2008 was an extremely hot and dry vintage. There were superb ripening conditions until March when the Barossa experienced its biggest heatwave of all time with 15 days in a row over 35 degrees celcius. Fortunately, the majority of the grapes were harvested by this time so were not overtly affected. Overall 2008 is a very good vintage, with average yields and great quality.
Bernardo Shiraz is sourced from two blocks on the De Fazio Vineyard. The main block has alluvial soils containing rounded pebbles mixed in red clay and limestone. This block is the remains of an ancient riverbed that runs through the middle of the property. The second block is situated in the north end of the vineyard and consists of red clay over slate and bluestone that provides a challenge for the vine roots to penetrate. Low yielding, the vines on this block produce small, tight bunches that have intense flavour and colour.
The Shiraz vines were harvested between February 28th and March 10th and the grapes gently de-stemmed into open-top fermenters. The grapes were fermented for 8-9 days on skins where hand pump-overs were employed twice daily. The must was traditionally pressed and immediately filled to new and seasoned French and American oak hogsheads where it completed fermentation. The wine was matured in hogsheads for 24 months prior to bottling. Bernardo Shiraz is bottled unfined and unfiltered.
Bernardo Shiraz 2008 is deep red-black in colour. The aroma is powerful and inviting with notes of black cherry, fruit cake, milk chocolate, sweet spice, black olive and pepper. The palate is full-bodied with generous flavours of red and black berries and plum together with chocolate, coffee and spice complemented by subtle barrel characters. Tannins are prominent but rounded and well integrated, adding solid structure. Layered and complex, Bernardo is completed by a dry lingering finish. This is a sophisticated wine that is worthy of cellaring for many years.