(2021) A very pretty, pale colour, from sandy, loam soils, the vines were planted in 1970 on the edge of the Blewitt Springs region. 20% whole bunches in this wine, made in a combination of ceramic eggs and French oak barrels. Fragrant red fruits and a herbal touches, the palate is juicy and firm, lots of keen raspberry but also pulpy strawberry softness, but all butteressed by very fresh acidity and tight, quite spicy tannins.
(2021) From old bush vines, this is fermented in layers of whole bunches and destemmed fruit, matured in a combination of oak and concrete tanks. Elegant ruby colour, fabulous fragrance again, real spice and a natural feeling earthiness in the background, great fruit sweetness, and a lusciousness here balanced by very fine structure indeed.
(2021) Named because half of the vineyard was destroyed by a fallen power line igniting a fire, but this sourced from the old vines that survived. 50% whole bunches, foot pressed, and fermented and aged in 300-litre French oak barrels. A beautifully perfumed wine this, there's a spicy and herbaceous lift, that touch of hessian in the background from the stems, but lovely fruit and lift. The palate is smooth and ripe, a creamier mouthfeel than the Bondar, but similarly bright red fruit. Tannins very fine, cherry-ripe acidity lovely.
(2021) Still a medium hued crimson colour, no whole bunches here, nine months in older French oak. Spicier than the previous wines, a little meatier in terms of its aromas. Mouthfilling and ripe fruit, really quite tangy, there's a plummy quality, but a rasp of tannin and souring acidity that gives some grip and real gastronomic appeal.
(2021) 60% of this wine comes from 80-year-old vines, the rest 50-year-old. 75% feremented as whole buches and aged in neutral barrels and oak casks. Fragrant, creamy, lifted red fruit with a distinct floral edge. Some creamy, almondy touches. Red fruited but really firm and gravelly on the palate, taut structure and elegant but incisive acidity. Long.
(2021) From sandy soils with clay, vinified in open-topped fermenters with 20% whole bunches, it spend time maturing in large, old oak barrels. Soaring creamy aromatics here, real eucalyptus lift and floral notes, very distinctive with a sprinkle of pepper. In the mouth it has rich texture and quite a solid, concentrated feel, and yet the finish is bright and focused, good structural components and long.
(2021) Vine grower Bernard Smart is the charming man, featured riding on his tractor on the label. Giles says he was selling his fruit to local families for home winemaking because there were no commercial buyers, even though a beautiful vineyard with vines up to 100 years old. 20% whole bunches and aged in 300-litre french barrels, 25% new. Much deeper and more violet in colour than some, perfumed, a touch of lipstick and vinous, keen red fruits are firm. Very firm on the palate too - a much more obvious tannin than in some, but retains its charm, brightness and the inherent fruit concentration and sweetness comes through beautifully.
(2021) From two vineyards, one 82 and one 99 years of age and planted on deep sand, 92% of fruit was destemmed, and aged in old puncheons and foudres. Again quite an intense, deep colour, but not dense, this has a solidity to the fruit too, more plummy and full, but once again that does not mean heavy or dense: the fine tannins and the good, tangy and sour cherry acid balance is excellent, in a big and mouth-filling wine, but not without finesse.
(2021) A blend from three different districts of McLaren Vale, planted between 1930 and 1960. 20% whole bunches, this is made in open fermenters with natural yeasts, and ageing was in 500-litre barrels of French oak, with minimum added sulphur. A very pale wine this, a warmth, nuttiness and earthiness to the nose, a touch of chestnut and pepper, solid but fragrant red fruit. In the mouth dry, savoury tannins give a very gastronomic feel. Is there a touch of heat from that 15% alcohol? I think there is, but really tha balance is very good, with freshness and keen acidity ensuring this is not heavy.
(2020) Fruit for this wine comes from just 820 "gnarly, very old bush vines," planted in 1889. Winemaker Kevin Glastonbury says that despite now being more than 130 years old, the vines continue to produce small quantities of exceptional grapes. The vineyard has deep sandy soils with red clay layers and the vines draw moisture from the underlying clay. Wild yeast starts the fermentation process and the wine spends fully 41 days on the skins. There must be minimal extraction used however, as it has such a pale and transparent colour, and such a gentle nose, walnut and coffee cake, autumnal dry leaves and soft red berry fruit. It is very charming. In the mouth that cranberry and redcurrant fruit continues, but it is really quite delicate with lacey tannins and gently insistent acidity, giving this lots of elegance and prettiness, but with a freshness and little hint of biting austerity too. Lovely. Kevin describes it as 'still a baby', with the ability to age for several years. Price and stockist at time of review is for the previous vintage.