“Whilst Shiraz might be the poster boy for the Barossa, we believe blending it with Grenache and Mataro produces the best drinking wines from this region.
Thanks to our good mates the Riebke brothers and other Barossa growers whose families have stuck by these varieties for the past 100 years or more, we’re privileged to have fruit from very old vines to make our GMS blends. In 2002, our first vintage, we made one wine...an unoaked GMS blend we called Joshua. With that wine selling out quickly, we decided to have a crack at releasing a second wine from the vintage, a different take on the original blend and aged in old seasoned oak for 12 months.
Loosely interpreted, Avatar can mean ‘transformation’...so a pretty good moniker for a wine we fondly refer to as the older brother for our Josh’. The blend percentages for Avatar might change each vintage, but the recipe doesn’t vary much...Grenache (about 50% in 2013) for spice and bright red fruits, Mataro (30%) for some savoury earthiness and depth....Shiraz (20%) for plump plum and rich black fruit.
The time in oak...and the choice of old seasoned oak...ensures it serves only as a seasoning to add complexity and savoury nuance. With vines this old, we want the fruit and earth to speak with the clearest voice. 2013 was verging on a drought year with a very dry winter and spring followed by a warm, dry growing season. This resulted in very compact vintage, and with the grapes ripening quickly, our typical 13 week vintage turned into about 6 weeks! Out of ferment the wines were all elbows and seemingly quite difficult to manage. However, after 12+ months in barrel the wines are looking fantastic. Very deep colors and bold and intense flavour profiles with nice structures – without being heavy or intrusive.
The elbows have pulled in and the wines have become quite polite with enough flavour to keep even the heaviest Barossa red drinkers happy without being weighty. I reckon the Barossa Valley wines from 2013 are exciting...and early feedback from our new releases suggests the same..” Harvest dates Grenache 5-15th March 2013, Mataro 25th March to 10 April 2013, Shiraz Mid March 2013 Fermenta1on 4-5 days on skins for Grenache and Mataro, warm (up to 28DegC) on the tail end of ferment. The Shiraz is fermented cooler.
Vineyard loca1on & age Grenache & Mataro ≈ 100 years old, Ebenezer Shiraz 20 years old, Williamstown; Oak: 14 months in Seasoned oak puncheons and hogsheads; T.A. g/L 5.8 pH 3.55 RS g/L <2.5 alc 14.5%