Massena Barossa Valley, South Australia.
Established in 2000 Massena is owned by Dan Standish and Jaysen Collins who until 2006 were employed full time at other Barossa wineries (Dan as winemaker at Torbreck and Jaysen as general manager at Turket Flat).
All Massena wines are from 100% Barossa valley fruit from dry-farmed, low yielding vines up to 155 years age located in the north-western Barossa. Working mostly with traditional Barossa varieties, they have also established experimental vineyards of other varieties like Roussanne, Viognier, Barbera, Primitivo, Dolcetto, Tinta Amarela, Graciano, Saperavi and Tannat.
‘Very pure. The Australian Chave?’
James Suckling, on The Eleventh Hour.
Wines are made using traditional techniques such as open fermentation and basket pressing and are aged in tank or seasoned French oak; no American oak is used here for maturation. All varieties are hand harvested and fermented using indigenous yeasts and wines from each vineyard are raised and kept separate until final blending. These are wines of striking purity and natural intensity that reflect their origins and which offer outstanding value.
WINE NOTES AND REVIEWS
2017 Massena Eden Valley Fruit Salad Block Field Blend
‘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.’ Jaysen Collins.
‘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.’ 93 points, Campbell Mattinson, Winefront, October 2017.
2017 Massena Barossa Valley Dadds Block Rosé (70% Primitivo, 30% Mataro)
‘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.’ Jaysen Collins.
2016 Massena Barossa Valley Dadds Block Primitivo
‘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.’ 91 points, Campbell Mattinson, Winefront, October 2017.
2017 The Surly Muse (60% Viognier, 40% Marsanne)
‘The grapes for ‘the surly muse’ are sourced from a single site in the Gomersal sub-region. We harvest the Viognier and Marsanne at two different ripeness stages (up to four weeks apart). The early picking of Viognier gives the wine great natural acidity and green tinges, whilst the riper Marsanne adds rich and full fruit flavours. Fermentation and ageing of the surly muse was completed ‘surlie’ (on lees) in stainless steel tanks before bottling unfiltered. The wine is 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.’ Jaysen Collins.
2016 The Moonlight Run (34% Mataro, 33% Grenache, 31% Shiraz, 2% Cinsault)
‘Constructed from estate mataro (34%) fermented with partial stalk inclusion, 33% early harvested 150yo bushvine 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. Drink to 2029.’ 95 points, James Halliday, October 2017.
‘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.’ 94 points, Campbell Mattinson, Winefront, October 2017.
2015 The Howling Dog
‘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 an almost airy feel to the palate. Drink to 2030.’ 94 points, James Halliday, August 2017.
2016 The Eleventh Hour (100% Shiraz)
‘Based on vines 60 years old in Greenock with other parcels in the north-west 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.’ Jaysen Collins.
‘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.’ 93 points, Campbell Mattinson, Winefront, October 2017.
2017 Stonegarden Riesling
The Riesling fruit from vines planted in 1946 is hand-picked and whole-bunch pressed followed by a long and cool fermentation (14°) over several weeks. In a nod perhaps to Alsace and in contrast to most Australian Rieslings, the wine is kept on lees for another 5 months or more until bottling, to build volume and texture in the wine.
‘1940s vines. Textural, powerful, persistent. Lime juice and crystals, talc and spice, mineral. A hint of orange blossom. A trace of fruit sweetness. It’s pretty and it’s purposeful, and it feels soft as it extends along your tongue. A treat of a wine. Drink to 2028.’ 95 points, Campbell Mattinson, Halliday Wine Companion, January 2018.
2017 Stonegarden Grenache
100% old-vine Grenache, hand-picked in two parcels, the first parcel destemmed into a ceramic egg and aged on skins for several months, the second fermented as whole bunches and foot stomped over a period of two weeks. The foot-trodden component brings density and extract to the wine, along with a robust tannin structure, while the very long cuvaison of the egg-ferment portion allows for the extraction of very fine-grained, long chain tannins. A fine acid balance is the hallmark of this vineyard and combined with a fine boned structure will ensure that this Grenache will continue to evolve and develop over a decade or more in the cellar.
2015 The Moonlight Run (34% Mataro, 33% Grenache, 31% Shiraz, 2% Cinsault)
‘Whole bunch Cinsaut co-fermented, old vine Grenache 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 simply outstanding. A tour de force of winemaking.’ 97 points, James Halliday, August 2017.
2015 The Twilight Path (66% Primitivo, 27% Mataro, 7% Graciano)
‘Primitivo is found to be genetically the same as Zinfandel, however it sets an even crop and ripens evenly. This means it can be picked when still showing some bright acidity and lifted aromatics. The 2015 vintage had the typical hot and dry lead into a hot summer, but the Dadds vineyard is always a month or more behind so it survives better than most. Showing bright fruit at an early ripeness level, the Primitivo was hand picked and around 30% by weight of whole bunch fruit is added to the ferment to add 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 cuvee’s were then blended and bottled unfiltered and unfined.’ Jaysen Collins.
‘A 66/27/7% estate-grown blend of primitivo (aka zinfandel), mataro and graciano, wild-fermented, the primitivo with 30% whole bunches, and unoaked. Bright colour; a resoundingly fresh sunburst of red and purple fruits, the mouthfeel supple and smooth. Drink asap, although it won’t die any time soon. Drink to 2025.’ 95 points, James Halliday, August 2017.
Tannat originates from the foothills of the French Pyrenees just south of Bordeaux. Tannat is extremely rich in procyanidins which give red wines their health benefits with residents of this region in France having double the average of 90+ year olds despite a rich diet of foie gras, duck confit, cassoulet and numerous cheeses. Coming from their Nuriootpa vineyard, this is an outstanding example of varietal Tannat. It’s such a polished wine. So measured and well structured – without any compromise of its fruit generosity. It tastes of coffee grounds and juicy boysenberry and has lots of refreshing, well integrated acidity and a sizeable munch of tannin. Brilliant wine with Tandoori.