Vintage: 2019

VintageProduct CodeFormatClosureAvailability
2019SP109B196 x 75ScrewcapAvailable
Vegetarian
Vegan
Practising Organic
Producer

In a very short space of time, Stephen Pannell has gone from being one of Australia’s best and brightest young talents to one of their most lauded winemakers.

He is a two-time winner of the fabled Jimmy Watson Trophy, the most prestigious wine award in Australia, and also won the top prize at the Alternative Varietals Wine Show three out of the last five years. Stephen moved into his own McLaren Vale winery in 2014, and now owns 36 hectares of vineyard. This control over his fruit has enabled him to take quality to an even higher level.

One of the key 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, causing him to create blends such as the Grenache/Shiraz/Touriga, where the sum is greater than the parts. Because of this fresher ‘stamp’, he is also actively reducing oak influence in his wines by moving to larger, more neutral oak vessels.

It is difficult to pick out just one star among his wines. The early release ‘Basso’ Garnacha is unfiltered, with low sulphur, for drinking in its youth. The Grenache/Shiraz/Touriga has brilliant colour and is fresh and lifted on the nose with soft, supple tannins on the palate. When asked about the Tempranillo/Touriga blend, Stephen explains, “the more I work with Touriga, the bigger a part of this blend it becomes.

The ‘Dead End’ Tempranillo is perfumed and juicy with well-integrated tannins, backing up Stephen’s belief that Iberian grape varieties are ideally suited to McLaren Vale. ‘The Vale’ is an old-vine Grenache/Shiraz blend made from over 70-year-old vines, with rich black fruits on the palate and a silky texture. Like all of Stephen’s wines, the ‘Field Street’ Shiraz is made with minimal intervention and therefore faithfully expresses the purity and breadth of McLaren Vale Shiraz. The ‘FiFi’ Fiano, named after Stephen’s wife, is as exciting as it is delicious. It has a beautiful textural quality, with aromas and flavours of white nectarine, pink grapefruit, lemongrass and honeysuckle.

The ‘Smart’ Clarendon Grenache hails from McLaren Vale’s highest Grenache vineyard (230 metres above sea level), planted on its oldest soils (up to 750 million years old). Here, the dry-grown bush vines produce a richly perfumed, elegant wine with ripe red berry freshness, violets and grainy tannins. This is a beautiful counterpoint to the more powerful, structured, juicy dark fruits and savoury character of the ‘Old McDonald’ McLaren Vale Grenache from Blewitt Springs. Both wines show Grenache’s great potential for site expression in McLaren Vale and, says Stephen, “its place in the line-up of the world’s great varietal wines.”

Vineyards

Steve’s interest in Grenache and desire to make medium-bodied styles stretches back to the mid 1990s when he first arrived in McLaren Vale. Given the warm, Mediterranean climate, Grenache grows as well in ‘the Vale’ as any of the more revered Grenache regions including France’s Rhône Valley, Priorat in Spain and Italy’s Sardinia. The grapes for this wine grow on 77 year old unirrigated vines in the Old McDonald vineyard in Blewitt Springs. Soils in this sub-region are sandy, with an underlying clay and ironstone base. The vines are south-east facing, in terraced contours and sit 80 metres above sea level.

Vintage

A winemaker’s vintage with every scrap of experience tested and measured. Lower than average winter rainfall set up for a dry growing season, which resulted in dramatically reduced yields. Harvest took place on 22nd February and was quite early for the vineyard. In low yield years, acidity is generally good, and sets the resulting wines up for stability and long lives.

Vinification

The hand-harvested grapes were traditionally vinified in small, open-top fermenters with 20% whole bunch. The wine spent 12 days on skins before gentle pressing. It was transferred to a 2,800 litre French oak vat for malolactic fermentation and maturation before being bottled in February 2020.

Tasting Notes & Technical Details

Aromas of raspberry, five spice, toasted nuts and sweet summer tomatoes on the nose. Fresh raspberry, rosewater and orange zest are prominent on the palate and exotic spice flavours drive the finish. Medium-bodied, there is a dense core of fruit typical of the Old McDonald vineyard, supported by complex, persuasive tannins.

Alcohol (ABV)

14%

Acidity

7.8 g/l

pH

3.42

Other wines from this producer

Producer
Wine
Product Code
Features
Style
S.C. Pannell`The Vale` McLaren Vale Grenache/ShirazSP102
Vegetarian
Vegan
R
Red
Factsheet
`Smart Vineyard` Clarendon GrenacheSP103
R
Red
Adelaide Hills NebbioloSP105
R
Red
Factsheet
Adelaide Tempranillo/TourigaSP110
Vegetarian
Vegan
R
Red
Factsheet
McLaren Vale Grenache/Shiraz/TourigaSP115
Vegetarian
Vegan
R
Red
Adelaide Hills SyrahSP116
Vegetarian
Vegan
R
Red
Factsheet
`Dead End` McLaren Vale TempranilloSP118
Vegetarian
Vegan
R
Red
`Field Street` McLaren Vale ShirazSP119
Vegetarian
Vegan
R
Red
Factsheet
`Basso` McLaren Vale GarnachaSP120
R
Red
Factsheet
`Fi Fi` McLaren Vale FianoSP126
W
White
Factsheet