Barossa Mystery 2005
$78; 14.5% alcohol; cork(!); 94+++ pointsExquisitely complex, alluring, fine, dry and elegant, this wickedness is intensely wholesome indeed. A deep, gently stewing compote of all berries red, blue and black, prunes, figs, tweaked to a sharp edge with great seasoned oak and the acrid gunpowdery effect which wild yeast and dry old terroir can impart, it’s very simply one of the best reds to pass this desk in yonks. It has a little mild chocolate, too. Not A. P. John’s Barossa cooperage chocolate. Nope. This is like cooling baked chocolate mousse. The palate’s sinuous and lithe, almost writhing in its intense determination to occupy you. The tannins are amazing: maybe schisty overall; maybe mudstone/slate, with an avuncular twist of briar. But that fruit takes over completely in the finish: as essential and refined as classic Barossa red can get. I suspect the alcohol is higher than 14.5%, because the finish is just the teeniest bit hot. There are other minor imperfections – a little too much coal dust; the faintest whiff of cork dust – but the rest of the wine has the intensity and impetus to flood over that, which it does ever so slowly, like a desert stream gradually fanning out over the floodplain of your palate. It’s bloody awesome now, but give it a decade and, well, there won’t be any left in a decade ... it’s too good!