Swinney Grenache 2020
SPECIAL BUY 6 or more. “One of Australia’s finest versions of the variety” 95 points, Mike Bennie
Siblings Matt and Janelle Swinney have created something very special in the Frankland River region of the Great Southern in WA. The vineyards are part of remote and isolated 2,500 (approx. 6,000 acres) hectare grape growing and grazing property which has been the home of the Swinney family for four generations.
George John Alexander Swinney was a pioneer of the Frankland River Region and settled at ‘Franklands’ in 1922. The ‘Franklands’ property sit on ironstone gravel hill tops above the Frankland River and produce wines that have a distinctly ferrous character – a character strongly associated with the highest quality Frankland River fruit.
Bush vine viticulture is their passion and, with the right site selection and varieties, produces some of the most site-specific fruit you will see. Growing vines this way is labour intensive and requires a lot of dedication and patience – everything must be done by hand, but the lower yield and greater effort is worth the effort! Low-yielding and growing naturally without trellising, bush vines are a rarity in Western Australia and exemplify the Swinney’s long term commitment to producing wines that are a true expression of their unique sites and variety and in as natural and unforced manner as possible.
Winemaker, Rob Mann (grandson of the legendary Jack Mann—the godfather of Western Australian wine)– joined the Swinney team in 2018, whose philosophy is simple—to reflect and preserve the personality of each individual vineyard site. To achieve this, we harvest by hand—often with multiple passes over the same vine—fruit and berry sort and co-ferment where possible.
“There is no question that this vineyard and the style being crafted under one of Australia’s finest winemakers, Rob Mann, have redefined syrah and grenache. These are now the established benchmarks and should be on the buy-now list for anyone with an interest in contemporary Australian wine.” Ray Jordan, The West Australian, 2021
When Matt and Janelle Swinney first decided to plant Grenache and Mourvèdre, many questioned their wisdom, saying the grapes wouldn’t ripen. As it turned out, under Swinney’s uncompromising management, this cool, ironstone pocket of Frankland River now looks like the promised land for these Mediterranean varieties.
Swinney was named 2020 Vineyard of the Year in the inaugural Young Gun of Wine Australian Vineyard of the Year Awards. “The scale of the vineyard, coupled with their pinpoint focus and pursuit of innovation, and the quality of the resulting wines, is truly extraordinary and inspiring”, the judges said.
In the late 1990’s Grenache was hardly known in Western Australia, let alone in Great Southern. But, with a love of top Southern Rhône and Priorat wines, Matt Swinney had a hunch and went ahead and planted the region’s first bush-vine Grenache vineyard. He did so with massale cuttings provided by David Hohnen, giving his new vines pride of place on the site’s ironstone hilltops. As it turns out, Swinney was onto something. Today these bush vines produce two remarkable and completely original wines, with a quality that can be traced directly to the unique site and Swinney’s farming philosophy.
Only selected fruit goes into both this and the Farvie Grenache—each vine was picked over three times with anything not deemed to be perfect declassified. The new release is a blend of 86% Grenache, 7% Mourvèdre and 7% Syrah, all hand-picked from dry-grown, established bush vines. The 2020 was fermented wild with 41% whole bunches. It spent two weeks on skins prior to maturation in 600-litre demi muids (there was no new wood here) before going to bottle, unfined and with minimal filtration.
It’s so bright and vibrant with pure raspberry and red cherry aromas supported by textbook Grenache notes of white pepper, thyme, and smoked bacon. Perfectly balanced and poised, it marries elegance with uncommon fruit purity before tapering into a long, fine, and dusty finish. Max Allen has noted that, “the [Swinney] grenache, in particular, tastes like no other Australian example of this variety and will change perceptions of the Frankland region…”. We could not have put it better.
95 Points, Mike Bennie, The Wine Front “One of Australia’s finest versions of the variety born of the variety born of excellent farming and a unique place. Quite the vision to jam the variety in the ground in the somewhat unlikely place of Great Southern, but hey, there you go. It takes on earthy, savouriness with aplomb, amongst that sour plum, black cherry juice, blood orange and iodine/graphite mineral qualities. Tannins start soft and build to an authority, a trim, succulent, medium weight wine in total cruise control with all elements balanced and a general sense of deliciousness in tow. That texture is superb. Moreish, gulpable but serious red wine. It’s fragrant, flavoursome, complex, interesting, and downright awesome to sip on. You feel the goodness at hello. An inkier expression but righteous.”
RRP $45 Our Special Price $35.99 when you buy 6 or more.
|Region or Country||
Australia, Frankland River, Western Australia
Grenache and Blends
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