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spinifex

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Spinifex

www.spinifexwines.com.au

PO Box 511, Nurioopta, 5355

Cellar Door: Not

Ph: (08) 8564 2059

Spinifex label

The outstanding Spinifex brand, using Barossa and Eden Valley fruit, is made by Peter Schell and Magali Gely, a husband and wife team who both studied at Roseworthy.

They spent several vintages with Magali’s family who have been vignerons for generations near Montpellier in the south of France.

The focus at Spinifex reflects their passion for southern French varieties: Mataro (Mourvedre), Grenache, Shiraz and Cinsault made with traditional methods.

The powerful and muscular Indigene SGM blend and complex, perfumed Bete Noir Shiraz has established them at the top rung of Barossa producers. A range of brilliant new (but sadly tiny volume) releases from the 2009 vintage (Tabor Mataro, valle des roche Shiraz and the delicate Le Chemin) adds weight to those who argue that Spinifex is now out-Torbrecking Torbreck.

There is also Lola (a white blend using various combinations Marsanne, Viognier, Vermentino, Semillon, Muscat Blanc and the rare Grenache Gris) and a dry, savoury Rose made from Rhone varieties.

The reds from this decade are moving in the direction of being less muscular and more savoury reflecting the personal tastes of the Schells as they get older.

Tasting Notes

There are three types of Tasting notes:

(W) Notes from the winery (blurbs from bottle)

(GXY) Notes from a GenXY wine reviewer

(G) Notes from GenXY's Tasting events (collective opinions)

New reviews

Spinifex Rose 2016

Purchased: Prince Wine Store, South Melbourne ($22)

Drink: 2018

(GXY) Tasting: Nov 2016, unfiltered blend of mainly old vine  Grenache, Mataro and Cinsault, spicy and glossy cranberry and cherry with rose petal florals and a hint of pomegranate and lees, light-medium bodied and linear with chalky and savoury phenolics and a firm acid spine (****1/2)

Spinifex Rose 2015

Purchased: Prince Wine Store, South Melbourne ($22)

Drink: 2016

(GXY) Tasting:  Dec 2015, blend of 2% Grenache, 30% Cinsault, 14% Mataro and 4% Ugni Blanc, dry and textural red cherry and cranberry with pomegranate and rose petal notes, spicy and viscous light-medium bodied palate with vibrant acidity and savoury phenolics (****1/2)

Spinifex Indigene Mataro Shiraz 2013

Purchased: Not: ($58)

Drink: 2026+

(GXY) Tasting: May 2015, sourced from six vineyards (ranging from 20 ­ 110 year old vines), continues the stylistic shift to a more feminine, savoury style compared to the firm, powerful style of the drought vintages of previous decade, supple glazed cherry, blueberry and blackberry with bay leaf, fennel, iodine and white pepper notes, supple and pulpy with a web of fine chalky tannins, fresh herbal edged acidity and nutty/coffee oak in a support role, still unfolding  (*****)

Spinifex Lola 2014

Purchased: Prince Wine Store, South Melbourne ($A21)

Drink: 2016

(GXY) Tasting: May 2015, eclectic old vine white blend of 34% Vermentino, 33% Semillon, 15% Ugni Blanc (Trebbiano), 12% Muscat Blanc, 6% Viognier, about 30% barrel ferment in neutral old oak, different mix of varieties compared to the last time I reviewed this wine but the Lola continues to be about texture and mouth feel rather than primary fruit expression, subtle flavours of lemon rind, pear, cut hay and fig with hints of brine and musk, the savoury phenolic grip and acid bind the elements together, leads to a drying wet pebble finish, interesting wine (****1/2)

Spinifex La Maline 2013

Purchased: Not: ($62)

Drink: 2030+

(GXY) Tasting: May 2015, partial whole bunch inclusion, from four higher altitude vineyards in the Barossa/Eden Valley, Peter Schell describes this as his “most masculine” La Maline so far, opulent and fleshy but firm edged mulberry, blueberry and plum skin with pomegranate, violet and pepper notes, fruit is tightly wound with the charry/nutty oak and dark loamy earthiness, firmish savoury tannins, a little pre-mature to see how all the competing elements will balance out (****1/2)

Spinifex Bete Noir Shiraz 2013

Purchased: Not: ($35)

Drink: 2023+

(GXY) Tasting: May 2015, from a variety of 20 ­ 95 year old Barossa vineyards and a touch of Eden Valley, quite perfumed blueberry, black cherry and plum with asian spice, incense stick and violet notes, glossy and medium bodied with earthy beetroot and herbal whole bunch undertones, roast nut/bitter chocolate oak, has a talcy aspect to the mouthfeel, not as linear and deep set as previous releases but is delicious (****1/2)

