Pharos is the premium red wine from Brick Bay, produced only in excellent vintages. In 2014 we have a wine of intensely complex aromas: berries, earthy spices, liquorice, leather and chocolate. The brooding palate celebrates layered dark berries and plums, floral elegance and svelte tannins.
In the Vineyard:
2014 was the second excellent vintage in a row for us here at Brick Bay, with a mild winter and an early spring producing a good healthy, disease-free canopy.
We experienced some early January rainfall before settling into a warm dry summer.
The grapes moved into veraison earlier than usual and we rushed to net in the third week of January to protect from the ravenous birds who swoop in at the first sign of colour.
Our vineyard team worked hard at fruit-thinning and leaf plucking, allowing sun and air to penetrate the leafy canopy, and by early April we had started to hand-harvest.
Juggling the decisions of when to pick, with an eye on weather and fruit condition, is one of the more nerve-wracking tasks of the vintage. Hunting down wasp nests was a time-consuming occupation this year, as wasps were present in large numbers in the district, attracted by ripening grapes. It was a case of patiently waiting for optimum flavours to develop, taking care that we retain that all-important acidity and ensuring the sugar levels are not excessive to give us overly alcoholic wines.
Harvest date: 1st – 30 April 2014
Bottling date: July 2015
Composition: 52% Petit Verdot 36% Malbec 9% Cabernet Franc 3% Merlot
TA: 6 pH: 3.3
Quantity produced: 250 dozen
In the Winery:
In the winery, each of the 4 varieties was destemmed and crushed separately into small open-top fermenters. A selected yeast instigated fermentation, with the rising ‘cap’ of skins initially hand-plunged four times daily. As alcoholic fermentation proceeded, the plunging regime was decreased to avoid over-extraction. After a period of post-fermentation maceration to add structure and balance, the wine was racked, the skins gently pressed, settled, then aged largely in new French oak barriques. Different coopers and forest origins were utilized to optimize the potential of each grape varietal. After 10 months, selected barriques were blended together. The wine was then bottled without fining and bottle-aged for a further 2 years before release.
An intensely deep purple-red in colour, hinting of the complexity of aromas and flavours to follow:
layered dark berries and plums, exotic earthy spices, leather and charcuterie. Savour chocolate, raspberry, liquorice and a lifted floral elegance on the palate with a brooding, lingering finish.
Totally approachable now, but in stable cellaring conditions, will continue to evolve and develop further complexity over the next 7-12 years.
Cameron Douglas, Master Sommelier, writes ...
From a blend of Petit Verdot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Merlot this wine presents opaque in appearance with a deep purple and ruby core changing at the rim to a youthful pink hue. Aromas and flavours of dark forest berries, baked plum, violets, bitter chocolate, blackberry, a herbal quality and toasty smoky wood. Dry with an abundance of texture from firm youthful fruit and wood tannins, medium+ acidity and a core of red berry and plum fruit flavours. Clove and vanilla, no mistaking the bite of oak. Lengthy youthful finish. this wine is a puppy and needs cellar time to integrate further over the next 3-5 years. Best drinking from 2021 through 2031. 95pts
Bob Campbell, Master Sommelier writes...
A blend of petit verdot, malbec, cabernet franc and merlot produced only in excellent years. Dense, flavoursome wine with weight and power. Dark berry, violets, fresh herb, wood smoke and dried fruits, Christmas cake characters. A big yet elegant wine with cellaring potential. 93pts
The 100-point scale:
95-100 Classic: A great wine
90-94 Oustanding: a wine of superior character & style
85-89 Very Good: a wine with special qualities
80-84 Good: a solid, well-made wine
75-79 Mediocre: a drinkable wine that may have minor flaws
50-74 Not recommended