Swinney’s 2019 Syrah was hand-harvested from five small parcels planted to a range of clones, including Jack Mann’s heritage massale selection of Syrah and two more recent clones that the Swinneys have introduced from the Rhône Valley. Unlike the Grenache and Mourvèdre, the Syrah is trellised (although there are plans afoot to plant single-stake Syrah in the future).
As is the case for all these wines, the fruit was hand-harvested and sorted, then sent to small wooden and stainless steel fermenters via gravity (with the inclusion of six percent Grenache and an eyedropper’s worth of Mourvèdre for added complexity). Naturally fermented with 18% whole bunches, the wine spent two weeks on skins prior to being pressed directly to fine-grained large format French oak (19% new). The wine was then bottled unfined and minimally filtered after 11 months in barrel.
Like the wines above, this is superb. It’s a perfectly ripe yet vibrant wine, with pure and fleshy plum and grenadine fruit as well as lots and lots of garrigue-like, Mediterranean herb notes. It actually reminds me of a very precise Fonsalette! There, I said it! Outstanding.
“All the cracked pepper and blackberry, the hint of wetsuit neoprene reduction, ground spices, char-grilled sausages on the BBQ. Medium-bodied, blueberry and blackberry, husky wheatgerm flavour and tannin, sweetness chopped back with thyme and black olive, clean acidity, boysenberry pie and a dry nutty finish of excellent length. Excellent. Savoury. Regional. Quite the looker.”
94 points, Gary Walsh, The Wine Front