Noon Reserve Shiraz 2004
Noon Reserve Shiraz 2004

Noon Reserve Shiraz 2004

Sale price$220.00
Langhorne Creek, South Australia, Australia

Style: Red Wine

Variety: Shiraz

Closure: Cork

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Noon Reserve Shiraz 2004

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Burke Road
Camberwell VIC 3124

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Producer: Noon

Country: Australia

Region: Langhorne Creek

Vintage: 2004

Critic Score: 98

Alcohol: 16.0%

Size: 750 ml

Drink by: Now

This brilliant Shiraz boasts great intensity and superb richness - Robert Parker

"Life is too short not to be drinking the wines of Drew and Rae Noon, with their incredible perfume, extraordinary purity and layers of fruit."  Robert Parker

Drew and Rae Noon took over this cult boutique winery in McLaren Vale from Drew's father in 1996. A spot on their mailing list commands Wendouree-like bragging rights. Noon produces three red wines; the Eclipse Grenache Shiraz, Reserve Shiraz and Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. Grapes are sourced from five small vineyard blocks, the largest being the 2.4ha Winery Block which was planted to Grenache in 1934. Their talent, passion and quiet respect for the land they nurture and the vines they tend - they are gentle, considered people - have allowed them to produce earth-shattering red wines. 

"The 2004 Shiraz Reserve boasts great intensity, superb richness, and a glorious perfume of camphor, acacia flowers, blueberries, and blackberry liqueur. Unctuously textured, rich, and dense, this brilliant Shiraz should age effortlessly for 12-15 years."  Robert Parker

The 2004 Reserve Shiraz was produced from 100% Shiraz sourced from the 1.6ha '20 Rows' Block at Langhorne Creek owned by the Borrett family that was planted in 1962. The vineyard is planted on deep alluvial clay loam soils on the original Langhorne Creek flood plain. Maturation takes place in French and American oak barriques, 35% new, for 18 months.

Expert reviews

"The 2004 Shiraz Reserve, aged in large American oak hogsheads and foudres for 18 months, boasts great intensity, superb richness, and a glorious perfume of camphor, acacia flowers, blueberries, and blackberry liqueur. Unctuously textured, rich, and dense, this brilliant Shiraz should age effortlessly for 12-15 years.

This estate's brilliant owners/winemakers, Drew and Rae Noon, are meticulous about everything, including what happens at the vineyards where they contract for fruit. The results are some of the most precise, full-bodied yet remarkably vibrant wines produced in Australia. Drink 2006-2021."  Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate - 98 points

Drew Noon

Drew Noon at his winery

The text below is taken from Milton Wordley's article 'People of Wine',  

Noon Wines was established in 1976 by your parents, were they always farmers or grape growers?

No, Dad was the son of an Anglican minister who at one stage looked after the Lyndoch Parish in the Barossa.

Dad grew up there and spent a lot of his early life in wine and rural areas.

He didn’t follow his father into the ministry but became a language teacher, teaching French at Saint Peters College in Adelaide.

Unfortunately Dad developed epilepsy in midlife.

When he started having seizures in the classroom, he needed to make a change to the way he made a living. He had history in South Australian wine regions, as well as in France where he taught English in a little town called Auriac in the 1950’s.

Mum and Dad bought a holiday house at Aldinga Beach in the ‘60’s and they really liked it down here. This led them to purchasing our vineyard in 1967; at the time it was a 24 acre mixed farm with almonds and apricots.

They had trouble making a living from hand knocked almonds and apricots.

Dad more and more looked towards the grapes as the main crop and started dabbling in making wine. One of the first wines he made was a Rosé, influenced by his experience in France.

Our cellar door opened to the public in 1976.

Rae & I pinch ourselves some days as we bought the place in 1996 from Mum and Dad so in a commercial sense we’ve been in charge longer than they were!

What were the early days in McLaren Vale like for you?

I grew up here and I’ve lived here for around 50 years. Luckily Rifle Range Road is a no-through road so not much has changed on this block in that time.

We really appreciate the silence and the peaceful life we have here.

There have been lots of changes in our region though; there’s more lights at night around the Vale, you can even see the Cube on the other side of the valley.

I went to school just up the road in Willunga. It was all very small.

Dad and Mum had started with not much money.

I still remember the winery shed with dirt floors. To me Dad was someone who was learning as he went.

At the time I was busting to get away and see the world, McLaren Vale was just too small. I did get out and that was great, leading me in a complete circle to come happily home again.