Spinifex Papillon Grenache Cinsault 2014

Purchased: Not: ($24)

Drink: 2017

(GXY) Tasting: May 2015, 30% whole bunch inclusion, dry grown old vines (average age 90 years), fresh, floral and juicy blueberry, plum skin and redcurrant with hints of pomegranate, bay leaf, lavendar and rose petals, pure and light-medium bodied with slinky savoury tannins and crunchy herbally acidity, the oak aspect is neglible (****)

Spinifex Rose 2014

Purchased: Not ($21)

Drink: 2015

(GXY) Tasting: Oct 2014, blend of 40% Grenache, 19% Cinsault, 19% Shiraz, 16% Mataro and 6% Ugni Blanc, wild yeast ferment, 35% malo, 10% matured in wood, lower alcohol than usual (presumably early picked) with Shiraz component added to build fleshiness, dry, light-medium red cherry and cranberry with rose petal, orange blossom and pomegranate notes, slightly spicy with refreshing acidity and savoury phenolics, complex and vibrant style (****1/2)

Spinifex La Maline Shiraz 2012

Purchased: Not ($60)

Drink: 2030+

(GXY) Tasting: Aug 2014, no Roussanne or Viognier co-ferment this time but there is a substantial whole bunch component, highly aromatic, vibrant and pristine blackberry essence, blueberry and red berries with complex sage, liquorice, black pepper and leather notes, long, minerally and medium-full boded with fine savoury tannins and a backbone of fresh sappy edged acidity, will live for ages (*****)

Spinifex Indigne Shiraz Mataro 2012

Purchased: Not ($60)

Drink: 2027+

(GXY) Tasting: Aug 2014, no fining or filtration, perfumed, complex and deep set blueberry, blackberry and redcurrant with pepper, sage, iodine, asian spice and flat sarsparilla notes, full bodied and lush with red earth minerality with sinewy savoury tannins and hazelwood/chocolate oak, good persistence with vibrant, juicy acidity (*****)

Spinifex Bete Noir Shiraz 2012

Purchased: Not ($35)

Drink: 2027+

(GXY) Tasting: Aug 2014, aromatic, glossy and silky core of blueberry, plum and cranberry with pepper, incense and liquourice notes, viscous medium bodied palate with underlying warm earthiness and pliant chalky tannins, vibrant acidity has a touch of orange peel, toasty cinnamon/bitter chocolate (*****)

Spinifex Espirit 2012

Purchased: Not ($32)

Drink:

(GXY) Tasting: Aug 2014, blend of 78% Grenache, 10% Mataro, 6% Cinsault and 2% Shiraz, brightly flavoured redcurrant, red cherry and blueberry with rose petal, iodine and white pepper notes and a hint of flat cola, earthy medium-full bodied palate is wrapped in slinky savoury tannins, long with excellent acid balance of the vintage (****1/2)

Spinifex Rose 2013

Purchased: Prince Wine Store, South Melbourne ($21)

Drink: 2014

(GXY) Tasting: Dec 2013, the blending varieties get even more quixotic, 62% Grenache, 24% Mataro, 8% Cinsault, 3% Ugni Blanc (Trebbiano) and 3% Vermentino, pale salmon pink colour, moderately intense for a Rose verging on light-medium bodied showing  fleshy cranberry and guava and red cherry but quite dry, bright rose petal florals and a touch of musky spice and pomegranate, fairly crunchy orange pulp acidity with some phenolic grip on the finish, interesting textural Rose (****1/2)

Spinifex Espirit 2010

Purchased: Not ($35)

Drink: 2019+

(GXY) Tasting: July 2013, floral and spicy blend of Mataro, Grenache, Shiraz, Carignan and Cinsault, fresh blueberries, raspberries and redcurrants with liquorice, iodine, rose petal, pepper and dried herb notes, the glossy and medium bodied palate is more supple and lighter than the 2009 release, moderately chewy, chalky and savoury tannins, very good length, needs a decent decant if you are opening it soon (****1/2)

Spinifex Lola 2012

Purchased: Not ($24)

Drink: 2014

(GXY) Tasting: July 2013, eclectic blend of Ugni Blanc (Trebbiano) and Semillon with dashes of Viognier, Roussanne and Marsanne, this is all about texture and mouth feel rather than primary fruit, restrained pear, lemon rind, grass and white flowers with some lanolin from the Rhone varieties, finishes savoury with wet stone notes and chalky, briny phenolic grip (****)

