Willunga 100 is in McLaren Vale, south of Adelaide. The grapes for the wines come from a range of selected vineyards in McLaren Vale, including some that are over 80 years old. Winemaker Mike Farmilo joined the team as head winemaker in 2013 and is supported by Tim James. Together they aim to produce unique and distinctive wines which capture the essence of the region. They use modern equipment alongside traditional winemaking techniques to ferment the small parcels of fruit arriving at the winery. The term "hundred" originates from late Saxon and Norman England and refers to an administrative unit of government, meaning that 100+ households had to live in the area to qualify for its place on the map. Willunga 100 select their fruit from small parcels just as the district was divided up into '100s', or small lots.
The Shiraz fruit in this blend comes from the Mary Gordon Vineyard which is 15 years old, and the Hillside vineyard which is 21 years old. The latter is one of the first Shiraz ripening vineyards in the district located in the Sellicks Hill subregion at an elevated site with loam over limestone soils. This vineyard tends to produce bigger, bolder tannins due to the low yielding vines.
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.
Parcels of Shiraz were harvested in late February and March, with each one fermented separately, using open fermenters. A small part of Viognier was added with the Shiraz, giving an aromatic lift and brightness while also helping to stabilise the colour. Warm fermentation temperatures combined with regular pump-overs and plunging ensured optimum extraction. Only the best parcels were selected to produce the wine, which was matured in stainless steel as well as new and old French oak for 9-18 months. The Shiraz pressings were also added back into the blend to add complexity.
This well structured wine is deep purple in colour, on the nose, there are notes of plum, chocolate and cedar. The palate is rich and luscious with ripe black fruits harnessed by silky texture and supple tannins resulting in a lingering finish.