2017 'Fruit Salad' Field Blend

Grape Variety:  Aromatic varietals from a mixed planting.

Old Barossa vineyards tended to be mixed plantings of different varieties, with the aim of making fortified or brandy. Our Eden Valley block on the Eastern Side of Springton was planted to make brandy back in 1855. To make the best spirit, varieties that were picked early and retained acidity and freshness were preferred. This makes a perfect opportunity to make a zippy, aromatic light dry white that is a truly vibrant and eclectic wine.

Sub Region: Eden Valley

Winemaking: Hand harvesting a mixed block is usually tedious in trying to separate varieties destined for single varietal wines, however we hand harvested all the varieties together. Picking into small bins allowed some foot crushing of the fruit to ensure contact with both stalks and skins. After 24 hours of cold soaking, the remaining grape clusters and juice was elevated into our press and gently squeezed such that only the free run juice was collected. Fermented with wild yeast in stainless steel, a light amount of lees stirring has given a textured palate whilst retain the razor like acidity that this block was planted for.

The Wine: Reflecting the mixed planting, a complex and intriguing aromatic mix of the atypical muscat aromas with white peach and nectarine, honeydew, lemon sorbet and grapefruit pith. A firm palate of ruby grapefruit astringency combined with nervy acidity, homemade lemonade sweet and sour balance give a truly eclectic, unconventional white wine. 

2017 Fruit Salad Block - 93 points
Couldn’t be a more appropriate name for a field blend, really. Old vines, mixed planting, co-fermented, time on skins, sent to bottle. What ho! Here’s a live one. And a good example for those who need further help with the concept of what a field blend is. Sophist wines. I like ’em. More so, this is an intriguing, delicious wine in its own right.
I bet there’s muscat or traminer in this block, for if not, something has that candied, rose petal whiff to it in the bouquet. More than that though, there’s exotic spice, ginger, ripe stone fruit, a touch of green herbs. Attractive start. The palate is hemmed with fine, saline mineral character with a light juiciness and perky acid tang giving freshness. It feels like lots is going on in its sleek, electric frame. Refreshment is high, as is personality and textural detail. What a ripper.
— Mike Bennie, winefornt.com.au
How cool is this? Minimalist, edgy, fresh, non-conformist and dangerously drinkable. The hipsters will love this brand-new field blend from Massena Vineyards in the Barossa Valley, one of the Artisans of the Barossa collective. But so do old beardies like myself. Winemaker Jaysen (such a trendy name) Collins has a very different take on winemaking, saying he “makes spontaneous decisions how to make the wine.” Around a dozen different grape varieties from the Eden Valley go into this blend; including muscat, riesling and other whites, along with red varieties including grenache and mataro. Some of the fruit is from old vines and it sees a short amount of skin contact to lift the funk levels up a few degrees. Think sweet and sour notes, muscaty and citrus flavours, brisk acid and impressive refreshment.
— Winsor Dobbin, Winsor's Choice, 11/8/17

2017 Rosé

Grape Variety:  70% Primitivo, 30% Mataro

Rosé delivers its best results from early ripening and aromatic grape varieties. Primitivo's name reflectes that it is an early ripener and its inherent primary fruit characteristics make it perfect for Rosé wine making. By adding a splash of Mataro which is laden with an abundance of lifted high end aromatics, this Rosé style is dry, textural and savoury.

Sub Region: South Moppa

Winemaking: Our Primitivo and Mataro are hand harvested and pressed as whole clusters to extract only the freshest juice. Transferred into neutral oak barrels, the juice is left to spontaneously ferment over several weeks. The natural convection currents during ferment ensure the lees are rolled continuously through the wine, giving texture and weight to the palate. 

The Wine: Freshly picked strawberries abound in this shy but taught dry Rosé. Upfront fresh watermelon sweetness is balanced by an oyster shell salinity that gives way to Middle Eastern nuances of rose petal, sumac, gum mastic and Turkish delight exoticness. The combination of tight acidity and a firm and textured palate make this Rosé a lip smacking drink that makes you come back for more.

