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Barossa Valley

2021 Spinifex Bête Noir Shiraz

$43.99
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The Collective Review

While Schell’s wines remain quite unlike the traditional Barossa norm, they remain saturated with what we often call a ‘sense of place’ and maintain an unmistakable Barossan soul.

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“Deep, bold purple-red colour; aromas of sweet ripe black fruits, blackberry and mulberry, vanilla/chocolate too, the palate full bodied and fruit-sweet at the core, then some astringency comes in thanks to acidity and tannin—but it's all in balance. Plenty happening here. A promising shiraz that will reward patient cellaring.” Huon Hooke, The Real Review Read more
Critic Reviews
Expert Review
95 POINTS
Huon Hooke - The Real Review

“Deep, bold purple-red colour; aromas of sweet ripe black fruits, blackberry and mulberry, vanilla/chocolate too, the palate full bodied and fruit-sweet at the core, then some astringency comes in thanks to acidity and tannin—but it's all in balance. Plenty happening here. A promising shiraz that will reward patient cellaring.” Huon Hooke, The Real Review

Expert Review
95 POINTS
Dave Brookes - Halliday's Wine Companion

“Pete Schell's Bête Noir is a shiraz blended across a selection of Barossan grounds including a portion from the cooler Eden Valley. Typically sporting a super-saturated, magenta-splashed hue with aromas of bright plum, black cherry and blueberry fruits cut with hints of violets, brown spice, ironstone, dark chocolate, smoked meats, cherry confit and earth. Glossy and impressively pure, there's ferrous edge to the tight tannins and an acid line that propels the pure fruit briskly across the palate, finishing elegant yet opulent.” Dave Brooks, winecompanion.com.au

Expert Review
94 POINTS
Campbell Mattinson - The Wine Front

“It’s flush with fruit but there’s a meatiness to this and its churned with tannin too, grainy tannin. Charred meats, blackberries and blueberries, a floral element and fist loads of roasted spice. It’s bold but neat, tannic but not at the expense of the overall flow. Excellent gear, this.” Campbell Mattinson, The Wine Front

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Technical Attributes
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Tasting Notes

The old-world feel is strong with this one. Packing a supple core of black and red fruit and veins of aromatic spice and savouriness, its magnificent length and refined web of tannin has the 2021 flirting with best-ever territory.

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Winemakers Note

A Bête Noir is the bane of one’s existence and refers to the multitude of small parcels that go into this blend. Pete Schell’s ‘21 is a blend of old-vine Barossa Shiraz and Eden Valley Shiraz sourced from vines across nine small family vineyards of Barossa’s sub-regions—with the eastern foothills, Moppa, Eden Valley and Light Pass all playing contrasting roles. Vineyard age ranges between 25 and 125 years, with “65 years being a fair average across the blend”, according to Schell. So, 100% old vine Shiraz from a great vintage in the hands of a master blender. Wonder how this is going to turn out…

 

The proportion of whole clusters varied from “everything to nothing” depending on the vineyard, with roughly 35% in the final cuvée. Vinified with indigenous yeast fermentation, élevage on lees in new (35%) and seasoned French oak barrels—ranging in capacity from 225-litre to 4500-litre—for 20 months before bottling without filtration.

“It’s a really good year”, offers Pete Schell of 2021, in typically economical fashion. Factoring in his penchant for understatement, “a really good year” for Schell means something a little more for the rest of us. Inspired by the classically styled Barossa reds from the 70s and 80s (bottles plundered from friend's parents’ cellars), it’s a refined, medium-bodied, detailed and aromatic wine with the ‘last-man-standing’ confidence of a truly exciting vintage.

 

We first offered Spinifex’s wines in 2006, writing, “If Spinifex is not one of the most exciting Australian producers to have cropped up in the last decade, then we don’t know much about wine.” Time has been kind to those words, and thanks to this outstanding producer’s continuous progression, our reputation is not only still intact but indeed enhanced! Thanks, Pete.

Spinifex was started by Magali Gely and Peter Schell in 2001. Magali and Peter’s background is the key to understanding the styles of wine they produce. Magali comes from a family that has been growing wine near Montpellier for over ten generations, whilst Peter is a trained oenologist and has made wine in Burgundy, Switzerland, Provence, the Minervois, the Languedoc, Bordeaux and New Zealand. Peter and Magali’s combined backgrounds led to the belief that the vineyard is paramount in the production of unique, authentic wines, and that the wines they produce should not only reflect their sites; showing richness and intensity; but also, be well-balanced and a pleasure to drink.

Pete Schell should be considered one of the pioneers of the ‘new Barossa’, in that he was perhaps the first to truly grasp that seeking ripe fruit at lower Baumé and large format, or at least neutral oak was the way to go in the Barossa. He knew that power came naturally in this part of the world and that his efforts need to be directed at finding perfume and finesse and digestibility. He also grasped the importance of the old parcels of heritage grape varieties (much of which had been grubbed up) and worked hard to lock down what he could. Finally, and most thought-provokingly, he came to realise that the Barossa might well be as good a rosé and white wine region as it is a red wine area and promptly set about producing some of the most exciting examples of these wine styles the Barossa has seen.

While Schell’s wines remain quite unlike the traditional Barossa norm, they remain saturated with what we often call a ‘sense of place’ and maintain an unmistakable Barossan soul.

Twenty years into the story and Pete Schell’s fastidious criteria for site selection combined with his intuitive, hands-off work in the winery continues to yield dramatic results. His wines offer the textural openness and generosity that is the mark of the region, its climate and ancient soils, yet not at the expense of definition, tannic freshness and line.

Alongside their ground-breaking roster of négoce wines, Pete and Magali have realised their lifelong goal of owning and working their own vineyards. And what vineyards they are. The Rostein Vineyard in the Eden Valley was purchased in 2014. To complement the old vine Riesling and Shiraz already in place, they’ve planted Grenache (the highest block in South Australia at 495 metres) Mataro, Counoise and Cinsault. Next came the historic Dominion Vineyard near Vine Vale in 2018. Located in the dead centre of the Barossa Valley, this four-hectare site is home to two parcels of 1910 Grenache and 1918 Shiraz. Both varieties are deep-rooted in thin soils made up of fine, silty sand over friable, red-coloured clay. Translation: this is great, old-school Barossa country. A little Grenache Gris has also been planted.

Each of these vineyards is entirely hand-pruned, hand-picked and has been managed to a very high standard, namely: biodynamic preparations; regular compost; no synthetics and no chemical fertiliser; no irrigation; and no under-vine management apart from some mulch application and lots of mowing. Despite this exciting evolution, Schell’s unwavering commitment to his growers means the négoce wines will always remain a cornerstone of the Spinifex range. 

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Delivery Details

Marketplace Product: Dispatch from Sydney warehouse in approximately 8 business days. Vintages for Marketplace items are subject to change, and we cannot guarantee the specific vintage you ordered will be delivered. Generally, the latest available vintage will be delivered to you.


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