Spinifex Syrah 2020

  • Spinifex is one of the star wineries of the Barossa Valley
  • Wild and savoury yet soft and sumptuous, this is Barossa Shiraz unlike we usually see it.
  • Interesting, flavour-packed and more-ish. Another winner from this superstar winemaker.
  • 1 or more bottles
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Editors notes

James Halliday, The Weekend Australian
It seems like yesterday that I first tasted the Spinifex red wines. They were so different from the normal Barossa style, and I had no expectations when that tasting took place in 2006 – but the pieces fell into place when more wines sent the same message. And so to Spinifex and New Zealand-born Peter Schell and his wife Magali Gely (from a winemaking family in Lunel in the south of France), who opted to make the Barossa their home in 2001.

Schell began his wine education at Roseworthy, followed by six vintages in Provence, the Languedoc (Gely’s birthplace), Bordeaux and Burgundy. It comes as no surprise that he also points to this time with the Barossa Valley’s Turkey Flat as part of the education jigsaw that (in Schell’s words) involved “slotting parcels of wine into a harmonious whole, leaving no blank squares on the grid”.

The Spinifex wines are all medium-bodied and balanced, either from micro-plots that show regional typicity or, increasingly, single vineyard wines based on Mediterranean grape varieties that have made the Barossa home for more than 150 years: shiraz, mataro, grenache, cinsaut, carignan, ugni blanc, grenache gris and semillon. Old vines are sought for all except new varieties.

Having demonstrated his exceptional ability to create synergistic blends, he was crowned Young Gun of Wine in 2008. While giving Spinifex another major string to its bow, most of the wines will continue to come from a group of dedicated growers in the Barossa and Eden Valleys. In 2014 he and Gely bought their first vineyard, a 5.5ha plot in Flaxman Valley, with shiraz and riesling planted in the 1940s and ’50s. Last year he was a finalist for Gourmet Traveller Winemaker of the Year. Small wonder Spinifex has five red stars in the 2021 Halliday Wine Companion. If all this isn’t enough, the prices are a breath of fresh air.


Tasting Profile

  • Light (Light)
    Full (Full)
  • Low Tannin (Low Tannin)
    Tannic (Tannic)
  • Sweet (Sweet)
    Dry (Dry)
  • Low Acidity (Low Acidity)
    High Acidity (High Acidity)
  • Aroma
    • Blackberry
    • Blueberry
    • Pepper
  • Palate
    • Blackberry
    • Fruit Cake
    • Tobacco

Food Pairings

  • Pork
  • Red Meat

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Australia's wine industry is a thriving part of the country's economy, contributing significantly to employment, production, export, and tourism. In fact, the industry is the fourth-largest wine exporter in the world, shipping out 760 million liters of wine to countries including France, Italy, Spain, and the UK. One of the key factors contributing to Australia's success as a "New World" wine producer is the formal export and marketing of its wines through Wine Australia.

Australia's wine regions are scattered across the south and southeast, with almost every state boasting its own vineyards. Victoria, for example, is home to an impressive 21 wine regions. Some of the most famous wine regions in Australia include Margaret River, Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Eden Valley, Clare Valley, Hunter Valley, Yarra Valley, and local regions to New South Wales such as Cowra, Southern Highlands, and Mudgee.

Australian winemakers are known for producing a diverse range of grape varieties, with Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Pinot Noir being among the most popular. They tend to focus on producing wines that are ripe, fruit-forward, and easy to drink, using modern winemaking techniques and equipment such as stainless steel tanks and temperature-controlled fermentation.

With its bold, fruit-driven flavors and reputation for quality and diversity, Australian wine has become a popular choice for wine lovers around the world. And with such a broad range of wine regions and grape varieties, there's something for every palate to enjoy.

South Australia

If you like Australian wine, then you probably like South Australia wine. The rich reds produced there put Australia on the wine-making map of the world. With over 40% of the country's vineyards, South Australia can rightfully call itself the wine state.

Wines are produced in several regions throughout the state, though many are naturally grouped together, like Barossa and Eden Valleys, only 15 minutes apart. They include such regions as Barossa Valley, Clare Valley, Eden Valley, Coonawarra, Adelaide Hills, Kangaroo Island, Langhorne Creek, The Limestone Coast, McLaren Vale and Wrattonbully to name but a few!

Barossa Valley boasts some of the oldest vines in Australia dating back to 1843 and produces some of the world's finest Shiraz, whilst the 'terra rossa' soils of Coonawarra is most suited to producing outstanding Cabernet Sauvignons. If you're a fan of Riesling, Clare Valley is a great place to explore and for a Maritime climate not dissimilar to parts of the Italian coastline, seek out the wines from McLaren Vale.

Barossa Valley

The Barossa Valley is about an hour and a half drive to the North of Adelaide, in South Australia and is the oldest wine region in the country, founded by German settlers. The region can be credited with putting Australian wine on the world wine map, thanks to Shiraz, which thrives in the warm climate (though Hunter Valley Semillon also contributed.)

For many years traditionalist wine makers thought the grape variety was best suited to the cooler climates of the Rhone Valley and that the variety would cook in the warmth of the Australian sun. Although South Australian Shiraz is a bigger, beefier wine than its southern French counterpart Syrah, no one can deny the region's propensity to produce world-class wines.

Not only Shiraz is cultivated in Barossa Valley, with other red varieties such as Grenache, Mourvedre (Mataro) and to a lesser extent Cabernet Sauvignon. The white varieties that thrive best seem to be Semillon, Chardonnay and Rhone varietals like viognier, Marsanne and Roussane.

The Valley has many subregions which all have unique terroirs. Seppeltsfield, Marananga, Greenock are to name but a few. With a huge number of wineries in such a small area and a host of accommodation, the region is very popular for wine tourism. In the words of Master of Wine Jancis Robinson, the Barossa Valley became "Australia's quintessential wine region."

About the brand Spinifex Wines

In the early 1900’s, Peter Schell and his wife, Magali Gely came to Australia from New Zealand to study oenology and marketing at Roseworthy College. They have lived in the Barossa Valley for over 20 years and founded Spinifex in 2001. They both have a strong French connection and spent a while in the south of France, where they became even more interested in making unique, hand crafted wines with personality.

The focal point at Spinifex is the red varieties such as Mataro, Grenache, Shiraz and Cinsaut which dominate in the south of France. The wine is made in open fermenters, basket-pressed, with homegrown fermentations, and relatively long post-ferment maceration. The current wines are great and the best so far to come from this producer.

Grapes are collected from 50 to 120 year old, low yielding vineyards in both the Barossa and Eden Valleys, which take advantage of the great diversity of the soils and meso-climates in the area to produce wines with balance, character, depth of flavour and Barossan generosity.

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