2016 Primitivo

Grape Variety:  100% Primitivo

Primitivo is what the Italians call the variety Zinfandel, which is revered in the Napa Valley in California. After trying the UC Davis clone of Zinfandel for a few years, we were sure that this variety would make generous and interesting wine, but somehow it just missed the mark. We sought Primitivo cuttings from the Puglia region of Italy and planted them on the gentle south slope of our ‘Dadds’ vineyard, which has yielded the perfect example of this intriguing varietal.

Sub Region: South Moppa, Dadds Block

Winemaking: We hand harvest our vineyard to ensure the grapes are delivered to the winery in whole clusters. Destemming only into seasoned wooden vats, the ferment is allowed to start naturally and is in contact with skins for around 10 days with gentle extraction by pumping over and then basket pressing. 

The Wine: Morello cherry, black pepper, dried oregano and tobacco leaf make this a dry red that is atypical for the Barossa climate with its high end aromatics. The sweet, soft and round tannin palate bring back the familiarity of this warm climate and early released wine. Flavours of grilled meats, dried herbs and a menthol coolness ensure that this wine is best enjoyed at the lunch or dinner table and drunk with friends in abundance without any pretentiousness. 

2016 Primitivo - 91 points
It’s heady in dark plum, dried fruits, prune and raisin character, sniffs of dark chocolate. The palate does have a lift of fresh acidity but the flavours roll a similar way to the bouquet. It’s slick, rich, lightly syrupy, shows some suppleness to tannin and a good exit on mocha powder tannins. It’s a very good expression of primitivo, as it stands; for those seeking some generosity in their reds, but drinkability too. Nicely done.
— Mike Bennie, winefront.com.au

2017 the surly muse

Grape Variety:  60% Viognier, 40% Marsanne

The surly muse reflects the technique of ageing 'surlie' (on lees) for an extended period, giving palate texture and phenolics. Combing the rich texture of Marsanne with the heady aromatics of Viognier gives a white blend with body and freshness.

Sub Region: Gomersal

Winemaking: Each year we take a parcel of Viognier from a South facing vineyard in the Gomersal sub-region. The red iron ridge soils are harsh and the area is dry so we pick it early to preserve the natural acidity. Around four weeks later we pick the Marsanne, the riper fruit adding rich and full fruit flavours. Cold fermentation in stainless steel tanks and ageing ‘surlie’ (on lees) in French oak barriques, we then bottle the wine unfiltered and release almost immediately.

The Wine: Pale gold in colour with bright green highlights. The nose displays aromas of apricots, honeysuckle, wild fennel and grapefruit. The palate is firm and restrained, with succulent tropical flavours that are matched with fresh acidity, a taught band of minerality and a creamy texture.

2016 the surly muse - 92 points
A blend of viognier and marsanne from a single vineyard in Gomersal, wild-fermented, part in barrel, part in tank. The marsanne gives some spine for the viognier, which in turn provides some flavour for the marsanne. Interesting wine, but needs time.
— James Halliday, 2018 Wine Companion

2015 the twilight path

Grape Variety: 66% Primitivo 27% Mataro 7% Graciano

We planted this well-worn piece of land to vineyard in 2000 with a whole bunch of new varieties such as Primitivo, Tannat, Saperavi and Petit Sirah as well as some old favourites - Mataro and Cinsaut. Everywhere the vines vary in height, canopy cover and berry size. The rocky soils and inconsistent water retention is what makes this South Moppa vineyard so special. Rose quartz in some parts and high slope sandy loam over clay in others, the different berry sizes give us complexity in our ferments and the varying aspects and soil sub structure means many different varietals thrive here.

Dadd’s Block encapsulates Massena Wines – non-conformist, minimalist, edgy…awesome. One day we’ll build our Cellar Door here.

