In the late 1990’s Grenache was hardly known in Western Australia, let alone in Great Southern. But inspired by the great wines of France and Spain, and in the belief that Grenache could do well in a region already building a reputation for high quality Syrah, Matt Swinney ignored the experts (who said Grenache would never ripen in the cool climate of Frankland River) and planted the region’s first bush vine Grenache vineyard. Today these vines produce two remarkable and completely original Grenache-based wines, with a quality that can be traced directly to the unique site and Swinney’s farming philosophy. Indeed, Rob Mann, who has considerable history with the variety, has noted that he has never seen Grenache fruit like it.
The Farvie Grenache is cropped from organically tended and dry-farmed vines planted in 2004, in deep gravelly ironstone over clay sub-soils on the Estate’s upper northeast-facing hillside crest. Each of these vines is picked over multiple passes, with only the very best bunches from each vine—those that are perfectly ripe—set aside for Farvie.
The bunches for the 2019 were further sorted in the winery, then gravity-fed to a 1600-litre French oak vat and two upright demi-muids for natural fermentation, incorporating 20% whole bunches. 12% Mourvèdre was included in the ferment. The wine spent 10 days on skins prior to basket-pressing directly to fine-grained, large format, seasoned French oak for 11 months maturation on gross lees. The wine was made with minimum effective sulphites and bottled unfined.
This is a remarkable and unique expression of Grenache that we think tops the much-heralded 2018 release—it’s just finer. There is so much finesse, restraint and purity on offer here, as well as a tight, savoury structure that is built for the long haul. For lovers of savoury reds, it is already seductive… And it’s already great.
“What a follow-up to the remarkable 2018 debut. The high perfumed notes strike immediately and almost define what is to follow. It’s a very pretty wine with more seductive perfumed notes than the 2018, most likely a result of the slightly cooler vintage. There is about 12 per cent Mourvèdre in the blend and all the fruit comes off the Swinney bush vines. Only large-format seasoned oak has been used. A striking wine of refinement and power that delivers with an effortless deft touch. This is a modern grenache with a distinctive Frankland stamp.” 98 points, Ray Jordan, The West Australian
“The initial release of this wine drew global attention to sleepy Frankland River. This follow-up not only lives up to expectations, it expands them. It’s grenache with grit, a sublime entwining of the variety’s red berry perfume with the often elusive granitic grip that defines the greats. Already comfortable among the best examples of the variety on a global scale.” Nick Ryan, Young Gun of Wine