Country: Australia Region: South Australia Vintage: 2014
Category: Red Wine Color: Red
"Stephen Pannell has gone from being one of the best and brightest of the new generation of Australian winemakers to being one of the most lauded of all Australian winemakers in a very short space of time. In 2014, he won the fabled Jimmy Watson trophy, the most prestigious wine award in Australia, given annually to the producer of the best one-year-old dry red wine in the Royal Melbourne Wine Show, the top gong at the Alternative Varietals Wine Show and had one of his wines named 'Financial Review' wine of the year. 2014 also saw him move into his own winery in McLaren Vale, as well as refine further his style. Steve's star is shining so brightly because of the way in which his style has evolved in the past three years. He now owns 36 hectares of vineyard, and this control over his fruit has enabled him to take quality to an even higher level.
One of the prime factors behind his success is the freshness in all his wines, something he achieves by picking earlier. ""I can only pick early due to better viticulture"", he says. He is looking for the varietal 'stamp' rather than 'varietal' character in his wines, hence his move to blends such as the Grenache/Shiraz/Touriga, where the sum is greater than the component parts. And because of this fresher 'stamp', he is looking to reduce the oak influence in his wines so has, like many of the best producers, moved to larger, more neutral oak.
It is difficult to pick out a star among his wines. The Grenache/Shiraz/Touriga has brilliant colour and is fresh and lifted on the nose with soft, supple tannins on the palate.
The 2015 Tempranillo/Touriga is his best example yet of this blend, which is 46% Tempranillo, 42% Touriga and 12% Tinto Cao. ""The more I work with Touriga, the bigger a part of this blend it becomes"", explains Steve.
The 2012 'The Vale' is a blend of 67% Shiraz and 33% Grenache. It has superb aromatics, beautiful definition on the palate, lithe tannins and great length. A study in restraint and power, he has called it 'The Vale', as he thinks this blend is what McLaren Vale does best. It is difficult to argue with him after tasting this wine. His stand-alone Grenache is now viewed by James Halliday as Australia's greatest example of this wonderful variety. It is ripe and full with lovely grainy tannins on the palate.
The 2014 Adelaide Hills Syrah has an aromatic lift and supple tannins. This wine in particular shows how far Australian wine has come, and that road is being mapped by producers like Steve Pannell."
Product Features: Vegan;Vegetarian
Winemaker: Stephen Pannell
This cool climate Syrah was sourced from Echunga, 410m above sea level in the Southern Adelaide Hills. The fruit is grown on well-drained, granitic soil. It is called Syrah instead of the traditional Shiraz to stop confusion and pay homage to the style of wine it makes in the Northern Rhone Valley of France where it originates from.
The vineyard is contour planted and is hand harvested in sections progressively through the vintage as each part matures. The 2 varieties were crushed together as the co-fermentation results in a wine with better integration and complexity. No enzyme or yeast was added to the ferment. Temperatures were maintained between a minimum of 15°C and a maximum of 35°C. Fermentation length was 12 days and during this time the cap was hand plunged and pumped over to ensure gentle tannin extraction. 20% new French oak was used. The wine was matured for 18 months in 500 litre oak barrels and racked twice during this time.
Highly perfumed, vibrant and complex with prominent black forest fruits, fresh peppercorns, and dried herbs. There is a lovely tension between the power and control of palate with heaps of juicy black fruit and a measure of peppery spice woven into a juicy silky texture and gently integrated dry, earthy tannins on the finish.
Food Suggestion: A lovely addition to lamb, barbecued meats or aubergine tajine
Closure: Stelvin ABV:14%