We’re conscious of this with our kids.

I went off and saw a lot of larger scale wine production and eventually realised how good it can be to keep it small.

But I had to see another world and it took a while.

I’m thrilled to be here now.

When did you get an interest in wine?

I was interested from a very young age, ever since Dad started making wine in the ‘70s. I suppose I grew up with it, just kind of fell into it you might say.

I have four sisters and we all used to prune and pick. Same as our kids do now, when we need help they are involved.

There was a time when I half wondered if I was doing the right thing and perhaps should have looked at something else. Luckily I liked it from the very beginning and now I’m delighted I chose wine.

You’re an MW, did you study winemaking?

After high school I decided to apply to go to Roseworthy Ag College to study winemaking.

In those days they looked favourably on applicants with a family wine connection, and I was accepted which led to a lot of fortuitous circumstances.

In our last year of study we had to do a harvest somewhere commercially to get experience.

That’s something I fully support because you need to gain practical knowledge and not just focus on the technical stuff.

Mentoring works very well in wine… being with someone who knows what they’re doing and learning from their experience is invaluable. I went to Tyrrells in the Hunter Valley.

That was when I started to realise how good this place here in McLaren Vale was.

Tyrrells was full of big old barrels, sheds with dirt floors and natural ferments.

I’d just come out of Roseworthy with ideas about filters, selected yeasts and modern machinery and I thought "Wow, what’s going on here?"

The wines tasted bloody good and so I thought maybe you don’t need all that stuff.

I spent five years at Tyrrells then five years in Victoria with the Department of Ag and then five years in Port Macquarie with John Cassegrain.

I thank Murray Tyrrell for a lot, he opened my eyes to the classic wines of the world, many of which I’d never tried before.

He took a few of us under his wing. During harvest we’d all go out for dinner, often to a place called Blaxland’s Barn, and he’d bring wines from his cellar; mostly Burgundies but all sorts of amazing wines.

When I tasted a few of these I thought ‘far out’ I’ve got to learn more about this.

Michael Hill Smith was the first Australian to go to London and pass the Master of Wine exams. I thought about it but as a young man I couldn’t afford to go to London.

So when the Master of Wine was offered in Sydney I decided to give it a go.

I first sat the exam in 1992 and passed the theory part. Andrew Caillard went through with me and he passed before me.

I had a few attempts at the tasting. In 1996, Rae and I moved home to McLaren Vale and I finally passed the exam in 1998.

I learnt a lot, I don’t want to compare it to Roseworthy, they were both incredibly valuable but it did take me to a different place.

I’m very glad I did it.

I’m still involved as a volunteer. I’m involved in helping new students prepare for the exams through the education program.

You bought the winery from your parents in 1996: did you plan to make any changes?

By the time I came here I had a lot of experience under my belt that really helped us.

We were very lucky taking over in 1996 because it was the beginning of another red wine boom.

It was fate how I ended up back here.

Mum and Dad had asked a few years earlier if I was interested in taking over. My journey wasn’t complete at that stage, I was discovering other things and I just wasn’t ready in terms of valuing this place.

I said thanks, but no thanks. At the time I wasn’t sure I wanted to come back to McLaren Vale, so they put the property on the market.

Then one Sunday afternoon Mum and Dad rang and told us they had sold the place but the deal had fallen through.

I literally hung up the phone and said to Rae, “What do you think it would be like to move back to McLaren Vale?"

We decided then and there that we should take it on; we didn’t even know the price.

When we arrived home Rae cried, she had never seen bush vines in winter before. It was cold and windy, the vines were dormant and lost in the grass.

I’m sure she and her father thought we’d go broke.

We decided to give it five years.

There were a couple of things we planned to change but not as many as if I had taken over earlier. I’d been away for 15 years and there was a lot I didn’t want to change. 

Mum and Dad sold the wines mostly at cellar door and I knew I didn’t want to change that.

They had also built a mailing list and I knew we were lucky to have it.

We still have some of their original customers and that’s important to us.

We were taking over at a good time and we had a base to build on.

I think of young people starting up today and how hard it is.

We also had customers that knew we were here because Noon’s had been around a while. We were just bloody lucky really and after three years we knew we’d made the right decision.

And any winemaking changes?

Not many.

Dad was always open to change.

He valued new ideas and I’m sure he had too much of an apple in his eye for me, so I was lucky in that respect.

