Fraser’s ‘simple yet attentive’ farming philosophy remains unchanged with the annual ‘Little Wine’ release that how now started its second decade of production. ‘Little Wine’ is a unique wine, as it is comprised of fruit from multiple vintages, with the older vintage portions adding depth and weight, and the younger contributing lift and fruit vibrancy. Some parcels are picked early for acidity and drive, some picked much later providing that definitive Barossa richness. Fraser remains prudent in the vineyard with biodynamic farming and harvesting taken fully into account. Furthermore he is vigilant not just during the growing season but during the ‘regrowth’ season with all pruning cuts are made amid descending lunar cycles, producing healthy canes, balanced clusters and small berries with resilient skins in the summer. Shoot thinning, suckering and crop paring are all integral parts of the annual cycle with an ideal to farm as simply as possible, resulting in the harvest of healthy fruit early in the season that requires no additions or adjustments and little intervention. As always ‘Little Wine’ is an ‘assemblage’ of multiple vintages primarily from the younger vines of the ‘HD’ vineyard. This release is from seven consecutive vintages (2015-2021 – 46% 2021, 18% 2020, 16% 2019, 2% 2018, 9% 2017, 5% 2016 & 4% 2015) and from vines planted from 1994-1996, 1960, 1927 & the oldest vines planted prior to 1912.
The grapes were hand-harvested and hand-sorted back at the winery. The carefully selected whole-clusters were placed into small one-ton fermenters and fermented without any additions as well as temperature control. The whole clusters started fermentation without any manual manipulation and after ten days were gently pigeaged by foot for 16-28 days and then basket pressed into Burgundy pièces (20% of which were new) for maturation. Primary and malolactic fermentation finished in barrel and to encourage the retention of naturally occurring carbon dioxide (a natural preservative and antioxidant) the wines are not racked during their élevage and remain on their lees until they are assembled. The assembly of barrels spent anywhere from 6-78 months in barrel and was bottled without fining or filtration and just a small sulfur addition.