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Pete Schell adds yet another string to his impressive bow with this new Spinifex Syrah.
Designed as a more understated and elegant version of Barossa Shiraz, Schell picks fruit from a couple different, cooler sites in the Barossa and Eden Valleys. The grapes are picked earlier to retain freshness and perfume, before seeing a mixture of stainless steel and wooden and concrete fermenters.
Wow, it’s delicious! Wild and savoury yet soft and sumptuous, this is Barossa Shiraz unlike we usually see it.
Interesting, flavour-packed and more-ish. Another winner from this superstar winemaker.
What It Tastes Like
“On the nose, bright red cherry leads off, followed by subtle gamey notes and red licorice and pepper. The palate has red fruits, anise, subtle gameyness and spice on the palate, all rounded out with integrated fine grained tannins.” - Artisans of the Barossa
95 points._There’s only one word to describe a wine such as this: delicious - perhaps with a swear word or two to add emphasis. Its flowery, fragrant bouquet leads into a juicy red berry palate with rivulets of flavour skipping across the palate and into the fresh finish. You can cellar the wine for a decade if you wish, but I can’t imagine it will ever be better than it is now.”
- James Halliday (Australian Wine Companion)
No, Pete Schell hasn’t gone all Northern Rhône on us. Instead, his first wine labeled “Syrah” is Schell’s take on a more understated style (in the Barossa context) of SA Shiraz. Still one that conveys home. In this endeavor, Schell goes to the “generally higher, cooler sites,” and picks earlier than for his established bottlings. The wine - naturally fermented in a combination of stainless steel, wooden and concrete fermenters - also sees a shorter élevage than the Bête Noir, et al.
This inaugural release is cropped from high parcels in the Barossa Valley (87%) and Eden Valley (13%), where the soils are generally poor and skeletal -lightly gravely and silty sands over deeply weathered base rocks of varied origins. Vine age varies from 20 to 50 years old, and all fruit is hand harvested. On the winemaking front, it’s typically hands off; natural ferments, portions of fruit are de-stemmed or retained as whole clusters varies between parcels (on average we’re looking at 30% whole bunch, 70% destemmed). The wine then sits on its light lees in a mixture of old demi-muids and concrete tanks for 10 months prior to bottling without filtration.
Closure: Screw Cap
Bottle Size: 750ml
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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