This ‘yetti-like’ (in that it is rarely seen) Spanish variety in Australia (or anywhere for that matter) takes on an entirely different life in the hands of Dave and Koen. It is dazzling and bewildering yet familiar notes are aplenty…when nailed properly as it was originally planted as a distillation grape so it is large and rather baseline in notes. The gnarly old vines come from a small vineyard in Williamstown in the southern Barossa on gravelly sand. Three insanely dry winters in a row were met by an absurdly hot summer in Jan/Feb. Prior to this hellish heat wave, there was a hard November frost, which is completely unheard of prior to this vintage. This reduced the yields by more than 90%…thus severely limiting what little ‘commercial’ aspect this wine has ever had. That said, what was there was good…really good. When things couldn’t any weirder for this duo, they decided to do some serious skin contact portions and combining it in the same ferment with direct pressed portions to achieve textural nirvana.
This block (a few rows) is a real head scratcher. According to Dave one day it is a physically hard and innocuous grape and the following day they are large nuggets of sweetness and ample texture. The boys picked the fruit when the acid is about to entirely disappear and then really make a mess of things. A third of the parcel is destemmed and placed in a small fermenter along with another third entirely whole-cluster. The final third is then whole-bunch pressed to juice and poured over the skins and bunches the way you would with an enormous teabag, submerging as much of the solids as possible. It is hand/body plunged 3-4 times a day until the cap drops, then it is stirred 2-3 times a day for 31 days, just for the hell of it (and to really get the phenolic tones racing). The ferment is about two-thirds dry and the tank is then locked up and continues to percolate quietly for four months. The tank is then unsealed, basket-pressed back to stainless steel where it settles for a few weeks then it was time to ring the bottling truck. It was bottled without fining or filtration and just a small squeeze of sulfur.