Spinifex Papillon 2012

Purchased: Not ($26)

Drink: 2015

(GXY) Tasting: July 2013, aromatic, juicy and light-medium bodied blend of Grenache, Cinsault, Carignan and Shiraz showing blueberries, raspberry and redcurrant with white pepper, rose petal, pomegranate and bay leaf notes, firm edged with graphite minerals, fine savoury tannins (***1/2)

Spinifex Indigne Shiraz Mourvedre 2010

Purchased: Not ($60)

Drink: 2020+

(GXY) Tasting:  Nov 2012, no Grenache this time, fragrant and muscular, concentrated blueberry, blackberry and redcurrant with sage, fennel, iodine, asian spice and pomegranate notes, minerally with sinewy tannins with dark chocolate-hazelnut oak, finishes savoury with very good persistence (*****)

Spinifex Rose 2012

Purchased: Cloudwine, South Melbourne ($22)

Drink: 2013

(GXY) Tasting:  Nov 2012, derived from 45% Mataro, 25% Cinsault, 23% Grenache and 7% Shiraz, complex and textured light-medium bodied style showing strawberry, pomegranate and blood orange with spice and rose petal notes, very dry with fairly bracing acidity at the moment and fine phenolic grip,  will be better balanced in a couple of months but will appeal to those who like the Bandol style (****1/2)

Spinifex Lola 2011

Purchased: Cloudwine, South Melbourne ($20)

Drink: 2013

(GXY) Tasting:  Nov 2012, complex blend of 52% Ugni Blanc (Trebbiano) and 32% Semillon with dashes of Viognier and Marsanne, textural with restrained primary fruit expression, pear, citrus rind, cut grass and white flowers with a touch of almond, there is a touch of lanolin from the Rhone varieties, finishes savoury with wet slate notes and a touch of phenolic grip, this is about mouth feel (****)

Spinifex La Maline Shiraz 2010

Purchased: Not ($60)

Drink: 2020+

(GXY) Tasting: Sept 2012, as with the 2009 this is from 80-90 year old vines from the Eden Valley, Barossa and Adelaide Hills, however the Viognier co-ferment has been replaced with 2% Roussanne, perfumed and silky but deeply framed blueberry and raspberry with dried sage, asian spice and violet notes and a light ginger nuance, balanced toasty mocha-cedar-graphite oak, mouth-filling but finely powdered tannins and very good length (****1/2)

Spinifex Rose 2011

Purchased: Vintage Cellars, Albert Park ($20)

Drink: 2013

(GXY) Tasting: Sept 2012, salmon pink colour, derived from 47% Grenache, 36% Cinsault and 14% Mataro and 5 % Shiraz, quite aromatic amd relatively dry part from slivers of grenache sweetness, light-medium bodied and savoury cherry, strawberry, musk and rose petals with a crisp minerally finish and subtle tannin grip, balanced Southern Rhone inspired style (****)

Spinifex Tabor Mataro 2009

Purchased: Vintage Cellars, Albert Park, Vic ($80)

Drink: 2019

(GXY) Tasting: Aug 2011, a tiny release of this Barossa and Eden Valley blend from their best two barrels of Mataro (Mouvedre), 25% whole bunch ferment, pure and deep set blueberry, cherry and blackberry with savoury meat, iodine, sandalwood, rose petal and tarragon notes, infused with fine chalky minerality, very long with chewy, slightly open knit grainy tannins, one of the most complete examples of this variety as a stand alone I have tried from Australia (*****)

Spinifex valle des Roche Shiraz 2009

Purchased: Not ($90)

Drink: 2022+

(GXY) Tasting: Aug 2011, the very best barrels from a small vineyard on the Barossa Ranges showing pristine blackberry and blueberry with iodine, violet, anise and asian spice notes, a deep set and minerally core of medium-full bodied fruit, mouth-filling but fine, long savoury tannins, toasty mocha-cinnamon-sandalwood oak, a very well balanced Shiraz (*****)

Spinifex Le Chemin 2009

Purchased: Cloudwine, South Melbourne($68)

Drink: 2017

(GXY) Tasting: Aug 2011, Le Chemin means "The Path", elegant and highly focussed blend of Grenache, Mataro, Carignan, Shiraz and Cinsault, 25% whole bunch ferment, the vintage allowed a co-ferment of the five varieties in a single 2,500 litre foudre for 20 months, funky, silky and light-medium bodied with strawberry, redcurrant and plum with white pepper, earth and sage notes, shows Chateauneuf du Pape -like foresty complexity, delicacy and texture, long, slinky tannins, terrific line and length, totally unexpected level of delicacy from a Barossa/Eden Valley red, it is the antithesis in the portfolio to the Indigene (*****)

