The fruit is hand-picked in separate lots for flavour and tannin maturity and each lot sorted by hand and crushed into small open-top fermenters. 15% whole bunch is used with wild fermentation to build structure and texture as well as highlight the distinctive personalities of the fruit from each parcel. The wines spend up to two weeks on skins prior to being pressed directly to fine-grained large format French oak (25% new), as separate lots, which are blended and bottled after 11 months in barrel. The wine is made with minimum effective sulphites, is not fined and only minimally filtered.
"Convincing. It’s tempting to describe this as savoury but it’s better to say that it’s not-sweet. It tastes of asphalt and dried herbs, earth and an assortment of berries, cedary oak and minor reduction adding yet more breadth It’s firm, bold, neat and more."
93+ points, The Wine Front (October 2019)
"Blended in the proportions 40:40:20. Mann and Swinney profess themselves excited about Mourvèdre. Quite a high whole-bunch portion. Vines about 20 years old. 'Not an MIS' (managed investment scheme), I am assured. Upright Mourvèdre bush vines, all co-fermented. Swinney's best fruit from the top of the hills on ironstone gravel goes into this label, apparently. The same ageing as for the Swinney Grenache.
Very deep purplish mulberry. Sumptuous nose and the fruit disguises the tannin in this. I'd love to show some Bandol growers this! So clean yet very seductive, with masses of ripe fruit. Creamy texture. Pretty smart!"
17 points, jancisrobinson.com (October 2019)
"What a suberb example of this blend and style we have here. Perfumed aromas with hints of rose petal, raspberry and savoury plum. There's a dry earthiness on the palate, which balances the sweeter fruits of these three varieties. Understated oak lets the fruit do its thing. A belter."
96 points, The West Australian (October 2019)
Deep, bright red/purple colour. Strong pepper and dry Eastern spice aromas, the red and darker fruit aromas beneath. The wine is medium to full-bodied and intense, with firm upright structure and a lovely core of sweet fruit. Abundant tightly-bunched, finely-textured tannins linger well, in harmony with the flavour. (43% syrah, 38% mourvèdre, 19% grenache. 15% whole bunches)
95 points, The Real Review (August 2019)
No surprise that the zesty/zippy Frankland River blend performs very differently to the Barossa Valley or McLaren Vale, closer to the middle/northern Rhone Valley. This is a very enjoyable mouthful of spicy red and black fruits.
94 points, Wine Companion (September 2019)