The 2013 vintage has arrived – but not in the usual way. Two French oak barrels are in Sydney and one of them is currently pouring by the glass and the caraffe at Barrel and Beast, Jared Ingersoll’s pop up restaurant in Pyrmont. The restaurant is all about feasting, with a limited menu based on the spit roasting of a whole beast, be it pig, lamb, goat or whatever Jared can lay his hands on.
The food is sensational and I’m stoked with the way the 2013 Grenache is looking, straight out of the barrel. The time in oak has beefed up the texture but it still has the spice and vibrancy that was evident in the Eden Valley fruit during crushing and ferment.
Barrel and Beast is open until the end of May. Check it out here. https://www.facebook.com/BarrelandBeast
pumping Grenache from barrel
The 2012 Sparrow & Vine red is now available. It’s mostly (70%) Grenache from Noel Doecke’s organically farmed Eden Valley vineyard, planted in the 1960′s. The Shiraz, Mataro and Carignan are from old vines planted in the sandy soils of the Vine Vale subregion on the Barossa Valley, farmed biodynamically by Wayne Ahrens and Suzie Hilder.
It’s handled pretty gently in the winemaking process. Hand picked, fermented with natural yeasts with some whole bunches in the mix. No oak used and the only preservative a pinch of sulphur at bottling.
The concept of the wine was to create something that had some of the weight and texture of Pinot Noir but with a generosity of fruit. The cooler heights of the Eden Valley produces Grenache with the right pitch of juicy red fruit balanced with fresh acidity and without the sweet, jammy character that it can produce in warmer sites. Structure and some spice from the Shiraz, Mataro and Carignan add complexity. I’m very happy with the result.
It has a distinctive, lifted, dark cherry and raspberry perfume and some bright, leafy notes. The palate is bursting with that dark cherry juiciness and darker blackfruits and balanced with spice from the Shiraz, fresh turned earthy notes and effortlessly fine tannins.
It really is delicious, moreish stuff, made for drinking early and often. It’s a great match for tapas style food and will certainly take a chill on a warm day.
The 2011 Sparrow and Vine Dry Red is also safely in bottle. Once that bottle is open though it does tend to empty rather quickly.
This vintage is a blend of 60% Grenache, 20% Mataro, 15% Shiraz and 5% Cinsault. All the fruit was hand picked off Wayne Ahrens’ vineyard at Vine Vale in the Barossa Valley.
Wayne made the wine too, with a deft hand indeed. It is very much small batch winemaking, fermented with wild yeasts, hand plunged, minimal sulphur additions. The Mataro component spent some time in large, old oak barrels, but not so that it is obvious in the wine.
And a delicious drink it is too. Wonderfully perfumed, quite floral really, almost rose-like with cherry and raspberry fruit scents. The palate is really juicy and cherried, the natural sweetness of the Grenache balanced by Shiraz spice and distinctively fine grained Mataro tannins giving it a bit of a Pinot Noir like mouthfeel. (I like to refer to it as Barossa Burgundy).
It has it all really, fruit, spice, fine bones and effortlessly drinkable. Bugger all made too, so if you want some get in touch soon.
The 2011 Sparrow and Vine Grenache Rosè has landed. As with the 2010 vintage this is sourced from Noel Doecke’s vineyard in the Eden Valley and is made in the same, European influenced dry style. It was made by Wayne Ahrens of Smallfry Wines.
Grapes were picked in two tranches about a week apart and at lower sugar levels than the 2010 leaving a finished wine at a refreshing 10.9% alcohol. Fermentation was in tank with natural, wild yeasts and the lees had a regular stir to add some texture.
Again a bone dry style and one that dips its lid to Spain with aromas of straw, raspberries and spice before the palate, taut with cherry and tangy raspberry flavours and a really crisp, clean refreshing finish.
You can read a review of the wine by Steve at Qwine Blog if you click here. He summed it up in one word, delicious. Couldn’t have put it better myself.
It seems to have taken a long time to get there but the 2011 Sparrow and Vine wines finally hit the bottle just prior to Christmas and will be released in the next fortnight.
2011 was a challenging vintage with rain wreaking considerable havoc across most Australian wine regions. The S&V Rose was once again sourced from Noel Doecke’s Eden Valley vineyard but the GSM fruit source had to be from elsewhere. Noel’s grapes succumbing to botrytis infection. Luckily we had another option and are really quite exited by the quallity of Grenache, Mataro, Shiraz and a wee bit of Cinsault that was taken from Wayne Ahrens’s old Vine Vale plantings.
Tiny quantities again, stay tuned for availability.
Ripe and ready for summer, the Sparrow & Vine GSM is available now.
Eden Valley Grenache spiked with some old vine Barossa floor Shiraz and Mataro. Unwooded, unfiltered fermented with natural yeasts. It’s dark, juicy, fine textured and made for drinking in the flush of youth.
While It can be described as a “joven” style with a nod to Spain, I don’t want to get all cultural cringy about it being a European style. Mainly because I believe the Eden Valley can produce the generosity of the Barossa with some cooler climate restraint. Especially with Grenache. I also think Grenache can have Pinot Noir characteristics when grown somewhere cooler and cropped lower. I like to think of this red as Barossa Burgundy…though it’s probably closer to a Barossa Beaujolais style. But from one of those better richer sites like Chiroubles, not that Nouveau rubbish.
Check out this review of it by wine scribe Patrick Haddock. I think he nails it nicely.
The first S & V wine is bottled and ready to go. A dry rose style made from Grenache ( and a splash of Alicante Bouchet) grown in the Eden Valley, the high country to the east of the Barossa.
Sparrow & Vine is a (rather small) wine business. We focus on producing tiny quantities of high quality wine from established vineyards and regions that are noted for the style.
We also carefully select wines from producers we know and trust who have the same ideals as us.
We’re wine drinkers and produce wines that are for drinking. We’re striving for freshness and vitality. We value integrity and place. We offer deliciousness and value.
First wines will arrive from the 2010 vintage about the same time 2011 vines burst.
Online store coming soon too.
Want to know more? Email me firstname.lastname@example.org