Gestalt Nocturne Adelaide Hills Tannat 2015 (RRP $35 WM $31.90)

This wine revels in shadows and darkness. Liquorice, tar, stewed blackberry, violets, oyster shell and burnt orange drive the sinister nose. The palate follows with plum and rhubarb crumble, fennel seeds, and bitter chocolate, all woven around a powerful, structural tannin backbone.


A composition that is intended to be evocative of the night, but poses few restrictions on the form. It may be gentle and nostalgic, full of reverie and tenderness, or it could reflect the dark passionate heart of Romanticism rather than its intimate lyricism.


There’s not much Tannat planted in Australia, partly owing to the perception that it only makes ferociously black, tannic wine that tastes likes ‘dark matter lurking in a pot’. However, the Adelaide Hills vineyard growing the Tannat for Nocturne shows that this variety has much more to offer than this. The 20 year-old Tannat vines are located on clay loam just west of Woodside on an elevated, east-facing slope that’s well protected from hot afternoon sun. A mild January and less late season rain than usual produced great quality, flavour and natural acidity in the vineyard in 2015. Excellent work by viticulturalist Adam Loveys as well as Ann Lees and Michael Bowe together with the favourable growing conditions produced the best possible Tannat for the Nocturne.


The Tannat was hand-picked in late April, bunch sorted, destemmed and crushed, then left for short cold soak. Once warm, the Tannat underwent a short ferment in an open vessel using wild yeast. This was followed by a 7 day period of extended maceration. The wine was then basket pressed, settled in tank, and transferred to small format oak. Half of the barrels were French, the other half American. The Tannat had a long, 24 month period of maturation before being bottled in late October 2017 without fining or filtration.

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