Sub Region: South Moppa

Winemaking: Primitivo was handpicked and 30% whole bunch fruit was added to the ferment for complexity and lifted aromatics. The Primitivo was aged in tank to retain its freshness, whilst the Mataro and Graciano were both aged without sulphur in seasoned barrels to soften and age and bring some complimentary secondary characters. The individual cuvees were then blended and bottled unfiltered and unfined. 

The Wine: Zippy and fresh, with the sour cherry brightness complemented by some chalky stalk tannin and a clean fresh finish. Drink the twilight path young and always with friends.

Cellaring: Up to five years.

2015 the twilight path - 94 points
Blend of primitivo, mataro, graciano, which is probably a world first, but who’s counting? The idea here, it seems, is to build early complexity in layers of perfume and flavour, which certainly has been done. It’s heady in its mix of pot pour, spice, dark curranty fruit aromas, supple in texture yet shows concentration and depth. Really quite excellent.
— Mike Bennie, WBM online
2015 the twilight path - 90 points
It’s great to see a different varietal mix. Massena’s ‘The Twilight Path’ is a blend of primitivo, mataro and graciano. The primitivo component is quite prominent on the nose with fragrant blackberry fruit plus a little leafiness. There is a lovely earthiness, presumably coming from the mataro and some bright red fruit from the graciano. There are also nuances of tobacco, blueberry and sour cherry. The acidity is bright and the tannins are ripe and gentle. A very satisfying, and appealing early drinking style, great with casual fare such as Spanish tapas.
— Toni Paterson, www.therealreview.com
2015 the twilight path - 91 points
Blend of primitivo, mataro and graciano from the Barossa.
Succulent red wine. Juicy and fresh. Red berries, light and lovely. Some firmness to the finish but the fruit keeps pouring on through. Refreshing. Both polished and pure. Drink it young.
— Campbell Mattinson, winefront.com.au
2014 the twilight path - 92 points - Barossa blend of primitivo (70%), mataro (20%) and graciano. It’s no shrinking violet. It’s dark in colour and deep of flavour, with jammy blackberry and tar flavours through the middle before rusty, ferrous, campfire notes add intrigue around the edges. The finish/aftertaste then turns sweet, raspberried, almost liqueurous, though dry/grainy tannin is a handy offset. Very good.
— The Winefront, Campbell Mattinson
2014 the twilight path - 91 points - A 70/20/10% blend of primitivo, mataro and graciano as far removed from its Howling Dog sibling as the sun and the moon; this has a dart board of juicy, spicy, earthy nuances all in a light to medium-bodied frame. To be enjoyed while The Howling Dog calms down.
— James Halliday, Wine Companion

2016 the moonlight run

Grape Variety: 34% Mataro, 33% Grenache, 31% Shiraz, 2% Cinsault

The Moonlight Run was our midnight drive back to the Barossa after working vintage in the Clare Valley in 1999. We would crave a soft slurpy wine to wash down a hard night’s work, so we decided to make our own. We take inspiration from Southern Rhone wines and this is our take on them.

Sub Regions: South Moppa, Greenock Western Ridge, Barossa Foothills

Winemaking: Mataro from the dry grown vines on rose quartz soils of Dadd’s Block is co-fermented with whole cluster Cinsaut to soften the sharper tannins. We then add some old bush vine Grenache from the Barossa foothills where the sandy soils are shallow on calcrete and limestone. This complex Grenache fruit adds spiciness and intensity. Add to that some Shiraz from the outskirts of Tanunda and we have a wine that is a mouthful of everything superb about a Southern Rhone styled blend. Aged in tank and barrel, each parcel is selected to add as much interest as possible.

