2012 Thousand Candles

thousand candlesFrom the same Syme vineyard in the Yarra Valley as the 2011. About 70% Pinot, 25% Shiraz says William Downie. Not sure what the other 5% is.

A lot more structure than the 2011. It’s built, that much is clear. Surprisingly the acid seems even higher in the mix and there is more tannin. Still lightly framed and sinuous but not quite so much as the inaugural release. Apparently they use more new oak on the Pinot than the Shiraz…so that explains why it tastes and feels more oaky. Sap, musk, red fruits, darker cherry, complex spice and rhubarb. You can’t mistake the dominant grape here. This time around the whole bunch characters are less obvious. It’s more about herbs than cactus and vegetation. Once again it is related to the percentage of Pinot. They use more whole bunch with the Shiraz and this is Pinot dominant. Hints of fennel pollen and roses with granite-like minerality. It hasn’t come close to settling yet which makes it hard to judge. I don’t think the interest level is as high as the 2011 (and I’m talking about the wine not the hype), but I suspect it will garner a wider audience.

The question I have this time round is less about quality and more to do with the stated aim of representing place. This tastes and feels very different to me. Sure, vintage plays a big part but the blend is so fundamentally and significantly different – it’s not really surprising that I don’t see as much in common with the 2011 as I’d hoped given the stated aims. It’s a good wine and very much bound up at the moment but again the price is steep and I’m just not getting much more of a feel for the vineyard. It’s early days for the Thousand Candles project though and it would be foolish to make any definitive judgements just yet. It probably takes more than two wines to get a feel for any place. None of that impacts on the score, which may well need to be adjusted in the future. 91+

Region: Yarra Valley
Alcohol: 12.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Price: $100
Tasted: July 2013


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2 Responses to 2012 Thousand Candles

  1. Again, good summation. You know, I think where like you, I saw this as less aligned with the 2011 than I expected is as much about vintage as anything else. Perhaps in vintages more generous than 2011, this label would always look more plush, and the regular ongoing signature may look more like this. In some senses, this drinks like a unique and delicious premium Pinot. Less left-field perhaps. But still a point of difference.

  2. Yes, I think you’re right Tony – I was probably a little over critical on this matter…especially considering the 2011 vintage is in all likelihood a once in thirty year event.

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