Sami Odi Little Wine #8 Syrah
There were 24 barrels of this wine produced, a smaller release than last year (2018). As always, a blend of vintages, “the struggle is always ripeness and acidity”, offers the ever-thoughtful vigneron Fraser McKinley. Interestingly, there is a component of the Little Wine #7 that finds its way into this wine, “I drained two barrels off of the #7; I’ve had a fun time with it, but it’s also a kind of way of lending more detail, taking the wine more seriously”.
It’s interesting to listen to the modus operandi of the process to get to this wine, fascinating even, so much detail and consideration goes into it, as does a kind of liberation from the norm of making single wines from single vintages, “I’ll find a home for grapes picked to make wine at 11.5% alcohol as I will at 16%, all the elements become part of the wine set I can work with, and it gives me additional freedom across the process when you are blending for a non-vintage wine each year”.
“I think it is hugely important that this interests me, how could people be interested if I am not?”, offers McKinley, “in the last few years I have made a conscious effort to drink more of my own wine… it helps me work through how each year will work with blending. Blending used to be a more end of process consideration, but looking at wines from the past, as reference, and now looking at blending as a whole year process, a more constant process of working with wines I have in cellar, it seems to have become a greater focus and labour”.
“You can’t shake the powerful thumbprint of red clay of Ebenezer, but I am still looking for freshness. For the community in Ebenezer I have no doubt, despite that the world would see my wines as full and rich, that they would think that this is the Diet Coke picnic wine of the sub-region”, joshes McKinley. There’s certainly the sense that this wine shows unfettered vitality for a parish known for grunt and muscle.
This year sees and exacting blend of 2018 (48%), 2017 (29%), 2016 (12%), 2015 (9%) and 2012 (2%) vintages.
This is so good. It’s not just the shape of the wine, the inviting perfume, the cornucopia of flavours, but the general sense of compulsion to drink. And drink. Violets, exotic spice, game meat, pepper/dried green herb and dark berries/plums greet from the bouquet. A suppleness up front in the palate, that soothing swish of dark fruit, cool acidity, then light peppery spice weaves its way in and there’s the detail… earth, mineral, elemental things, and a shuffle of ultra-fine, high class threads of velour tannin. Elegance might be a good word but the depth of flavour, grunty, red-earth-on-blue-King-Gee-work-shirt character and dripping generosity of true-blue Barossa is peering under the veil of the wine. Hard to find better from the region.
97+ Points, Mike Bennie - The Wine Front