The Wine:  The blueberry lift of Greenock Shiraz is unmistakable amongst the aromatic Mataro fennel frond, game and savoury backbone. The mixed ground pepper spice plays off between white and spicy Grenache aromatics and the roasted black pepper and green peppercorn mix that Mataro brings. A mix of muscavardo sugar sweet and savoury molasses character is balanced by a roasted coffee tannin that runs through the core of the palate. With so much going on it needs no accompaniment and has the spine to reward people who like to put aside a bottle or two for a later date.

Cellaring: Up to ten years

95 points - 2016 the moonlight run
Constructed from estate mataro (34%) fermented with partial stalk inclusion, 33% early harvested 150yo bush vine grenache and Tanunda shiraz. The secret ingredient that invests the wine with savoury spices and freshness is the alcohol, usually 14.5% and above in the Barossa Valley. the length and finish have zest and braille, important in establishing the texture of the wine.
— Halliday Magazine, Feb/Mar
94 points - 2016 the moonlight run
Blend of Barossa Valley mataro, grenache, and shiraz, pretty much in equal parts. The mataro included some stalks in the ferment. The grenache is off extremely old vines, well over 100 years (more like 150).
It’s a wild ride of flavour. It’s mid-weight, complex, charming and silken, with game, an array of dried spices, flings of roasted nuts and of course red/black berry flavours. So much to experience. Floral notes add yet more to the show. A beautiful red wine.
— Campbell Mattinson, winefront.com.au
97 points - 2015 the moonlight run
Mataro (from Moppa) and whole bunch Cinsaut co-fermented, old vine Grenache (Vine Vale) and Shiraz all wild yeast fermented, bottled without fining or filtration. Its crimson colour is excellent, the bouquet full of spicy purple and black fruits, its mouthfeel is simply outstanding. A tour de force of winemaking.
— James Halliday, 2018 Wine Companion
2015 the moonlight run - 93 points - Blend of Barossa Valley mataro, grenache, shiraz and cinsault.
Aromatic. Fleshy. Plenty of fruit and yet dry and spicy to close. Excellent style of wine. The kind of wine we all should drink more of. There’s no lack of sweetness and/or ripeness and yet the savoury crowd is played to. Hits the nail pretty much bang on.
— Campbell Mattinson, winefront.com.au
2014 the moonlight run - 96 Points - A 58/22/20% blend of mataro, grenache and shiraz. It is intense and powerful, yet supple, its fragrant bouquet is replicated by the rippling cascade of spices, cherry, raspberry and delicately balanced tannins that help extend the long palate. An object lesson in containing the alcohol.
— James Halliday, Wine Companion Magazine, Feb/Mar 2016
2014 the moonlight run - 92 points - 58% mataro, 22% grenache, 20% shiraz. Barossa Valley. Beautiful set of numbers. Delicious wine to drink. Earthen and spicy but loaded with dark, substantial fruit. Sweet and dry. Complex flavours but a simple/straightforward appeal. It feels as though it’s been forged in a hot, dry, sandy landscape, the berries soaked in sun. No complaints whatsoever.
— Campbell Mattinson, The Winefront

2016 the howling dog

Grape Variety: Saperavi

It took us a while to get this one right, when we were first experimenting with Petite Sirah the tannins were so pronounced that tasters actually started howling as it crossed their palate. We later planted other naturally tannic varietals Tannat and Saperavi, softening the tannins so the only howl we hear now is one of enjoyment. Taken from Dadd’s Block on the high side – sandy loam with long sunlight hours and low rainfall. The best of these varieties is selected each year, either on their own or as a blend.

Sub region: South Moppa

Winemaking: Destemmed into open fermenters, left to spontaneously ferment, then pumped over sporadically for 10 days before some parcels see extended post fermentation maceration for up to 6 weeks. Extended skin contact integrates the tannins and produces a wine that is a lot softer and more approachable when young. Gentle basket pressing follows, with each vineyard parcel kept separate in 2nd and 3rd use French oak hogsheads until just prior to blending and bottling.

