Stephen Pannell is one of the best and brightest of the new generation of Australian winemakers, having spent a decade working as chief red wine maker at Hardys before striking out on his own in 2004. Steve has worked all over the world, including in Italy with Aldo Vajra in Barolo and in France for Domaine Dujac and Pousse d'Or. His broad experience has helped shape his approach to winemaking and his wines are true expressions of the grapes and vineyards of McLaren Vale. In October 2015, Steve was named Winemaker of the Year by the consumer wine magazine, Gourmet Traveller Wine.
The Touriga fruit is sourced from a nine-year old block in Langhorne Creek. The Tempranillo is sourced from Blewitt Springs, a cooler sub-region in McLaren Vale. Grown on sandy soil, this variety is well adapted to the climate of this sub-region.
The 2016 vintage was a vintage of two distinct halves. Winter and spring were exceptionally dry and warm and the vines required additional irrigation to avoid heat stress. Thankfully, a number of rainstorms turned 2016 into one of the wettest and mildest ripening periods. This cool, wet period saved the harvest and allowed for a long maturation period, which resulted in wines with incredible structure and ageing potential.
The parcels were hand-harvested, crushed and traditionally vinified in small open-top fermenters, with no additions other than yeast. Temperatures were maintained between a minimum of 15°C and a maximum of 34°C. Fermentation lasted 10-11 days and during this time the cap was hand plunged and pumped over. The wine spent seven months in 500 litre French oak puncheons, 80% in mature (five to six years old) oak and 20% in new oak.
On the nose, abundant black fruits, cherry, fruit bread and red liquorice are overlaid with jasmine, nutmeg and cinnamon spices. The palate is long, with integrated and granular tannins with a balanced finish. An excellent food wine perfect with grilled sausages or charcuterie and cheese.
This wine is suitable for vegetarians and vegans.