Dero is Phase Three’s flagship wine. Their focus for the 2021 vintage was to source the best possible fruit they could, after two years of difficulty on that front. Luckily, Ben was doing some odd jobs around Joel Mattschoss’ Wilton Hill property before harvest, and this turned into a “work for fruit” arrangement. Then, as harvest began, the good fortune continued with a call from a mate to alert Ben that there was some extra Pinot at Tony Walker’s nearby vineyard. For being just three vintages in to the Phase Three project, Ben and Sabina have managed to source some pretty incredible fruit, including their now allocated plot from Adrian Hoffmann. The resulting wine is about 90% Shiraz and the remainder Pinot Noir, with one barrique of 2020 Dero added to the blend for good measure. As for the name, Dero, it refers to a social derelict, a “nobody,” which is how Ben and Sabina felt trying to start up a winemaking operation in the Barossa with no family history and no connections. They may be the new kids on the block, but they’ve quickly found their footing.
The fruit was all handpicked in 400 to 1500kg parcels ranging from 11.5-15 beaumé. The largest parcel broken down to three separate ferments, with most going through long, slow whole-cluster carbonic fermentations in stainless steel. A small parcel was open fermented semi-carbonically with an open top. The wine was then transferred to French oak barriques to rest in their cool cellar for around 17 months and blended towards the end of winter 2022 with one barrel of 2020 Dero. Shortly after, 2685 bottles where filled, unfined and unfiltered, with only a small sulfur addition prior to bottling.