The Wine: Black as night and laden with an abundance of natural structure and personality, the palate surprises with immense flavour but with all elements in balance. Aromas of beetroot, tilled earth and juniper, the palate has an inky, iodine like deepness with elements of roasted coriander and cumin and a structure that is evident, but intriguingly supple. Built more along the lines of a marathon runner than a sprinter, it is already approachable but will greatly reward those who choose to keep a few bottles well into the future.

Cellaring: Ten years or more.

2016 the howling dog - 92 points
Wild ferment, 30 days skin contact, bottled unfined and unfiltered.
Dense but bright. Characterful. Iodine, blackberry, sweet cherry and a slight, smoky infusion. Like smoked dried flowers. It’s not overtly tannic but there’s enough here to give the wine shape. It’s an easy wine to like, you’d have to say, but there’s also plenty to distinguish it. Different face of the Barossa.
— Campbell Mattinson, winefront.com.au
2015 the howling dog - 94 points
Estate-grown saperavi, no vineyard sprays, destemmed, wild-fermented, neither fined or filtered. The black fruit flavours could have come from the River Styx, the bouquet super-complex, the texture likewise - the latter creates and almost airy feel to the palate.
— James Halliday, 2018 Wine Companion
2015 the howling dog - 90 points
`The Howling Dog label is about “celebrating varieties that have density and power”.
This is so fresh it almost seems raw. It has that tank sample freshness to it; that purple crack of bare fruit flavour. Berries, foresty and spiced. A little chocolate. A lot of floral elements. And mouthwatering acidity. There’s tannin here, slightly twiggy but carried by fruit. It has drinkability writ large.
— Campbell Mattinson, winefront.com.au
2014 the howling dog - 95 points
A deeply coloured, ultra-exotic 72/16/12% blend of saperavi, petite sirah (durif) and tannat; has all the qualities its varietal parentage promise; it is infinitely powerful and compact, a vinous black hole in space, yet retains sufficient balance to guide it through decades of change.
— James Halliday, Wine Companion
94 points - Traditionally Massena has made The Howling Dog with durif/petite sirah; this release is a blend of 72% saperavi, 16% petite sirah and 12% tannat. The Howling Dog aspect may well have been lost a bit, but the blend itself sounds full of promise.Dark, brooding colour. Thick flavour. Asphalt, cloves, blackberry, sweet woodsmoke. Mouth-filling and mouth-puckering. Chunky chains of tannin drag through the wine. It’s not overdone, despite the way it sounds. Fresher, red-berried flavours peek through the finish, though it remains a Very Big Wine. A mouthful, but an intriguing one.
— Campbell Mattinson, The Winefront

2016 the eleventh hour

Grape Variety: 100% Shiraz

Originally this wine came from the sixty-year-old Shiraz vines from Greenock that were about to be uprooted. They were saved in the eleventh hour and we used the fruit to make this extraordinary wine.

Sub Regions: Greenock Western Ridge, Stonewell

Winemaking: Shiraz for The Eleventh Hour is sourced from two vineyards located in the Greenock and Stonewell sub regions of the Barossa. The red clay belt of the Western Ridge running down to Greenock creates an ideal environment to grow shiraz, fruit from this region is juicy, spicy and concentrated. Stonewell’s hard red-brown soils adds another layer of complexity to the fruit. Destemming without crushing, we ferment each parcel in separate batches in open fermenters before basket pressing. Aged in seasoned French oak barrels for 15 months, the wine was moved to tank in individual components for several months before blending and bottling without fining or filtration.

The Wine: The 2016 release shows a deeply concentrated core surrounded by black fruits and typical lifted spices. An amazing deep rich almost impenetrable colour is heightened by a bright magenta hue. Fresh cherry and blackberry notes give way to black fruits, supported by aromas of wild fennel, black pepper, aniseed and hints of clove and nutmeg. The opulent palate is full of black cherry, dark chocolate with typical Barossa plummy fruit sweetness. Natural fruit tannins are fine and focused with the fresh acidity ensures gives verve and direction, without sacrificing the all-important skeleton of structure required to reward drinkers for many years to come.