However his winemaking methods were sound and only needed minor adjustments.

When we got home he was 70 years old and he said "here’s the keys".

He was ready to retire and he knew I was ready to start.

The wines haven’t changed much, freshened up a bit but made pretty much the same as they have always been using open vats and basket presses.

It’s a family winery, how do you and Rae work together?

One of the things I discovered in my time away was that I liked the craft of winemaking, the pruning, vintage, racking into barrels and so on.

I liked making wine but I found managing staff stressful so we decided to keep the business small.

It’s mostly just Rae & I. She says she’s served a twenty year apprenticeship.

We have our separate jobs through the year, but work very closely at harvest and wine release time – usually without too many issues !

We do tastings together and I couldn’t do it without her opinion.

I rely on Rae as a critic who is not a winemaker.

It works very well as I’m often a little too close to the wines and she’s impartial.

You’ve mostly got to trust yourself but the other person I trust on the tasting bench is Rae.

Our kids have been terrific… having them has encouraged us to get out and expand our horizons. 

We have never been involved in sport before but Harper loves soccer, so we try to get to all his training and matches.

We are off to a wine conference in Spain next month.

The kids are coming as well, so we’re going to try to catch a soccer game in Madrid. Harper hopes to see Cristiano Ronaldo!

Your web site has this message "Light wines… it’s just not us!" so what style of wine do you make?

We make full-bodied reds.

About five to ten years ago when there was a move away from bigger reds to lighter wines, Rae and I decided we would continue to make wines as we always have.

That is what our vines naturally produce.

Soils and wine: I believe you are involved in the McLaren Vale Districts project, where is that up to?

It’s a fascinating subject, there’s a lot to learn and I can’t give you all the answers but it’s an area I have become more interested in.

I’m working closely with a few other winemakers in the area using the geology map that Philip White has been involved with.

We’ve drawn some rough district boundaries on the map based on geology and climate.

We have an annual blind tasting of wines from these districts submitted by producers from around the Vale to see if we can distinguish one district from another.

We have been doing the tastings for 10 years now.

It’s really interesting because we can consistently taste differences between some of the districts.

I have a more recent interest in the role of microbes in the soil and how that influences the expression of terroir.

That will be a topic of discussion at the conference we are going to in Spain and I’m really looking forward to it.

On our winery block there is a big change in the soil and we have marked this with steel sculptures because the wines taste different where the soil changes.

Langhorne Creek: McLaren Vale, why vineyards in both?

We inherited our relationship with the Borrett family in Langhorne Creek from my parents.

My Dad used to buy grapes from George Borrett’s dad and now I buy grapes from George.

The vineyards we source from are on the original floodplain country just past Bleasdale.

We only ever grew Grenache and during the 70’s red wine boom everybody wanted Cabernet.

Then in the early 90’s, everyone wanted Shiraz so dad bought both varieties from the Borretts.

Langhorne Creek is about an hour’s drive from McLaren Vale and both regions share a maritime climate.

There is a similar softness in the tannins that we love.

What is it about Grenache and dry grown bush vines?

I think that age is part of the reason that wine from these vines is special.

It is also because they are low yielding and are hand pruned and picked.

I think Grenache is naturally suited to McLaren Vale’s climate and the winemaking is also more sensitive than it used to be.

As with Pinot Noir, Grenache is hard to upscale without losing quality.

A spot on your mailing list commands Wendouree-like bragging rights. When did you get the idea to market Noon as you have and only open the Cellar door for three weekends a year?

We are lucky.

We didn’t plan to only open for such a short time, it just evolved.

Some of that is through choices we’ve made not to get bigger.

We are happy being small-scale and enjoy hand making the wine.

Living this life and having the connection with our customers is what we love.

It’s not for everyone but it suits us.

Anything else you’d like to say?

Going back to Murray Tyrrell, he used to say, "We drink our reds too old and our whites too young", and as someone who got to love old Hunter Semillon, I’d have to agree.

A love affair with grenache

Noon's impossibly beautiful dormant old-vine Grenache vineyard

Noon's impossibly beautiful dormant old-vine Grenache vineyard

Grenache: growing up in it 
by Drew Noon MW

When I was young we used to pick our grapes into old kerosene tins painted with special white paint before the harvest each year. 

I loved to eat the fruit while we were picking, taking a bite from almost every bunch!

Our vines were Grenache. They were planted in 1934. It seemed to me as though they’d always been there, like the gum trees surrounding our block.