Spinifex Indigene Shiraz Mataro Grenache 2009

Purchased: Not ($58)

Drink: 2024+

(GXY) Tasting: Aug 2011, very powerful, muscular and densely textured blueberry, blackberry and redcurrant with sage, fennel, iodine and liquorice, minerally with firm, sinewy and drying tannins with dark chocolate-cedar oak, finishes savoury with impeccable length without excessive alcohol, benchmark example of this blend will have a very long cellaring life (*****)

Spinifex La Maline Shiraz Viognier 2009

Purchased: Not ($58)

Drink: 2020+

(GXY) Tasting: Aug 2011, from Eden Valley, Barossa and Adelaide Hills, about a 4% Viognier co-ferment, elegant and medium bodied but deeply set blueberry and boysenberry with apricot peel and sage notes, silky mid-palate, balanced toasty mocha-cedar oak, mouth-filling but fine slinky tannins, very good length and densely textured (****1/2)

Spinifex Bete Noir Shiraz 2009

Purchased: Not ($40)

Drink: 2020

(GXY) Tasting: Aug 2011, very complex spicy nose, velvety dark plum, blueberry and cranberry with Indian spice, tobacco and liquorice notes, medium bodied with a plump mid-palate and toasty cinnamon-bitter chocolate oak, savoury finish with fine but open knit chalky tannins (****1/2)

Spinifex Papillon 2010

Purchased: Not ($25)

Drink: 2015

(GXY) Tasting: Aug 2011, a silky and fragrant light-medium bodied blend of Grenache, Cinsault, Carignan and Shiraz showing cherry, raspberry and redcurrant with white pepper and dried herb notes, minerally with a good line of acidity, finishes savoury with persistent fine, sinewy tannins, has better length and focus than recent drought affected vintages (****)

Spinifex Espirit 2009

Purchased: Not ($30)

Drink: 2014

(GXY) Tasting: Aug 2011, blend of Mataro, Grenache, Shiraz, Carignan and Cinsault, leathery red cherry, plum and raspberry jube with liquorice and dried herb notes, medium-full bodied but less intense, long and muscular than the Indigene, chewy tannins get a bit rustic and astringent in places (***1/2)

Spinifex Indigene Shiraz Mataro Grenache 2008

Purchased: Not ($48)

Drink: 2020+

(GXY) Tasting: Sept 2010, a top notch blend of 53% Shiraz, 37% Mataro (Mourvedre) and 10% Grenache, complex and very deep set blackberry, blueberry and raspberry with Asian spice, iodine, liquorice and dried herb features, rich ironstone minerality, supple and velvety without any over-ripeness, very long and focussed with lingering savoury tannins (*****)

Spinifex Bete Noir Shiraz 2008

Purchased: Not ($36)

Drink: 2020+

(GXY) Tasting: Sept 2010, for some unexplained reason this Shiraz is known as the Black Beast, whatever the difficulties faced by the winemaker it is a complex and fragrant medium-full bodied wine drawing on Barossa Valley and Eden Valley fruit, intense black cherry and cranberry with tobacco, liquorice, warm brown spices and bay leaf complexity, the blueberry finish shows charry cedar and biter chocolate aspects, tannin and acid structure to develop for a decade in the cellar (****1/2)

Spinifex Rose 2009

Purchased: Not ($19)

Drink: 2011

(GXY) Tasting: Sept 2010, salmon pink colour, derived from Grenache, Cinsault and Mataro, perfumed, dry, light-medium bodied and savoury cherry and other red fruits with a crisp minerally finish, appealing and balanced Southern Rhone inspired style (****)

Spinifex La Maline Shiraz Viognier 2008

Purchased: Not ($48)

Drink: 2018

(GXY) Tasting: Sept 2010, draws on Barossa Valley, Eden Valley and Adelaide Hills fruit with the Viognier kept down to a merciful 4%, aromatic and silky core of dark plum and blueberry with a dried herb/apricot peel lift, medium-full bodied palate has some savoury roast meat and tobacco aspects, toasty oak with a well judged cut of acid (****)

Spinifex Espirit Shiraz Grenache Mataro 2008

Purchased: Not ($28)

