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Annexus Mataro

Mataro’s Time to Shine

After 44 Barossa vintages (the 45th about to begin), John (with a little pushing from Tim) has finally decided to release a 100% Mataro. Think about that for a minute… that’s a lot of experience tasting amazing old vine Mataro, assessing quality and style before taking the plunge with a straight release.

What changed? Well, in 2016 we were very fortunate to receive some perfectly timed rains in late January / early February. These rains helped to break up quite a hot start to 2016, slow down ripening and allow for more flavour development.

The rains were a godsend for the amazing 115 year old, dry grown Mataro bush vines we have the privilege of utilising. The vines were in fantastic condition leading up to harvest and fortunately yielded enough fruit with great concentration and structure to bottle the inaugural Annexus Mataro.

Our very first 100% varietal Mataro. Old vines. Tiny production.

A Special Place

The vineyard in question is a single site located in the Barossa Valley parish of Light Pass. This is an area in the Northern end of the Valley, a few kilometres out of Nuriootpa. The old, gnarly bush vines do it tough, growing on very sandy soils without any irrigation.

The vineyard is steeped in history, with John first dealing with the original owners, the Scholz family, in his Penfolds years. Undoubtedly the site contributed to some pretty special fortified wines over the years, and it is with a sense of pride that we are now able to finally recognise the history and pedigree of the site with its own bottling.

Grower Mike Scholz delivering hand picked Mataro to a happy winemaker, John.

Pre-Release – 2016 Annexus Mataro

Before we officially release the Mataro to our distributors, we’d like to offer our loyal mailing list customers the first opportunity to snap some up! Similarly to our Annexus Grenache, quantities are very limited – we’ve only made a total of 250 cases all up – fruit of this calibre from 115 year old vineyards is hard to come by….

2016 was an excellent year for Mataro. It is an richly layered, spicy, complex expression of old vines. Vibrant, bright purple in colour it has amazing concentration of flavour without being overtly heavy. The 2016 is quite seductive on release with its array of rich dark fruit and lifted spices. It has all the right ingredients, in particular wave after wave of mouth coating tannins, to age gracefully for many years to come.

New Release – 2015 Eligo Shiraz

We’ve also extended member pricing to our other wines during this time, including the brand new release of our flagship Shiraz, Eligo. The 2014 Eligo sold out in quick time after receiving some lovely reviews (including 97pts from James Halliday). The 2015 Eligo is a very worthy follow on, destined to become a classic. It is perhaps more seriously structured than the 2014, and has amazing layers of silky dark fruits and a long generous palate.

Amazing colour in the old vine Mataro ferment, mid pump-over


As this update goes to press we have just kicked off the 2018 vintage with some Marsanne from Stonewell (a little area just out of Tanunda before Marananga). This Marsanne is destined to become a component of the 2018 Plexus White.

The next few weeks will be a critical stage of ripening for most of our Barossa Valley Shiraz. We’ll be spending a lot of time out walking vineyard rows, tasting berries and chewing skins in order to try and catch the grapes at optimum sugar and flavour ripeness.

Looking west from Les Fenson’s Marananga Shiraz vineyard, likely to be our first Shiraz pick. Here’s hoping for more days like this for the rest of vintage

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The Year of Grenache

The Year of Greanche

2017 has been an amazing year for Grenache. Often overlooked in favour of its more widely planted friend Shiraz, Grenache has been somewhat of a winemakers favourite without attracting as much public recognition. Boy did that change in 2017, with our Barossa friends Turkey Flat taking out the Jimmy Watson Trophy for Best Wine at the Melbourne Wine Show (for their 2016 Grenache), and a Grenache also winning wine of show at the Barossa and McLaren Vale wine shows.

We’ve also been spreading the word internationally, presenting at a Wine Australia led panel in Boston where the trade enjoyed a masterclass of 16 different Grenache expressions. The wines were a revelation for many in the room.

Grenache Masterclass in Boston. The ’15 Annexus Grenache was in good company.

Here at our home, the Barossa, the Grenache story has many chapters. The original Grenache vines, some planed as early as 1848, were at first in high demand for fortified wines. With steady demand and high suitability to our warm climate requiring little water, Grenache shone for many years. When taste preferences started shifting away from sweet fortifieds to table wine, the Barossa was very fortunate to have an amazing array of old vineyards to draw on. However, horrifically in the 1980’s many of these historic vineyards were removed as part of the SA government’s vine pull scheme.

Today Grenache is often blended with Shiraz and Mataro (Mourvedre) to highlight the wonderful lifted aromatics and textural qualities of Grenache, the mid-palate richness of Shiraz and the savoury structure of Mataro. We love working with these varieties – so much so that the first wine John released post Penfolds was this celebrated blend: the 2003 Plexus.

A Star is Born – Annexus Grenache

Despite our love for blended Grenache wines, when a special site and favourable vintage conditions combine we can’t resist highlighting Grenache in all its glory. And so in 2013 the Annexus Grenache was born, when for the first time we got access to an ancient Grenache vineyard planted in 1858 (one of the oldest Grenache vineyards in the world).

