Region: Eden/Barossa Valley
First Glance: Elegant, Red-Fruited, Restrained
This is Pete Schell’s higher-toned, red-fruited and more floral expression of the Barossa—a yin to Bête Noir’s yang, you could say. To this end, Schell sources from 10 different plots throughout the Barossa and Eden Valleys from “...generally higher, cooler sites, where earlier harvesting gives wines with bright fruit expression and a textural freshness”. Vine ages vary from 25 to 100 years.
As with most of his reds, Schell employed a range of techniques, with different proportions of whole-bunch, whole berry and destemmed fruit. The aim was for soft extraction, and the ferments were allowed to relax with little agitation. Pete sums up the reasoning behind his gentle approach simply: “it’s easier to overdo it than underdo it in the Barossa”. Short macerations were followed by ferments in stainless steel, concrete and mostly large, seasoned oak (only one new barrel was used).
From a near-ideal growing season that served up even ripening, great flavours and very good natural acidity, Schell’s 2021 captures a moreish mix of spicy meatiness, elegance and succulence. Initial dark and broody notes give way to bright shining acidity, vibrancy and a sense of energy and tension. It’s imbued with terrific depth and fine, sinewy tannins that curl around the tongue—Pete Schell strikes again!
Dave Brookes, Wine Companion - 94pts
"Syrah from a selection of vineyards in the Barossa and Eden Valleys, judicious use of whole clusters, matured on light lees in a combination of large-format vessels for around 8 months prior to bottling. Deep purple red in the glass, it's a rollicking, crunchy, bright and sapid ride with a gorgeous plume of plummy fruit, cut with spice and floral nuance, whole-bunch amaro notes and a sense of space, clarity and detail that brings a smile to the face. Such a wonderful drink and great value.”