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This is a deviation off the usual company line from Peter Schell. Schell made his name as a trailblazer for the ‘New Barossa’ style. A more ‘European’ slant on the traditional Barossa powerhouse.
But a good winemaker is guided by the fruit. This particular batch of fruit was set decidedly to a more ‘classic’ Barossa tempo. Big, dark and brooding, Schell says it reminds him of the great classic wines of Penfolds and the like.
And so this separate bottling has come to be. It may not be for the Spinifex die-hard fans, but for enthusiasts of old-school Barossa Shiraz, this will be right in their wheelhouse.
96 points James Halliday.
What It Tastes Like
“Thick set, dark, brooding perfume of leather, choc-berry and earthiness. Richness segues to palate – long, slow drive of slick, dense fruit with more of the ample leather-mahogany-dense fruit, lingering with a trim of dusty tannin, wood spice and earth. It’s powerful, but still shows freshness; the wine in chrysalis showing some tightness and squeaky feel. Definite old school feel; great to see Spinifex switch-hitting so successfully. Complex wine here anyway. Cue the fireplace, slow-cooked animal and a loyal dog at feet.” - Mike Bennie (The Wine Front)
96 points “There’s no information about the identity of the single vineyard, nor, more importantly, how old is old. However, the utterly remarkable crimson-purple colour of a 4yo shiraz, and the sheer intensity of the flavour, do speak of great vine age. I also suspect this wine spent much time in oak, with a significant percentage new, French its likely provenance.”
- James Halliday (Australian Wine Companion)
94 points “Thick set, dark, brooding perfume of leather, choc-berry and earthiness. Richness segues to palate – long, slow drive of slick, dense fruit with more of the ample leather-mahogany-dense fruit, lingering with a trim of dusty tannin, wood spice and earth. It’s powerful, but still shows freshness; the wine in chrysalis showing some tightness and squeaky feel. Definite old school feel; great to see Spinifex switch-hitting so successfully. Complex wine here anyway. Cue the fireplace, slow-cooked animal and a loyal dog at feet.”
- Mike Bennie (The Wine Front)
This limited release is sourced from an ancient Shiraz vineyard located on the outskirts of Nuriootpa. Planted sometime between 1910 and 1920 and growing in deep sandy loam over clay, this vineyard has long been held to produce archetypal, powerful Barossa Shiraz. In his efforts to tame the beast, Pete Schell picked relatively early and fermented 30% as whole bunches. This has tempered this parcel’s old vine power with fine savoury cut, whilst still allowing the vineyard to express itself. It may not be your typical Spinifex fare, but it’s none the less outstanding. Packed with layered, plummy, mint-choc fruit, it’s beginning to develop a savoury undertow of roasted meats, earthy spice and leathery hints. Old school, sticky tannins completes the picture. It is a big wine from a producer more known for lift and finesse, but it’s nonetheless a beautiful Shiraz full of soul. Tech notes: All fruit was hand harvested and cooled overnight. Around 30% of bunches were retained; fermentation took place in small open stainless steel and wooden fermenters, with indigenous yeasts. Post ferment maceration lasted 14 days. The wine was raised on light lees in a selection of thick staved 600 litre demi muids, and some barriques (30% new) for 20 months; unfined, and bottled without filtration.
Closure: Screw Cap
Bottle Size: 750ml
Drink Until: 2025
About the Producer
Spinifex is one of the undercover jewels of the Barossa Valley. Husband and wife team Peter Schell & Magali Gely have extensive experience in southern France, which proves the inspiration for their unique wines made from predominantly Rhone varietals.
Spinifex was on the front line of the new wave of Barossa producers. Peter’s wines brought a new sensibility to the region, they were lower in alcohol, concentrated but elegant, and balanced to perfection. He takes the art of blending into the realm of the virtuoso. There are few wineries who deliver refinement and poise from the Barossa Valley like Spinifex.
The Barossa has a big reputation. Big in every sense of the word. Known for producing blockbusting examples of impenetrable old vine Shiraz and Grenache envied by much of the world, it is a region that should be celebrated as the region that first put Australian wine on the map. Now, with a new generation of winemakers reinventing the region, there’s more than just power in the Barossa’s bag of tricks. With a move toward picking earlier and pulling back on oak maturation, there’s a fresher, more subtle side to Barossa wine which offers plenty to the modern Australian wine lover.
Long held up to the rest of the world as Australia’s flagship red variety, the mighty Australian Shiraz has undergone something of a renaissance over the past two decades. While our robust styles of Shiraz from powerhouse South Australian regions such as the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale may have put Australian wine on the map, Shiraz from our cooler regions are giving the variety a new look. Wines from Canberra, all parts of Victoria, the Adelaide Hills, and the Great Southern, are all delivering wines of finesse and spice set to a lighter framework. The tapestry of Australian Shiraz is richly diverse, and will only continue to develop and mature into the future.
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