As with the Riesling, although this is the first release of this label, Pete Schell has been working with Rostein Shiraz fruit since the 2015 harvest. The 2018 harvest was the first where he felt he understood enough about the site and had the quality of vintage to really go for it. It was hand-picked over 10 days, then fully de-stemmed and fermented wild in both oak and stainless steel fermenters. Prior to pressing, the wine spent two weeks on skins. Aging lasted 18 months, on light lees in barriques and demi-muids.
Schell worked with 50% new oak—the upper end for Spinifex’s oak regime—and yet the density of Rostein’s fruit has absorbed this like a sponge. We thought that it would be hard to top the Riesling, but this is simply brilliant. Pete Schell describes Rostein Shiraz as naturally having “…powerful, dark, savoury fruit and strong compact tannin.” Nick Stock’s review really captures that and describes the wine very well. It’s somehow deep and powerful and yet also fine and incredibly digestible. That elusive iron first in a velvet glove—one of the very definitions of greatness. Despite the depth and intensity, “delicious” was a word that kept coming up as the bottle disappeared. We were reminded of a top-notch Northern Rhone Syrah in its weight and complexity as we struggled for comparisons—think of a really refined Cornas and you’ll be getting close. The flavours are knock-out: dark cherry, amaro, rose, anise, also something bloody and ferrous and that super-classy oak. The tannins are there, but they are very fine. The wine disappears almost as quickly as it can be poured. People, we have something very special here.
NICK STOCK | 98 POINTS | JAMESSUCKLING.COM
“This has an assertive, red-cherry and blackberry nose with crushed stones, graphite and abundant fragrant spices, buried deep in black fruit. The palate has dense tannins and very intense, concentrated, blackberry and blood-plum flavors. Chiseled, compressed, velvety and powerful. Needs three to four years.”