2018 Little Dam

The Little Dam block is hard, with red soil so rich in iron the pebbles are magnetic. The 2018 is very characteristic of this site, leading with violets and ash, the fruit restrained but fresh with blueberry notes, and very fine but firm tannins building length into the palate.

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Very deep purple/red colour. A very fragrant aroma – lifted, spicy, detailed. A very intense, powerful, driving palate with lovely flavour. Elegance allied with power. Refreshing acidity and great persistence. A really smart tempranillo. 95 points (Huon Hooke)

Originally planted to pinot noir in ’00, grafted to tempranillo in ’04. A distinctly floral bouquet with an unexpected lead of violets, the medium-bodied palate offers a finely balanced play between small berry fruits and firm but fine tannins. 95 points (James Halliday)

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 2017-2018 was the second-warmest season on record behind 2016, but due to consistently warm and dry conditions rather than any extreme heat. Timing of budburst and harvest were fairly normal. Conditions for vine growth and development were good and disease pressure was low. Weather during vintage was exceptional, consistently warm and dry apart from one downpour in late February which caused little trouble. Warm sunny days were balanced by cool nights giving a high diurnal temperature range. Quality is exciting across the board, with the later ripening varieties perhaps benefiting the most.


Hand picked 10 April 2018, at 13.6 Baumé. Had 5 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 2019; 49 dozen made. Alcohol 14.5% by volume. Vegan friendly?: Yes.

Drink now to 2038.