On the 2018 Farvie Syrah, Nick Ryan wrote “This might just be the best shiraz I’ve seen out of Western Australia. It is a wine that redefines the variety in the west.” [The Australian]. Given that Shiraz is the historical champion of Great Southern, that’s a mighty complement for an inaugural release—and the 2019 is, in our opinion, an even better wine! This is a remarkable expression of Australian Shiraz that puts Western Australia right back in the conversation when it comes to benchmarks for this variety.
Swinney’s Syrah comes from a single parcel of 22-year-old Syrah vines (on a similar soil profile to the Grenache) that includes a range of clones, including Jack Mann’s (winemaker Rob Mann’s grandfather!) heritage massale selection. Unlike the bush vine Grenache and Mourvèdre, the Syrah is trellised, although there are plans afoot to plant single-stake Syrah in the future. As with the Grenache above, the vines were meticulously managed and the fruit was sorted in both vineyard and winery. Although the Frankland River is cool-climate continental, Swinney also use shade cloth for the Shiraz on the western side, creating a soft, mottled light to protect the skins and lower the temperature in the bunch zone.
After sorting, 54% whole bunches were incorporated to build structure and texture while promoting bright and spicy aromatics. Everything was gravity-fed to a French oak vat and two 600L demi-muids for natural fermentation. The wine spent 11 days on skins before it was basket-pressed directly to fine-grained large format French oak, where it was aged for 11 months prior to bottling (the wine only saw 8% new oak). Like the Farvie Grenache, the Farvie Syrah was made with minimum effective sulphites and was bottled unfined.
“Tremendous example of syrah from Frankland River. High-end aromatics that release after decanting. And it needed decanting because it is still such a tightly wound and tense wine, withholding its best for a few years. The juice runs by gravity to a large oak vat and two 600L barrels before gentle pressing to large format French oak of which only 8 per cent is new. It’s unfined and minimally filtered which really maximises the sense that this is a wine of the vineyard. Glorious wine that captures all that is good from this region.” 98 points, Ray Jordan, The West Australian
“Very deep, bright purple/red colour, with an alluring bouquet of smoked smallgoods, assorted spices, dark plum and a flick of black pepper. It’s highly concentrated and essency, with pristine fruit clarity and a tremendously long carry. Red and black fruits carry through an almost endless finish. Great purity of shiraz fruit. A most impressive young shiraz, which should have a tremendous future.” 96 points, Huon Hooke, The Real Review