This has always been Pete Schell's ode to old-vine Barossa but with his own twist. 2018 is certainly one of his very greatest releases of the Indigene-fans of previous vintages should not miss it! You can expect a juicy, vibrant and racy-fresh wine (a theme of 2018) with plenty of deep, dark cherry and ripe blackberry fruit, loads of mixed spice and perfectly integrated spicy oak. There's also some subtle whole-bunch freshness and fine, powdery tannins.
Indigene is based on the Barossa's wonderful resource of old-vine Shiraz and Mataro (aka Mourvdre). This year's blend was sourced exclusively from some of Spinifex's oldest, dry-grown Shiraz (63%) and Mataro (37%) vineyards located in Ebenezer, Moppa and High Eden. The fruit was hand-harvested, cooled overnight and naturally fermented with 30% whole bunches. Fermentation took place in small steel and wood fermenters for between 10 and 20 days.
Murdoch Hill | Artisan Series | Landau Syrah
In many ways, this is Michael Downer's signature wine. It comes from a single parcel of vines at Murdoch Hill's Landau block in Oakbank. The vines here were planted in 1998 and sit on a predominately east-facing slope in shallow, red loam soils with varying levels of schist rock and ironstone. Oakbank's warmer, sunny days allow for the Syrah vines to fully ripen their fruit whilst the afternoon breezes and cool nights help the fruit retain its natural acidity.
Of course, any talk of warm weather should be put into context - this is still the Adelaide Hills and the Landau site sits at 400 metres above sea level. So we are well and truly in cool climate territory here. Downer wild ferments this wine with 20% whole bunches and whole berries in small one tonne, open fermenters. Again, oak maturation is minimal, with the wine raised in older French oak puncheons (10% new) for roughly 9-10 months.
Voyager | Block 6 Broadvale Chardonnay
Made from a small 1.1 hectare site planted to clone 95 Chardonnay, this vineyard is prized for producing racy, crunchy Chardonnay at low baume levels. Again the great 2017 vintage shines through and has produced a wine of superb intensity and drive. Lifted acacia and preserved lemon aromas lead to a palate that is superbly vibrant and crystalline. The Block 6 has the same winemaking and ageing as the Block 5 but is markedly different-more racy and linear. A Puligny to the other Block 5's Chassagne!
Garagiste Terre De Feu Pinot Noir
Cropped from a specific half-acre plot of the Merricks Grove vineyard, Terre de Feu (the land of fire) takes its name from the vein of pure red ferroseol soils of this plot. The power of the fruit enables a 100% whole-bunch ferment and Terre de Feu remains Garagiste's first and only Pinot made this way. The wine also sees a little more new oak and is released later. From what Flanders calls the vintage of a lifetime, you'd be right to expect some fireworks here.Right now the wine is a deep cauldron of flavour, featuring intense dark fruits, brown spices and campfire complexity oscillating around a deep, pulsating core of sappy, bunchy freshness and fine structure. It still needs time (or the right food) but it has everything in place to make it superb drinking over many years to come.
Murdoch Hill | Artisan Series | The Rocket Chardonnay
The second release of this limited-release Chardonnay is another beauty. Fruit is sourced from two vineyards: one high (560m), a dry-grown site in the Piccadilly Valley with 35-year-old vines; and the other lower in Lobethal with 20-year-old Bernard clones (76 vines on a good east-facing slope). Wild-fermented (with 50% malolactic) in very tight-grain French barriques and puncheons (50% new). The notes tell you what you need to know.
Voyager | Old Block Cabernet Sauvignon
100% Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine comes from a single block of Cabernet Sauvignon, called 'Old Block V9', which is the original plantings on the Estate (established in 1978). The low yields from these old vines has produced a wine of richness and chocolaty depth (this also reflects the deep loamy soil in this vineyard). Matured in 50% new and 50% two-year-old tight-grained French oak for 18 months.