming in 2019 (due to frost) and 2020 (due to high winds and extreme heat during flowering), we very much recommend you to put the 2018 Command in the cellar for future drinking greatness.
Jules and Brock have written their winemaker notes to share with you:
The winter preceding the 2018 vintage delivered sufficient rainfall to set up the vines for a healthy growing season. There was very little rain to interfere with ripening and this also allowed us to make all picking decisions based purely on fruit profile. From the river we see a gradual increase in clay content across the rows which corresponds with a decrease in vigour over the block. For this reason we harvest the block in several batches aiming to achieve the perfect balance in each batch. We harvested the 2018 Command Shiraz over three weeks from 7 – 22 March, bringing a little fruit in earlier with a tight acid line and the last fruit to come in with a deeper, more plush palate weight to balance.
We used a combination of heading boards and standard open fermentation combined with a small amount of barrel fermentation to create the Command blend. Post pressing our Command batches were transferred to a combination of new French and American oak from coopers we know and trust. Here the wine went through malolactic fermentation and further ageing to allow the powerful fruit to come together with the tannin profile present in the fruit and oak.
Aroma Lifted red fruits and plummy depth with hints of spicy oak
Palate Rich and attractive spicy fresh ripe berries, supported by silky tannins that together provide a focused structure, and a powerful yet elegant finish flush with fruit to balance the tannins
The 2018 Command won GOLD at the Decanter World Wine Awards in late 2021 and we were also pleased in December to have the 2018 Command named in James Suckling’s Top 100 Wines of Australia 2021!
A great release of Command, this carries the bold and deeply flavorful style of the vintage effortlessly, a vintage that played into the natural style of this rich Barossa Valley shiraz. There’s so much to love about this wine, from the rich blackberry, red-plum and spice aromas and flavors to the silky, fine and long tannins. Floats long on the smooth finish.
96 points, Nick Stock, JamesSuckling.com
Take Ancestor Vines (planted in 1894), a great vintage, experienced winemaking, add 30 months of aging in American and French oak, and the result is the stunning 2018 Command Single Vineyard Shiraz. Boasting fabulous density and concentration, this full-bodied effort is still almost embryonic in its development, with tarry, mocha, yet lifted notes accenting intense blackberry fruit; a rich, supple yet structured mouthfeel, and a long, mouthwatering finish. Once it hits its stride in a few years, it should drink well for 20 years or more.
96 points, Joe Czerwinski, The Wine Advocate
Story from our newsletter, the Elderton Buzz – March 2022 edition