Review Score 96James Suckling 95The Wine Front 94
Frankland River

2022 Swinney Grenache

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The Collective Review

“The Swinney vineyard represents modern viticulture interwoven with Old-World techniques, executed with precision through a combination of exhaustive manual work and state-of-the-art technology, and all underpinned by an environmental focus...and the quality of the resulting wines, is truly extraordinary and inspiring.” Young Gun of Wine – Australian Vineyard of The Year 2020

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Fragrant, highly perfumed and thoroughly delightful opening of this bouquet. The fruit intensity is stunning especially when you consider the medium palate weight. It’s such a vibrant and pure expression of the vineyard with a distinct ironstone, grainy character evident. Lifted red rose petal fruits with a trace of raspberry brightness. A distinctly linear wine with a high chalky acidity. Love it. Read more
Critic Reviews
Expert Review
96 POINTS
Ray Jordan - Winepilot.com

Fragrant, highly perfumed and thoroughly delightful opening of this bouquet. The fruit intensity is stunning especially when you consider the medium palate weight. It’s such a vibrant and pure expression of the vineyard with a distinct ironstone, grainy character evident. Lifted red rose petal fruits with a trace of raspberry brightness. A distinctly linear wine with a high chalky acidity. Love it.

Expert Review
95 POINTS
James Suckling

This is a return to form after the previous vintage, which I felt was a little charmless. A sturdy, full-weighted grenache that is far from the pinot-esque zeitgeist found in McLaren Vale. Here, more brawn, dark spice and tannic sinew. More Rhone-like, as effete as the comparison may be. In fact, it is the courageous tannins that build across a scape of kirsch, damson, dried sage, anise, and pickled orange zest, that serve as the wine's opus. A scruff of whole-bunch thyme and tapenade to conclude. This will make good older bones. A very sturdy grenache. Best after 2027. Screw cap.

Expert Review
94 POINTS
Gary Walsh - The Wine Front

Ripe raspberry, spice, floral perfume, black tea, liquorice and iodine. It’s fleshy and ferrous, ripe and quite earthy/bloody, with lavish crushed rock tannin, ginger biscuits, blood plum and orange peel, strewn with dried herbs and a closes with a firm dry chewy finish of excellent length. Distinctive wine. Very good. Gary Walsh, The Wine Front

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Technical Attributes
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Tasting Notes

“Deep, lively crimson. Pure and energetic. Lavender, rolled tobacco, summer pudding and cinnamon. Medum- to full-bodied with intense raspberry compote, salted liquorice and fresh concrete. The wonderful acid spine carries the flavours and balance beautifully, and the tight-knit tannins provide the structure for a long and morish finish.” Swinney

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Winemakers Note

Back in the late 1990s Grenache was hardly known in Western Australia, let alone in the Great Southern. But with a love of top southern Rhône and Priorat wines, Matt Swinney had a hunch and planted the region’s first bush-vine Grenache vineyard. He did so with mass-selection cuttings from David Hohnen and gave his new vines pride of place on the Swinney site’s ironstone hilltops.
Fruit for the 2022 Swinney Grenache was handpicked from the well-established, dry-grown bush vines on the Wilsons Pool vineyard’s rich gravel/loam soils. In the vineyard, each vine was passed over multiple times, ensuring only perfect fruit was harvested. In the cellar, the fruit was destemmed and sorted berry by berry. Fermentation occurred with 15% whole bunches in a combination of small wooden fermenters and stainless-steel tanks. The wine spent two weeks on skins before being pressed to a 3600-litre seasoned French vat for 11 months’ maturation.
Having spent many years working towards it, Mann was delighted to finally have a large enough crop to conduct what he terms “a proper large-oak fermentation”. Combined with the dense core of flavour from the dry-grown bush vines, this practice highlights the lucidity and freshness that you find in Swinney’s Grenache fruit. Dark-fruited and spicy, with signature sinewy structure, Swinney is setting a new standard for Australian Grenache.

 

The road from grape grower to winemaker can be fraught with difficulties. Yet, by building from the vineyard first, employing a dream team of passionate and experienced people, and never taking the focus away from quality, siblings Matt and Janelle Swinney have created something exceptional in the Frankland River region of WA.