The first two releases of Annexus Grenache sold out in quick time and received some amazing reviews. We think Mike Bennie of the WineFront summed up the 2015 release perfectly:

“Power, grace, finesse, flavour, tannin-structure, deliciousness, drinkability. Couldn’t ask for more. This is as elegant and seamless a grenache I have seen from Australia. Fine web of tannin gives additional succulence to cool, even, medium weight red fruit and spice flavours. Epic in length, total restraint, pure-feeling and energetic. It’s beautiful wine here. Utterly.” 95+ Pts

The Gourmet Traveler Wine panel loved the 2015 Annexus. 95 pts and equal top of their Grenache tasting.

Artisans of Barossa Grenache Project

As you may be aware, we are proud members of the Artisans of Barossa collective (along with Spinifex, Schwarz Wine Company, Sons of Eden, Massena and Hobbs of Barossa Ranges). Many of you would have visited our tasting room and enjoyed the fantastic food program hosted by Harvest Kitchen.

The 2017 vintage was a turning point for Artisans – we decided to make a wine together under the Artisans of Barossa label. Of course, in the “Year of Greanche” what other variety could we choose…. However, rather than making one grenache wine collectively, we’ve gone down a different path. The guys at Sons of Eden earmarked a special Grenache vineyard and each Artisan got allocated two rows of pristine fruit. Co-incidentally we all ended up picking on the same day, but the final wines are all very unique. Our own “Duval” version has about 20% whole bunches, saw 7 months in an old hogshead and is bursting with flavour. The other Artisans have used a variety of techniques and vessels including ceramic eggs, some 100% whole bunching, carbonic maceration etc etc. Its been a very exciting and fun project – just like the wines.


We are selling the wines as a 6 pack only – one of each wine – for $250. If you’re interested, head over to the Artisans of Barossa Website – or give them a call on 08 8563 3935.


Coming Soon…

2016 Mataro. 115 year old vines. Sandy soils in Light Pass, Coming March 2018.

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March 2017

Vintage has finally arrived! We started with some Stonewell Marsanne on Wednesday 8 March and some hand picked Marananga Shiraz on Thursday 9 March. This was closely followed the next day with Shiraz from the Light Pass district, which came with a little surprise visitor (don’t worrry we saved the little guy from the crusher). The Light Pass Shiraz is showing great aromatics and colour in ferment and is due to be pressed off today (20 March).

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February 2017

With a cooler growing season, vintage has yet to kick off yet. Our Krondorf Shiraz was picked on 8 February 2016 but as at 9 February this year still hadn’t finished veraison (see picture below). We expect that this vineyard will be ready to pick in mid-march. Roussane in the Kalimna region of the Northern Barossa (bottom image) is looking great this year, developing excellent early flavour. Stay tuned….

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Spring Update – 14 October 2016

Spring has finally sprung here in the Barossa. We have seen a sequence of warm sunny days and, along with the sun, bud burst and some rapid growth in the vineyard. However, mixed in with the few days of sunny skies have been numerous reminders of the cold, wet winter just gone.

And a cold, wet winter it certainly was… We had above average rainfall for May, June and July and record rainfall for September (162 mm!); welcome conditions after the lean rainfall of the last few years. This rain should ensure full dams and soaked soil profiles across the Barossa, a great sign for a positive growing season ahead.

Spring has sprung – looking towards the hills in the Southern Barossa
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Australia’s Best Winery Experiences

More than just another winery, John has leveraged his 28 years of working and learning about the Australian winemaking industry at the internationally renowned Penfolds, not to mention four generations of South Australian vignerons, before creating a family label of his own in 2003.

His experience with Penfolds, his degree in agriculture and winemaking, and his love for the craft shine through in the wines he’s made since then. Along with international projects in Chile and Washington State (US) he spends at least four uninterrupted months in the Barossa each year to craft our range of premium wines.

Recently, we were absolutely thrilled to be featured in  ‘Australia’s Best Winery Experiences​’, a review by Bupa Travel Insurance on some of the best wines and winery experiences to be found. Bupa Travel Insurance were particularly impressed by our innovative and welcoming collective cellar door, Artisans of Barossa.

Barossa Floods! The North Para River breaks its banks at Seppeltsfield Road. Image courtesy AAP
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Artisans of Barossa

If you haven’t already paid us a visit, make sure you drop by the collective cellar door we participate in to try our wines. Embracing the collective spirit of the Barossa region, John decided to team up with five like-minded wine producers (Spinifex, Schwarz Wine Company, Sons of Eden, Massena and Hobbs of Barossa Ranges) rather than go it alone. The group calls themselves Artisans of Barossa, and each member works to produce small batches of premium regional focused wines.

Each ‘Artisan’ has their own unique style, and together, the six members provide a unique tasting experience showcasing the best that the Barossa region has to offer. Along with a revolving wine list, Artisans offers a share focused food program hosted by Pete Little and Tracey Collins of Harvest Kitchen. This means a visit to the Artisans of Barossa tasting room offers a comprehensive food and wine experience.

If you would like a more intimate setting to truly understand the complexities of our wines, we have an exclusive lounge area separate from the tasting room where you can taste each Artisan’s wines.  Call Artisans on 08 8563 3935 to arrange a private tasting experience.

A lazy Saturday afternoon at our tasting room, Artisans of Barossa