From time to time you may find some ramblings from our winemaker here: on new release wines, seasonal updates, interesting experiences or a bee in his bonnet.
Archetype [ahr-ki-tahyp] noun
The original pattern or model from which all things of the same kind are copied or on which they are based; a model or first form; prototype.
In 2014 it was our 4th vintage for Dodgy Brothers, and we wanted to expand our range. We thought that we should find two vineyards – one Shiraz and one Grenache, and highlight those two vineyards individually. These vineyards - unique and expressive in their own way, were representative of the place they come from, while also incorporating a McLaren Vale style fingerprint. Or that was the idea anyway.
The two vineyards we chose were the Redwind vineyard on Bayliss rd for Shiraz, and the Blown Away vineyard on Plains rd for Grenache. Both of these vineyards are located in the Sellicks Foothills sub region, in the southwest end of McLaren Vale. We picked these two vineyards because of their reputation for providing top flight fruit, and that they would fit into the style of wine we were making. Both the Shiraz and the Grenache were handled traditionally: both crushed and destemmed with about a 10-day ferment, pressed off to mostly old oak (the Shiraz had 1 new barrel out of 4), and then about 14 months of elevage in barrel before bottling.
Upon release, both the wines were well received, with the Shiraz getting our highest ever (at the time) Halliday score, while the Grenache kicked some goals with UK wine critic Jancis Robinson, with her saying she lost her heart to the wine and asked the question “Grenache at its best?” at a McLaren Vale Grenache tasting in London.
Commercially, the Shiraz was more popular than the Grenache. Looking back, single vineyard Grenache was a bit of a rarity at the time, and I think that perhaps affected the sales of the wine. The Shiraz sold out in a few months, while the Grenache sales were much slower. But It’s pretty amazing to see where Grenache has come to in 8 years. Grenache grapes are almost impossible to find in McLaren Vale these days, and I have no doubt the average price per ton of Grenache this year will eclipse Shiraz. Add that to the fact that we can’t make enough Grenache these days to meet demand, and we make a fraction of the volume of Shiraz compared to Grenache. I suppose we were just a little bit ahead of the curve.
Happily, I socked away a stash of both of these wines to see how they develop over time, and also to potentially offer them to our customers a ways down the road. Fortunately for you, that time has arrived. I cracked both of these wines last week and they are lovely drinking at the moment. The Grenache is soft and round while still retaining some freshness and vibrancy – the delicate tannins are now refined and silky, while the fruit has developed into secondary and tertiary characters. The Shiraz has rounded out from the beast of a wine it was, with silky texture and a core of concentrated fruit still providing the foundation of the wine. These are robust reds, meant for drinking on a cool summer night or fireside in the heart of winter.
2014 Archetype Shiraz: The complex bouquet ranges through black fruits, polished leather and licorice, the medium-bodied palate seductively juicy and supple, with a long, lingering fruit-filled finish and aftertaste. A classy example of McLaren Vale shiraz, the handling of cedary French oak right on the money. Drink 2017-2030. 96 points, James Halliday Wine Companion
2014 Archetype Grenache: From a single vineyard in the Sellicks Foothills. Pale ruby. Very rich and broad and hedonistic on the nose. Immediately appealing! Fine tannins. Real energy and lift. Grenache at its best? Almost irresistible combination of sweetness and transparency. Rose-petal flavours. 14.3% Drink 2017-2023. 17.5/20, Jancis Robinson
2019 Juxtaposed Old Vine Grenache
A blend of the Smart Vineyard in Clarendon and the Wait Vineyard in Blewitt Springs. The Wait vineyard will be 80 in a couple years and the Smart Vineyard will be 100 next year. I consider myself pretty lucky to get this fruit. It is in seriously short supply and considering the heavy hitters in McLaren Vale chasing fruit from these sites I’m not sure how I manage to pull this off every year. Not really much to say about the wine. Bottled it a little later than I normally do by about 3 months for no other reason as I was busy as hell trying to get my PhD over the line. It goes into large format old oak, don’t really do anything to it other that top the barrels over the year. Juist trying to make an honest expression of McLaren Vale Grenache. Still $29 RRP.