2017 Little Dam

The Little Dam block is hard, with red soil so rich in iron the pebbles are magnetic. Always the most concentrated Tempranillo parcel, the 2017 is woven from the finest violet-perfumed tannin.

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Deep and bright colour, with a spicy bouquet which is clean and fresh and attractive. The wine is very spicy, with peppery nuances, and is intense and compact, elegant and stylish, with a long carry. It’s an excellent wine, albeit rather light on tannin. 93/100 (Huon Hooke)

Fermented wild, 1yo French oak, bottled unfined. 49 dozen made. Clean and crisp but with good weight and texture. Chicory and cherries and woodsy spices and licks of malt. Just enough tension, just enough tannin. Very good. 93 points. (Campbell Mattinson)

Winemaker's Notes

One of three single-site bottlings of Tempranillo, selected for their distinctive character from within our 9.3Ha vineyard. Little Dam (0.521Ha) was originally planted to pinot noir in 2000 and grafted to tempranillo clone D8V12 in 2004. Little Dam is 55 metres away to the south from the original Rock Block, with similar aspect and elevation (669-680m). The soil is also similar, with another reef of rhyolite running through it and again mixed with limestone, but a little shallower and rockier, with less or no A horizon covering the red soil. The rhyolite here is particularly rich in the iron mineral magnetite – some small pebbles will stick to a magnet. Typically, this block is the most structured of the three, with a ‘dry-packed’ tannin character we associate with the best examples of the variety. This block has been dry-grown since 2011 and shows great depth and concentration.


The 2016-2017 growing season started with a wet winter and cool spring, resulting in later growth but strong canopies from all the moisture. The summer was particularly hot, with consistently high temperatures from late December to late February, but then switched into a perfect, mild autumn with sunny days, cool nights and little rain. Crops were larger than expected, accordingly taking longer to ripen, but having perfect conditions to do it in. In contrast to some recent years, ripening of different varieties was well spread apart, so that vintage was measured and controlled (leisurely would be going too far!). There are bright fresh flavours in the earlier varieties, with increasing depth, colour and detail in those ripening later.


Hand picked 22 March 2017, at 13.2 Baumé. Had 6 days pre-ferment maceration, then wild-fermented in an open vat with hand plunging. Pressed to French oak (mainly one year old) after 9 days post-ferment maceration. Unfined and lightly filtered. Bottled under screwcap January 2018; 49 dozen made. Alcohol 14.0% by volume. Vegan friendly?: Yes.

Drink now to 2037.