2015 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