We pruned them back each winter and from the stumpy, gnarled trunks somehow lovely soft green shoots emerged each spring. They survived our hot summers well, producing smaller crops when the season was really dry.

But as I grew up I became aware that in our region Grenache was becoming regarded as a second rate variety. Everybody wanted Shiraz. The price the wineries were prepared to pay for Grenache was consequently lower. This was in the 1970s, at the beginning of a new era in McLaren Vale. Demand had shifted from fortified wines to table wines and Grenache made wine which was less dark in colour and tended to oxidise with barrel ageing. These characteristics were strengths for tawny port production but were considered weaknesses for producing red table wines.

And so the grapes produced by our beloved old vines suffered falling demand from winery buyers. Our neighbour BJ who purchased the vineyard at the back of our property in 1972 still keeps a hand painted sign in his shed with 'Grenache grapes $200 per ton' from those days.

Then things took a turn for the better. Dad was still selling our crop to local wineries (including at different times Genders, Wirra Wirra, d’Arenberg and the Southern Vales Co-op) but due to a combination of the falling demand and his experience in the south of France teaching English for a year, he decided to have a go at making his own wine.

Life was much simpler then.

It was 1975 when he produced his first few hogsheads of wine. I am fairly sure of the date because the previous year - a wet summer - we lost the crop to downy mildew, which we had never seen before. I was only a teenager and I remember the wine being pretty dry to my palate but with a sort of recognisable connection to the taste of the grapes. I was strangely quite impressed!

Over the following years, I at first accepted the wisdom of the time that Grenache was a second-rate variety. But dad was selling our Grenache wine through the cellar door with no problem. And the public who visited and tasted the wine didn’t seem to hold any such prejudices.

I spent 15 years away making wine interstate, with no Grenache and not a bush vine in sight. By the time Raegan and I returned home to take over the winery from mum and dad I looked at our old vines with a new perspective.

For the first time I saw them as unique and special rather than old fashioned and out-of-date.

I wanted to protect them and to show people what they could do. I felt sure that we could make something special from them. It was our obligation.

The Grenache crush fell from 57% of the total red nationally in 1964 to make up only 7% of McLaren Vale’s red harvest by 2015. However although these figures don’t show it, there’s been something of a revival in the last couple of years. Grenache has suddenly become fashionable - perhaps McLaren Vale Grenache in particular.

Whilst this is a welcome development, it’s also a bit of a worry for those who have worked with Grenache for a long time. I’ve learnt over the years that people are opportunists (motivated principally by the desire to make money) and therefore I expect that this renewed interest in Grenache will lead to more plantings but unfortunately not necessarily focused on quality, just on the variety.

Grenache does not lend itself to greed, hurry or the time-poor modern lifestyle. It makes its best wine in fairly hard conditions which limit its growth and yield potential. This is true of most red wine grapes but you notice this more with Grenache than say Shiraz, which is over-endowed with colour and produces wines of quite acceptable soft fruitiness even when yields are higher.

It is the fragile nature of Grenache wine which means that it reflects its terroir more transparently too, making it an excellent vehicle for transferring site-derived characters to the glass.

Old vines growing on their own roots help here.

Grenache can produce the most engaging wine that you have ever tasted. It can be profound in its depth and complexity. I love Grenache like this. But to produce such wine takes a dedication to quality in the vineyard and winery. There are no shortcuts.

I think the likening of Grenache to warm climate Pinot is a fair analogy. Both can produce wine that is as good as it gets but there is a steep cliff off which quality drops unless yields are kept limited and sites well chosen.

The fact that it isn't easy making good Grenache makes it all the more exciting.

The fact that I grew up with these vines and loved them unconditionally at first, only to discover they weren’t valued by others and then finally to uncover their potential for myself makes the connection personal.

Grenache is very close to my heart.

About the winery


Rae and Drew Noon

Rae and Drew Noon

David Noon purchased his 10 hectare property in the heart of McLaren Vale in 1967. The farm had an old 2.4 hectare Grenache block that was planted in 1934; the remainder was planted with almonds and apricots. Although David had grown up among vineyards, he had worked as a French teacher before this change of direction in his mid-40s. 

It was hard to make a living selling almonds and apricots, so David, who sold grapes to McLaren Vale winemakers throughout the 1960s, looked more and more towards the grapes as the main crop. He became increasingly interested in winemaking, especially after a trip to Southern France. He began making his own wine and in 1976 opened a cellar door and released his first wine. 

