2019 Little Dam

The Little Dam block is hard, with red soil so rich in iron the pebbles are magnetic. The 2019 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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A measly 26 dozen bottles produced. The most complete, structured and compelling of the single-site wines. Its own distinct personality comes through with a whorl of dark fruits, tarry and earthy, licorice root and a smidge of sarsaparilla. It’s very savoury with exceptional tannins – ripe, textural, with a graininess akin to raw silk, the acidity bright and the finish long. 96 points (Jane Faulkner)

Deep purple colour from core to rim. The nose shows mulberries, morcilla and curry leaf aromatics. Medium-bodied but powerful, a subtle dark-fruit palate with earth minerality and meaty notes peeking out. There’s ample intensity here but it’s sheathed and a silk glove of very soft tannins and fine-boned acidity. Goes long now and I would think time will only improve its quality. 96 points (Stuart Knox)

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.

This year we celebrate our 30th vintage. Just like last year, the 2018-2019 was the second-warmest season on record behind 2016, this time with some very hot summer weather. A very dry winter saw us applying irrigation prior to budburst for the first time. January was particularly hot, and irrigation was used to prevent heat damage. Subsequent weather during ripening and vintage was good. Yields were down in most varieties, but quality was good, and once again, the later ripening varieties benefitted from the milder conditions, showing great colour and flavour definition.


Hand picked 26 March 2019, at 13.5 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 7 days post-ferment maceration. Unfined and lightly filtered. Bottled under screwcap January 2020; 26 dozen made. Alcohol 14.5% by volume. Vegan friendly?: Yes.

Drink now to 2039.