Tempranillo is Spain’s great red grape. It is best known for the stellar red wines of the high-altitude regions of Rioja and Ribera del Duero, but it is widely planted and grown in diverse climates, and made into a wide range of styles.
All great grape varieties result in wines that express the site on which they are grown, but some are particularly good at this. Pinot Noir is perhaps the leader of the pack, but Tempranillo is not far behind.
As we have made our home in what is almost certainly one of Australia’s most complex and diverse regions, we have observed considerable, fascinating differences between the fruit of the vineyards with which we work. And as we have now accumulated almost a decade of experience with this fruit, we are confident that these differences are consistent, and a true expression of what these individual vineyards have to offer.
- SA - Adelaide / Adelaide Hills
- South Australia
Winery Tasting Notes
Since they were just sticks in the dirt, Peter Leske has walked and observed the two principal vineyards from which make our wines. They are quite different: one is a relatively cool, vigorous site between Echunga and Mount Barker (approximately 400 m above sea level). The other is north of Kersbrook, on less fertile soil, and is lower (at approximately 350 m), warmer, and drier. The Kersbrook fruit therefore ripens earlier, with different fruit expression, and substantially greater tannin presence.
We apply a discipline learnt from several Australian masters (in particular Jeff Grosset; and of course various Burgundians…): keeping the fruit and wines different sites separate at every opportunity. We therefore (at the expense of ‘efficiency’, of course) pick each at optimum ripeness, ferment/press and mature separately, and blend only when the wines show their final expression, and when we are sure that the blended wine shows the best of each component.
Over our brief history we have consistently observed that the wine from the warmer, northern site exhibits specific qualities that justify bottling some on its own.
These are slightly darker colour, bigger and more assertive tannins, a ‘darker’ fruit character, and arguably greater ageing potential. And so in 2009 we took 4 typical barrels and bottled them separately; in 2010 that number is slightly higher: we chose 6 for this single-vineyard wine. The rest were an essential component of our blended wine, and comprise 30% of the La Linea 2010 Tempranillo; the balance is from the cooler, southern site. We have called this barrel-selection wine Norteño, Spanish for ‘Northern’, reflecting its origins. Like the ’09, it received more time in bottle prior to release, and we believe will reward cellaring for longer, too.
It should look terrific for at least 5-8 years.