Gestalt Tessera Clare Malbec 2016 (RRP $30 WM $27.90)
A dramatic bouquet with raspberry, lavender, dried redcurrant and potpourri, jostling for position with mace, cumin, and coriander seed. The silky, rich palate opens with a burst of juicy berries and finishes spicy. Blueberry, blackberry and blackcurrant yield to anise and mocha, with spices loitering around all the while. A wonderfully slurpy entry resolves to a precise, grippy finish. Yum.
A Tessera (plural Tesserae) is one of the small pieces of stone, glass or ceramic that comprises a mosaic. Tesserae are anonymous fractions of a design, and once disassembled, a mosaic cannot be reassembled on the basis of the form of its individual pieces. Malbec – the ‘black wine of Cahors’ – has spent much of its life as a small piece in more famous blends, including Bordeaux. Here though, the drama and beauty of the Tessera shines on its own.
Malbec has a chequered past in Australia, although Clare is one of the few places with a reputation for producing wonderfully dark Malbec bursting with brambly fruit, alluring violet perfume and firm, grippy tannin. The Malbec for the 2016 Tessera from Armagh is no exception. Located 4km northwest of the Clare township, the undulating Armagh vineyard sits on red-grey loam at an elevation of 400m. Solid rainfall in late January and early February together with generally mild conditions through to the end of Summer underscored the quality of the 2016 Clare vintage, including our Armagh Malbec.
The Malbec was hand-harvested in mid-March, bunch sorted, then divided into 2 treatments for vinification using wild yeast. 20% of the Malbec was subjected to carbonic maceration, spending 4 weeks in a small closed fermenter. For the other 80%, a small portion of whole bunches were included in a warm ferment that had 7 days of extended maceration. Both treatments were basket pressed, settled in tank, then transferred to small, fourth-use French oak barrels. The wine was matured for 16 months before the final blend was assembled, then bottled without fining or filtration.
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