Cellaring: Up to ten years.

2016 the eleventh hour - 93+ points
Shiraz from Greenock and Stonewell in the Barossa Valley. Open fermented, basket pressed, no new oak, bottled unfined and unfiltered. Old school Barossa, in a new school way.
Barossa shiraz is such a pleasurable beast when it’s allowed to run free. This is the famous fruit in all its deep, dark, blackberried glory. It’s fresh but intense, simple in a straight-shooting way, intricately tannic and lengthy. I’d reckon they’ve nailed it. It’s sturdy but pretty; it drinks ever-so-well.
— Campbell Mattinson, winefront.com.au
2015 the eleventh hour - 95 points
Destemmed, open-fermented with wild yeast, basket-pressed, matured in used French oak. A very rich and complex full-bodied shiraz, opening with an expressive spice and liquorice bouquet, the palate with a savoury edge within the folds of its black fruits. It has an X-factor of freshness that justifies its points.
2015 the eleventh hour - 93 points
Lovely freshness with plummy fruit and an overlay of chocolate and jersey caramel. The flavour concentration is glorious: juicy mulberries, Satsuma plums and a little liquorice. The palate is open natured and soft, with integrated papery tannin plus wonderful vibrancy and energy. An excellent example of contemporary Barossa shiraz.
— Toni Patterson, therealreview.com
2015 the eleventh hour - 90 points
Old vine shiraz out of the Barossa.
Sweet and ripe. This is luscious red wine drinking. Tar, honey, baked plums and dried herbs. It loads up the palate with flavour, all sweet and loose and delicious.
— Campbell Mattinson, winefront.com.au
2014 the eleventh hour: 94 points - Bright colour; has the best of both worlds, with the lush black fruits of Barossa shiraz while retaining freshness and poise. Makes its point quietly, not with a sledge hammer.
— James Halliday, Wine Companion
2014 the eleventh hour - 94 points - Shiraz, from a variety of Barossa vineyards. Pure and simple. This pours it on. It feels modern but it also feels intense. If you want to sink your teeth into top shelf Barossa shiraz, in a modern context; check out this wine. Dense plum, tar, cedarwood, cloves, graphite. It strikes the chord and holds it. The flavours hum. if you enjoy Barossa shiraz, you’re as good as guaranteed to respond well to this.
— Campbell Mattinson, The Winefront

2017 Stonegarden Riesling

Grape Variety: 100% Riesling

Origin: Single vineyard wines from the distinguished Stonegarden vineyard in the Eden Valley, with old vine heritage and limited production. The wines produced from this special piece of history are something to behold, with Shiraz contributing to a Jimmy Watson Trophy winner. Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache and Riesling while singing their respective varietal character, have a common vineyard thread of beautiful aromatics and subtle minerality.

Sub Region: Springton, Eden Valley

Winemaking: Cool fermented under 14 degrees in stainless steel tanks over several weeks, gentle pressing and 100% free run juice.

The Wine: Subtle lime leaf, lemongrass and white blossoms combine with lemon sherbet to give a bright and complex aroma. Flavours of Meyer lemon are shared with grapefruit and lemon pith astringency plus a textural element not always associated with Australian Riesling. The natural acidity gives verve and energy, whilst the slate stone minerality leaves you salivating for more..

Cellaring: Up to ten years.

2017 Stonegarden Riesling - 94 points
A delightful wine. Textural, laden with flavour, long through the finish and delicious every step of the way. It packs a real flavour punch but it steps lightly; it feels soft. Sweet lime, talc, rose petals, orange blossoms. Quite an exotic thing, it is. It will age but it’s a ripper drink right now.
— Campbell Mattinson, winefront.com.au
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