2018 Syrah

The vintage before should have been the year we made this wine. The first year that we could get enough off of our grapes to make it worthwhile. Unfortunately it was also the year we discovered another problem. Birds. We tried every combination of scaring tactics for the pretty little winged devils. None of them worked. So 2018 we tried something different. Netting.

This provided most of the answer. However 2018 presented a different issue. We had summer frosts to contend with. Many of our bunches were lost to a series of overnight frosts, followed by a fairly long heatwave. So, we relied heavily on Camwell again to provide the backup plan. We managed to scrounge together about 150kg from our own vineyard, which may have been enough for half of a barrique. The rest came from Brad's fathers block. 

We kept the ferments separate. And come pressing day, we kept the juices separate too. We drained the juice from the fermenter first into a Puncheon. All of the skins that were left we pressed off and managed to squeeze out enough for a Hogshead with another couple of hundred kilos to spare. Finally we ran my own grapes through the press and into a little Barrique I had. There wasn’t enough, which we expected, so we topped it off with more of the other two.

Fast forward some 15 months or so, the barrels were tasting very different. The free run Puncheon was light, delicate and fruit forward. The pressed Hogshead had a lot more of the signature bold McLaren Vale Shiraz that I enjoy. Big tannin structure and a spicy complexity. The blend was quite fruity, with an underlying ‘greenery’ to it that could have come from the whole bunch fermentation of my own grapes, as well as the much cooler growing conditions. Nothing was truly exceptional, but they were all interesting in their own right. However when we blended them together, it was far superior to any of the individual components or any other blend we could come up with.

We blended them all together. Watching the shiny stainless tank swirl as we filled it gave us the name. The first and only time it has come organically to me. As you may come to find, naming drinks isn’t exactly what I find myself good at. I tend to name the beers and whatever else during production for what they are, with the odd inside joke or despairing note thrown in there. 

After bottle shock and a bit of extra time for good luck, the wine was unlike any Shiraz out of McLaren Vale. The small portion of cooler grown grapes along with the rest of what had transpired gave us something a lot lighter and fruit forward than anything else. So we instead elected to call it a Syrah.

Blackcurrant dominates the palate, with plum and cacao undertones. A slight grassiness cuts through the sweetness to provide balance and depth. Some warming spices on the nose.

Grapes: McLaren Vale and Fleurieu Shiraz
Skin Contact: 14 Days, Plunged
Yeast: Wild Ferment
Other Processes: Nil
Secondary: French Oak Barrique, Hogshead and Puncheon