In the early 1980s Noon started using some old vine Langhorne Creek fruit supplied by the Borrett family to supplement the Grenache from his property. Later, in 1999, they took the almonds and apricots out and planted 1.6 hectares of Graciano, Shiraz and Mourvedre. 

David’s son Drew grew up on the farm, and by the time he had finished high school he was interested in wine as a career and applied to go to Roseworthy College to study winemaking. After graduation, Drew spent five years at Tyrrells with Murray Tyrrell, then five years in Victoria with the Department of Agriculture and then five years in Port Macquarie with John Cassegrain. 

During this time, Drew's passion for wine was insatiable and he applied to become a Master of Wine (MW), where the pass rate is notoriously low. He sat the theory exam in 1992 and passed, but it took a few attempts before he passed the tasting exam in 1998 and became an MW, one of just a few in Australia. 

In 1996, Drew's parents signalled they would be retiring, so Drew and his wife Rae purchased the winery and settled in McLaren Vale. Their talent, passion and quiet respect for the land they nurture and the vines they tend - they are gentle, considered people - have allowed them to produce earth-shattering red wines. 

The tiny estate is dry farmed biodynamically, but not organically certified. Noon doesn’t have any intention of becoming certified, "We don’t make a big fuss about it. We’ve never used any chemicals on our vines. All we have is this open-air tractor here. We knew if we sprayed anything on the vineyard, we’d just get it straight in the face. These vines are like grandmother’s plum tree. They look after themselves, and they grow better without any junk added." 

Noon’s philosophy in the cellar is much the same. The grapes are fermented in old open-top oak barrels lined with paraffin. Ambient yeasts and no temperature controls mean that the grapes take their own sweet time. And Drew continues his father’s tradition of never fining or filtering the wines.

Noon produces three red wines; the Eclipse Grenache Shiraz, Reserve Shiraz and Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. Grapes are sourced from five vineyard blocks:

  • The 2.4ha Winery Block at McLaren Vale planted in 1934, which produces Grenache from unirrigated bush vines for Eclipse
  • The 1.6ha Almond Block at McLaren Vale planted in 1999, which produces Grenache and Graciano for Eclipse
  • The 1.6ha BJ's Block at McLaren Vale planted in 1943, which produces Grenache from unirrigated bush vines for Eclipse
  • The 1.6ha 20 Rows Block at Langhorne Creek (owned by the Borrett family) planted in the early 1960s, which produces Shiraz for Reserve Shiraz
  • The 1.2ha Fruit Trees Block at Langhorne Creek (owned by the Borrett family) planted in the early 1970s, which produces Cabernet Sauvignon for Reserve Cabernet

Noon produces around 2500 cases per year. The business has not increased production since the 1980s and they reserve most of their stock for a mailing list that is always full and only reviewed once every three years - a spot on the mailing list commands Wendouree-like bragging rights. The cellar door opens for only three weekends in November and their customers travel long distances to get there. They line up an hour before it opens. They cook bacon for breakfast in the carpark. The queue stretches out the door and 20 metres down past the vineyard. They all seem to know Drew. For the rest of the year, the cellar door sports a sign simply stating "Sorry, we have sold out of wine. Cellar door will reopen next November"! 

Noon has this message on its website: "Light wines… it’s just not us!" And so say all of the customers.

Wine region map of South Australia

South Australia

South Australian is responsible for more than half the production of all Australian wine. It is home to more than 900 wineries across 18 wine regions. The regions are Adelaide Hills, Adelaide Plains, Barossa Valley, Clare Valley, Coonawarra, Currency Creek, Eden Valley, Kangaroo Island, Langhorne Creek, McLaren Vale, Mount Benson, Mount Gambier, Padthaway, Riverland, Robe, Southern Fleurieu, Southern Flinders Ranges and Wrattonbully.

Many of the well-known names in the South Australian wine industry established their first vineyards in the late 1830s and early 1840s. The first vines in McLaren Vale were planted at Reynella in 1839 and Penfold's established Magill Estate on the outskirts of Adelaide in 1844.

South Australia has a vast diversity in geography and climate which allows the State to be able to produce a range of grape varieties - from cool climate Riesling in the Clare and Eden Vallies to the big, full bodied Shiraz wines of the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale. Two of Australia's best-known wines, Penfolds Grange and Henschke Hill of Grace, are produced here. There is much to discover in South Australia for the wine lover.