He's a smart winemaker is Alex Retief, epitomising the sort of switched on 'let's think outside the square' style winemaking that so many clever young Australian producers are currently adopting. Fitting that Alex went for a variety that is entirely uncommon in the Hilltops - Mataro, and crafting it in a sort of dark and savoury, anything-but-flashy, mysterious, moist undergrowth and cool meaty notes style that is not going to please everyone but provides a welcome relief for anyone tired of big sweet reds. It's almost an intellectual wine even, or at least just a clever one. Tasty stuff in a rather young, firm and masculine brooding form.
Light in colour, but medium to full in body, the wine displays a nose that is deep and brambly, full of red-currants and fruits, while the palate dances with a vibrant rhubarb, bright fruits and hint of smokey bacon– savoury backbone and a rich, full mouth-feel, continuing on with a long, lingering finish. There is a great balance to the wine with a gamey, rhubarb length and breadth.
The fruit was all sourced from Mokhinui vineyard in the Hilltops, where the 2013 vintage was one of the best in recent memory. The Hilltops area does not draw water from any river system and so is most reliant on natural rainfall events over the winter period to fill storage dams. In that regard, it was a perfect season. After fermentation in a large open fermenter, the wine was pressed off into older French barriques and matured for 20 months before bottling.