Drink: 2016

(GXY) Tasting: Sept 2010, less intense and complex than the Indigene with a greater role for the spicy red fruits of the Grenache, supple blackberry, plum and raspberry with warm brown spices, liquorice and black pepper, medium-full bodied palate has roast herbal meat notes, savoury finish with fine linear tannins (****)

Spinifex Taureau Tempranillo Carignan Graciano Cabernet 2008

Purchased: Not ($24)

Drink: 2013

(GXY) Tasting: Sept 2010, 55% Tempranillo, 17% Carignan, 14% Graciano and 14% Cabernet, food style that is common in North East Spain, fleshy and silky black cherry, dark plum and date with light dried herb and cola notes, medium bodied palate finishes fine persistent tannins and a twist of citric acid (****)

Spinifex Papillon Grenache Cinsault Mataro 2009

Purchased: Not ($23)

Drink: 2011

(GXY) Tasting: Sept 2010, juicy, bright and spicy raspberry and blueberry, sweet and savoury with smooth tannins and a zesty cut of acid, entry level but a good one (***1/2)

Spinifex Espirit 2007

Purchased: Dan Murphys, Melbourne CBD ($28)

Drink: 2014

(GXY) Tasting: July 2009, perfumed blend of 36% Shiraz, 26% Grenache, 25% Mataro, 7% Carignan and 6% Cinsault, juicy raspberry and spicy blackberry with lifted cinnamon, clove and cracked pepper aspects, meaty and medium-full bodied with creamy oak and persistent dusty tannins, maintains a level of brightness and focus not commonly seen in Australian GSM dominated blends (****1/2)

Spinifex Lola 2008

Purchased: Not ($22)

Drink: 2011

(GXY) Tasting: July 2009, rather eclectic blend of Semillon, Marsanne, Ugni Blanc, Vermentino and Viognier, pear, apricot and lemon/orange citrus with some nutty and honeysuckle notes, the minerally texture and complex micro-synergies are the main points of interest, long chalky citric acid finish (***1/2)

Spinifex Barossa Valley Espirit 2006

Purchased: Not ($28)

Drink: 2013

(GXY) Tasting: Nov 2008, Penguin Award for Australian Wine of the Year, perfumed and complex Southern Rhone blend of Grenache, Shiraz, Mataro with a touch of Cinsault, meaty and medium-full bodied with well defined blackberry and blueberry, savoury and intensely spiced palate shows anise, white pepper, cinnamon and Asian spice complexity, lingering focussed finish with long fine tannins (****1/2)

Spinifex Barossa Valley Espirit 2005

Purchased: Not ($28)

Drink: 2013

(GXY) Tasting: Dec 2007, lifted perfumed spicy nose, Southern Rhone blend of Grenache, Shiraz, Cinsault, Mataro and Carignan blend, medium bodied with well defined blackberry and redcurrant, smooth and intensely spicy palate showing liquorice, white pepper, cinnamon and Adjwan (a Sri Lankan spice) complexity, lingering finish with silky tannins, only faulted by some alcohol heat on the finish (****1/2)

Spinifex Barossa Valley Lola 2006

Purchased: Prince of Wales, South Melbourne ($20)

Drink: 2008

(GXY) Tasting: Dec 2007, only 166 dozen made, blend of Marsanne, Semillon, Vermentino, Viognier, Grenache Gris blend, rare in Australia but common in Southern Rhone, seemed a bit cluttered and extractive at first sip but settled down nicely by the second, vibrant lemon sherbert, orange citrus and pear flavours held together by a backbone lemon acidity, appealing minerally base with a lingering finish, works for me although would even better with a little more restraint (****)

Spinifex Barossa Valley Rose 2006

Purchased: Not ($22)

Drink: 2007

(GXY) Tasting: Dec 2007, blend mainly of Grenache and Cinsault with small amounts of Mataro and Shiraz, cherry and blackcurrant with restrained Grenache raspberry sweetness overlying the dry, spicy palate, lingering tingly acid finish (****)

Spinifex Barossa Valley Rose 2005

Purchased: Not ($22)

Drink: 2007

(GXY) Tasting: Dec 2006, blend mainly of Grenache and Cinsault with small amounts of Mataro and Shiraz, bright cherry and blackcurrant with some Grenache raspberry sweetness overlying the dry, herbally palate, long tingly finish (***1/2)

Spinifex Barossa Valley Taureau 2006

Purchased: Cloudwine, South Melbourne ($26)

Drink: 2011

(GXY) Tasting: Not Reviewed Yet, but its a blend of 41% Carignan, 32% Tempranillo and 27% Cabernet Sauvignon