Vintage: 2015

VintageProduct CodeFormatClosureAvailability
2015SP116A1512 x 75ScrewcapAvailable
Vegetarian
Vegan
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

This cool climate Syrah was sourced from Echunga, 410 metres above sea level in the Southern Adelaide Hills. The fruit is grown on well-drained, granitic soils which Stephen believes are perfect for the cultivation of the best quality Syrah. The vineyard is contour planted and is hand harvested in sections progressively through the vintage as each section matures.

Vintage

Spring and early summer were quite warm and very dry, with temperatures cooler than usual in January and early February, which allowed the fruit character to develop at a steadier pace. The usual hot and dry weather soon returned, and as a result the vintage began a week earlier than normal. Although yields were reduced, the quality of the fruit harvested was outstanding and the wines show excellent freshness, vibrancy and intensity.

Vinification

Fermentation took place in small open top fermenters with 20% whole bunches. This along with hand plunging and pump overs contributed to the beautifully silky tannin structure of the wine. After fermentation, the wine was transferred to large format French oak vats and puncheons and matured for 10 months before bottling.

Tasting Notes & Technical Details

This wine is highly perfumed, vibrant and complex. There is a lovely tension between the power and control of the palate with intense juicy black fruit and peppery spice woven into a silky texture with well-integrated dry earthy tannins on the finish. As the use of 'Syrah' in the name suggests, it is more Northern Rhône in style.

Alcohol (ABV)

13.5%

Acidity

6 g/l

Residual Sugar

1.6 g/l

pH

3.73

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
`Old McDonald` Blewitt Springs McLaren Vale GrenacheSP109
Vegetarian
Vegan
Practising Organic
R
Red
Factsheet
Adelaide Tempranillo/TourigaSP110
Vegetarian
Vegan
R
Red
Factsheet
McLaren Vale Grenache/Shiraz/TourigaSP115
Vegetarian
Vegan
R
Red
`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