The Little Dam block is hard and rocky, with red soil so rich in iron the pebbles are magnetic. Always the most concentrated Tempranillo parcel, the 2016 has exotic perfume and wonderful fine, powdery tannin.
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 2015-2016 season was our warmest to date (as measured by Growing Degree Days), illustrating the ongoing effect of global warming. Very hot weather in early Spring ensured that the season was early throughout, with the commencement of harvest (5th Feb for sparkling base) being another record. The season was generally benign, with a warm stretch of weather from mid-February to mid-March bringing many varieties to ripeness at a rapid rate. Irrigation during this time was important to most blocks, and ensured that good yields of high quality fruit were harvested. 2016 would be considered a standout vintage for us if it weren’t slightly shaded by 2015, with the best of the two depending on variety.
Hand picked 23 March 2016, at 13.1 Baumé. Had 6 days pre-ferment maceration, then wild-fermented in open vats with hand plunging. Pressed to French oak (mostly one year old) after 7 days post-ferment maceration. Lightly fined and filtered. Bottled under screwcap January 2017; 49 dozen made. Alcohol 14.0% by volume. Vegan friendly?: No (fined with gelatin).
Drink now to 2031.