Take everything you know about Barossa Grenache, then forget you know it. That is step one for really enjoying this bottle! There is an air of McLaren Vale-ness to the wine, but with more intensity of fruit (old vine Barossa) but still in a bright, crunchy style. This is by no means a simple wine though. The fruit comes entirely from the ‘Hongell Vineyard’, an old-vine site just south of the historic Barossa region of Tanunda in Krondorf. While the vineyard is not certified, it has been farmed organically for over ten years. Steve loves the grip and density, while being light, this site gives. 2020 really kicked everyone’s asses and this vineyard was no exception but it was really the end of 2019 that set the stage. Insane heat during flowering in the spring handcuffed the vines for production before then even started. This created very low yields and with small, concentrated berries. The resulting tannins are a bit more than previous years but the fruit is still pure and with the elegance you’d expect from Steve’s gentle hands.
The fruit was hand-harvested in mid-February, roughly a month earlier than usual, and underwent an overnight cold soak. One-third of the fruit was left intact with the remaining bunches being destemmed but not crushed. Fermentation kicked off in less than a day with frequent, light, hand plunging being implemented and after three weeks on skins the wine was gently pressed to old 500L French puncheons. It aged without any additions for eight months and was bottled without fining or filtration and just a small sulfur addition.