2016 Syrah, Great Southern $35.00
“This is sourced from the Great Southern. Slightly different take on the usual style of the region, with spicy, savoury notes merging with the plummy black cherry characters. Dusty oak influence and sinewy tannins create a controlled and focused palate that is slightly more old world in character and expression. Such a good food wine. 93 / 100 (Cellaring: Up to 2025).” Ray Jordan, The West Australian Wine Guide 2019, November 2018.
“Syrah is a cracker. Medium weight with spicy fruit/oak, silky texture, fine-grain tannins and good length. Silver and perhaps a gold medal in the right wine show. Topped the tasting session.” Liquor Barons Tasting Panel. Rod Properjohn, 30 January 2018.
Our 2016 Syrah produced from the Great Southern region makes clear the ‘great’ in Great Southern. The cooler climate combined with the use of Hungarian Oak has resulted in a more savoury wine that is both earthy and lively, with balanced acidity and softer, ripe tannins creating both power and restraint.
Tasting Notes ~ Download PDF
Same grape, made in a slightly different style. Shiraz is popular in Australia but we were determined to make a Syrah as opposed to a Shiraz as part of this vintage. Our cooler climate fruit from the Great Southern region produced something a little more elegant and complex than the bolder, fruit-forward wines with tannin you would typically see in a Shiraz.
We also wanted to make clear the ‘great’ in Great Southern. This region produces some of the best Syrah in Australia, which is intense in colour with ripe flavours, and yet elegant in style and structure – a true expression of climate and soil.
To make all of this happen, we decided to use Hungarian oak, which we very much enjoyed using during our vintage in Italy. There we grew to appreciate the subtle differences it brings to a wine and how it can support the fruit. Hungarian Oak comes from cooler climates so it has tighter grain and therefore makes more subtle impact than other oaks. What better match than oak produced in cooler climates, with cooler climate fruit, to provide a softer, smoother, creamier texture?
The combination of the above elements has resulted in a wine that is both earthy and lively, with balanced acidity and softer ripe tannins, creating both power and restraint, and a sense of distinguished elegance.
The 2016 vintage for the Great Southern was one the locals called ‘normal’ – late in comparison to recent times, but on par with the past few decades. Milder conditions brought about longer, slower ripening, with the Syrah excelling in these conditions. A dry finish to winter followed by a wet summer provided some difficulty, however good viticultural programs overcame these and Syrah was again a stellar vintage performer.
The fruit for this wine came from 20-year-old vines from the Russell Road Vineyard in Frankland River. Frankland River is the warmest part of the large Great Southern region and well-suited to Syrah growing. The soils within this area are lateritic, gravelly sandy loams over granite. Yields were low to moderate this vintage owing to tough competition from birds. Rain was experienced right throughout the veraison period yet it thankfully had no effect on the berries. It was only when the daily temperatures dropped dramatically after Easter that we decided it was time to pick the Syrah, which was sitting at 13.5 Baumé.
The Syrah was destemmed, crushed, and cold soaked at 5 degrees Celsius to extract good tannin and colour, then warmed up and fermented with a Rhone yeast in large open fermenters. Maceration was gentle, and warm fermentation temperatures facilitated the extraction of fine fruit tannin and strong varietal notes. Maceration lasted for 40 days, with minimum cap management pump-overs. After pressing, the wine was placed into an even split of Hungarian and French oak barrels for maturation for 15 months, before being bottled.
In a glass the wine presents vibrantly, with dense crimson colour tinged with youthful purple hues.
The nose is rich and vibrant showing plums, wild black cherries, black pepper, and spicy aromatic Hungarian oak in the background. The Hungarian oak doesn’t override the wine aromatically – it sits underneath the warm plum and berry fruits.
This Syrah has a touch of the black pepper spice, but with more ripe black cherries and blackberries coming through as you would expect from a cooler climate Syrah. The Hungarian oak directs the tightness and focus throughout the wine, which is rich and generous with fruit on the front palate. It has a spot of black pepper and spice running the length of the palate, displaying its cooler southern origins.
We aim for minimal intervention to let the fruit express itself, yet there are certain things we do need to maintain the quality and integrity of this wine. We’ve added minimal sulphites to stabilise the wine and ensure its shelf life. It has also been fined with the aid of egg whites and skim milk products to remove harsh phenolic compounds. We use this method as opposed to other by-products as it is extremely gentle in nature and does not strip flavour nor character from the wine, creating a final, high quality polish.
Total Acidity6 g/l
Residual Sugar0.07 g/l
Drinking Best2017 - 2027