BROTHERS AT WAR
EDEN VALLEY - SOUTH AUSTRALIA
*** 5 Star Winery - James Halliday ***
*** 2021 Halliday Wine Companion Best Grenache ***
One of South Australia's rising stars, the buzz around the wines made by brothers Sam and Angus Wardlaw has been building rapidly since the project's inception in 2013 with a single tonne of grapes, culminating recently with the award for 'Best Grenache of the Year' and a 99 point review in the 2021 Halliday guide.
Home territory is Eden Valley's cool climate, organic, Pendee Farm. However, beyond the farm the brothers have access to remarkable plots of old vines in of some of the Barossa's most iconic sites. Their father, David Wardlaw, was one of the bastions of the Barossa Valley in the second half of the 20th century, working alongside greats such as Peter Lehmann, John Vickery, Jim Irvine and Wolf Blass, and his legacy remains at the core of the brother's work. Everything is about the vines - the brothers love the old, gnarly, water starved plants rooted in place in these legendary vineyards, and even more so the characterful fruit they painstakingly provide each year.
The winemaking doesn’t fit any particular dogma other than representing an effort to express these remarkable sites in the most compelling way the brothers can, and the results really are amazing. Stylistically the wines are distinctly 'Barossa' in their power but with an elegance and purity that can only be achieved by using the very best, old vine Eden Valley fruit, handled without heavy handed extraction techniques or too much wine making. And, while it is easy to isolate and wax-lyrical about the powerhouse single vineyard wines, it was actually the entry tier wines that most impressed us upon first tasting - they deliver a level of depth and juicy vibrancy across the board that we just could not walk away from!
2018 Single Vineyard Eden Valley Grenache
99 points, James Halliday + 2021 Halliday Wine Companion Best Grenache - "From 150+ year old vines from the historical Stonegarden Vineyard in Eden Valley - one of the oldest vineyards in the wider Barossa Valley. Natural yeast and about 40% whole bunches, with the balance being destemmed, whole, uncrushed berries. Hand plunged twice daily for two weeks before being pressed to French oak puncheons, then aged on lees for 12 months. No fining or filtration."
2018 Single Vineyard Eden Valley Mataro
96 points, James Halliday -"From 80+ year old vines from the Pendee Farm vineyard in Eden Valley. Mataro is one of the Barossa’s best kept secrets, often being used as a blending variety with Shiraz and Grenache, however, when it is made as a single varietal, the results can be outstanding. Natural yeast and around 30% whole bunches with the balance being destemmed whole berries. Hand plunged twice daily for two weeks before being pressed to French oak hogsheads, then aged on lees for 12 months. No fining or filtration."
2018 Single Vineyard Eden Valley Syrah
96 points, James Halliday - "From 80+ year old vines from the Pendee Farm vineyard. This wine is a tribute of what the beautiful Eden Valley region can produce, with its high altitude and cooler climate to the Barossa Valley, producing wines of alluring elegance and finesse. Handpicked and then destemmed but not crushed into a one-tonne open top fermenter with around 30% whole bunch clusters. Held at 10-15 degrees for five days, before being allowed to warm and start fermentation with natural yeast. Hand plunged twice daily for three weeks before pressing to 40% new French oak puncheons and 60% older French oak puncheons, aged on lees for 18 months racked once during this time. No fining or filtration."
2019 Single Vineyard Barossa Valley Shiraz
96 points, James Halliday - "Sourced from the Lyndoch Ranges, located in the south-west of the Barossa Valley, and paying homage to the intensely concentrated, deep and rich Shiraz which the area is renowned for producing. Around 20% whole bunches, the balance being whole, uncrushed berries. Hand plunged twice daily for three weeks before being pressed to 50% new French oak and 50% older French oak Hogs Heads. 18 months on lees, racked just once."