It’s one thing to aim for the stars; it’s quite another to have the tools to get there. Matt Swinney had a powerful vision to establish a benchmark and unique vineyard on his family’s property, situated on the gravelly, ironstone soils of the Frankland. His intention was always to found a benchmark wine label using only the finest fruit, but good things take time—especially when it comes to vines! Most plantings occurred in 1998, and the site quickly garnered a reputation for quality and originality. Innovations such as planting bush vines (the first in modern-day WA, where they are virtually unknown) and taking the leap with Grenache and Mourvèdre (in a region that many felt was too cool for these Mediterranean varieties) certainly raised eyebrows. Today, both these decisions have proven to be inspiring.  

Fast forward to today, and the Swinney estate has become regarded by many as the finest Shiraz vineyard in WA, not to mention an excellent source for Frankland River Riesling. They have also staked their claim (pardon the pun!) as one of the world’s great sites for both Grenache and Mourvèdre—if you think we’re exaggerating, then we look forward to showing you the upcoming releases. More recently, in 2018, the Swinneys invited renowned winemaker Rob Mann to join the team. Mann is the grandson of the legendary Jack Mann—the godfather of Western Australian wine—and is internationally respected in his own right after his work at Cape Mentelle, Hardy’s Tintara and Newton in the Napa. By his own account, Mann took one look at the vineyard and asked, “Where do I sign on?”

“The Swinney vineyard represents modern viticulture interwoven with Old-World techniques, executed with precision through a combination of exhaustive manual work and state-of-the-art technology, and all underpinned by an environmental focus...and the quality of the resulting wines, is truly extraordinary and inspiring.” Young Gun of Wine – Australian Vineyard of The Year 2020

The Swinneys have been no less careful about who they entrusted their vines. Following celebrated viticulturist Lee Haselgrove’s tenure, in 2021 Rhys Thomas joined the team as viticulturalist and vineyard manager. A long-term buyer of Swinney fruit, Thomas has been walking the blocks and rows of the Swinney vineyards for over 15 years and was a leading force in the family’s drive towards pure quality and sustainability. His soil and aspect-driven approach will only further help peel back the layers of the Swinny’s outstanding terroir.  

Over the last handful of vintages, the Swinney label has been celebrated by critics worldwide in a way that is most unusual for such a young producer. Despite their sizeable holdings, the Swinneys produce very limited volumes of their own wine, cherry-picking a tiny percentage of their parcels for their own production. These vines are micromanaged to deliver the very finest and most expressive fruit they can grow. Mostly dry-farmed, the Swinney parcels are low cropped (at one to two tonnes per acre), and the canopy management is meticulous. There’s shoot and bunch thinning and shade cloth for the Shiraz and Riesling fruit, creating soft, dappled light and lower temperatures in the bunch zone. In the case of Grenache, the vines are harvested three times to pick only perfectly ripe fruit. Even then, the fruit is further graded depending on the wine it’s destined for. It’s an obsessive style of viticulture, and it shows in the wines.

The winemaking philosophy here is equally precise yet straightforward. Both Mann and the Swinney family want to reflect and preserve the personality of each individual vineyard site in that season. They want people to be reminded of the place rather than the maker. After careful sorting, fermentations are natural; Robb Mann also favours co-fermentation and the flavour and structural integration this brings. Gravity flow is utilised to avoid pumping, maximising the percentage of whole berries and minimising maceration. Mann is looking for an infusion-style, gentle extraction, and this approach goes a long way to explaining the remarkable balance and purity of the wines. The reds are aged in mostly seasoned wood, ranging from 500-litre demi muids to 36-hl wooden vats. The resulting wines are outstanding and shine with character, craft and respect for the land.

Swinny’s Farvie label represents the finest quality and purest vineyard expression from the family’s best, organically managed sites. These are wines made from specific vines and bunches, farmed in the kind of obsessive fashion that we associate with the most outstanding growers worldwide. The Farvie vines are rooted in the deep, gravelly, ironstone crests of the Swinney Estate’s upper, northeast-facing hillsides. The vines are exposed to the cool breezes off the river, and the prevalence of rusting lateritic gravel in the soil allows for excellent drainage and deep access to moisture. This specific soil type and aspect has been identified as delivering the purest earth-to-glass expression (described by winemaker Rob Mann as a ferrous or bloody note) and also providing purity, restraint and a noble tannin profile. Both the Grenache and the Shiraz are stimulating, cutting-edge wines born from skilful and fanatical farming practices. 

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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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