2017 SHIRAZ MOURVEDRE VIOGNIER
Our philosophy at Myattsfield has always been about blending; about trying to build or create the best wine possible. This wine is an excellent example of just that.
Using the unique, traditional southern French technique of co-fermentation, we try to achieve a complex layering of the palate.
The aim of blending all three grape varieties is to create a “layering” of flavours on the palate. We take the spicy, dusty, earthly characters of Mourvedre, the spicy and punchy red berry fruits of Shiraz and the lifted aromatics of Viognier. The result is a much more complex and layered flavour profile.
This is not a full bodied or tannic wine. It’s actually quite a medium bodied, soft and approachable wine, but it does have firm, savoury elements, particularly from the Mourvedre. Therefore, it will probably match a broad range of dishes.
As this wine is co-fermented, rather than blended post-fermentation, a great deal of attention is required in the vineyard. These three varieties never want to ripen at the same time. Our task in the vineyard is to try and ensure all three varieties approach optimum ripeness at the same time. This is achieved with the careful location of vineyard plots within the diverse hills landscape, differential pruning times and management of crop loads. We always say, once we’ve picked the grapes we feel like we’re halfway there with this wine.
Once we’ve got these grapes into the winery and they have been crushed into a tank, we set about macerating the skins and the juice to extract the maximum amount of flavour and colour and also tannin from the grapes.
We do this by what’s called ‘working the cap’ – essentially that involves pumping the juice that has settled on the bottom of the tank back over the top of the skins to promote their interaction. We do this every six hours, four times a day, which is quite an intensive regime. This is because we need to make the most of the limited time we have this wine fermenting on skins (typically 8 days).
We use a small portion of new American oak (typically 20%) on this wine to help build further flavour complexity and structure.
Although it entails substantial additional effort and risk, the co-fermentation process is amazing in terms of the continuity and the integration that it gives all three grapes in the resultant wine.