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.
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.
‘Very pure. The Australian Chave?’
James Suckling, on The Eleventh Hour.
2017 Stonegarden Grenache (Eden Valley, planted 1858)
Due for release in 2018.
2017 Stonegarden Cabernet (Eden Valley, planted 1858)
Due for release in 2018.
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.
2017 Field Blend White (Eden Valley)
‘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, Winefront, October 2017.
2017 Stonegarden Riesling (Eden Valley, planted 1946)
‘Stonegarden riesling from a stone-riddled vineyard. Planted 1940s. A delightful wine. Textural, laden with flavour, long through the finish and delicious every step of the way. It packs a real flavour punch but it steps lightly; it feels soft. Sweet lime, talc, rose petals, orange blossoms. Quite an exotic thing, it is. It will age but it’s a ripper drink right now.’ 94 points, Winefront, October 2017.
2017 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 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, Winefront, October 2017.
2016 The Moonlight Run (47% Mataro, 38% Grenache, 12% Shiraz, 3% Cinsault)
‘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, Winefront, October 2017.
2016 Primitivo (Dadd’s Block)
‘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, Winefront, October 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.
‘Blend of primitivo, mataro and graciano from the Barossa. Succulent red wine. Juicy and fresh. Red berries, light and lovely. Some firmness to the finish but the fruit keeps pouring on through. Refreshing. Both polished and pure. Drink it young.’ 91 points, Winefront, October 2017.
2015 The Howling Dog (72% Saperavi 16% Petite Sirah 12% Tannat)
‘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 mouth-watering acidity. There’s tannin here, slightly twiggy but carried by fruit. It has drinkability writ large.’ 90 points, Winefront, October 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.