Charles Melton Wines has produced premium Barossa red wines since 1984. At that time, Charlie and a small band of Barossa winemakers turned their winemaking efforts to what were then considered a couple of unfashionable varieties: Shiraz and Grenache. These wines were initially styled on those from the Rhône but are now considered leading examples of the varieties in their own right.
The Grenache fruit in this blend comes principally from old, dry grown bush vines, the Barossa being one of the last areas to contain such a rich resource. The Shiraz and Mataro are a mix of trellis grown and bush vines of similar age. All grapes are dry grown and harvested from the winery's prime Barossa vineyards as well as from a select group of grape growers. Yields are extremely low and the vineyards are truly old, with many exceeding 80 years.
A fiery start to the vintage, with one of the warmest summers since 1908. Fortunately, mid-February brought 90 millimetres of rain which refreshed all the vines and brought the fruit back into superb balance. The next eight weeks saw the most temperate, sublime autumn harvest weather seen for many years.
Charlie Melton uses a range of different techniques in the production of Nine Popes, including hand-plunging and whole-bunch fermentation. Wild as well as cultured yeasts are used in a mix of both co-fermentation and mono-varietal fermentation. The fermentation temperature is kept moderate at 18-22ºC to help retain fruit flavours and elegance. After pressing, the wine was aged predominantly in older oak on its lees, with only 25% new oak used. No fining agents were used.
Deep bright crimson in colour, this wine opens with sweet Grenache perfumes which intermingle with liquorice spice on the nose. Beautifully balanced with soft tannins, it culminates in a long savoury finish.