The ‘Survivor Vines’ shine on
Back in the early 70’s when the Cirillo family emigrated to the Barossa from Calabria in Southern Italy, they became owners of a block of land filled with what appeared to be lifeless Grenache and Semillon bush vines. Having nurtured them back into life, the Cirillo family are now custodians of what is believed to be the oldest Grenache and Semillon vines in the world – something winemaker, vigneron, and staunch Grenache supporter Marco Cirillo is extremely proud of.
Marco is a no-nonsense kind of guy. He doesn’t stick to a mantra, nor does he make wines just to please the market.
“I just make wines the way the fruit tells me it needs to be made. If people buy it – great! If they don’t, we just have a whole load more wine to drink.”
Selling much of his fruit on to Barossa heavyweight Torbreck, Marco makes wines under his own label Cirillo Estate including Semillon, loads of Grenache, Mataro, and a soon to be released Shiraz. Being a 9th generation Italian winemaker, and having worked seven vintages in France’s hallowed Châteauneuf-du-Pape region, Marco still believes 90% of the work that goes into his wines happens in the vineyard. Each day Marco is out in the vineyard tending to these precious vines, some towering over six feet tall.
Some of Marco’s higher priced wines feature regularly on top wine lists such as at Aria and Vue de Monde in Sydney, but this Grenache ‘The Vincent’ comes in at $20 a bottle and consistently scores well above 90 points from wine reviewers across the country.
In the glass it sits a blush of pinkish ruby, a ruse to the 80 year old vines used in this wine.
Fresh raspberries and strawberry jam are joined on the nose by a light touch of boiled lollies. There’s a faintness to the ever present white pepper you’ll find in Grenache, as lifted aromas of hibiscus and jasmine dominate with a sweet cinnamon edge.
The palate is more redcurrants and hibiscus upfront, with breaths of light musk and sweet cinnamon, and the aroma of white pepper without the spicy hit. It’s gorgeous drinking, and the medium length keeps you going back for more.
Obviously made for drinkability, this medium bodied wine has some serious acid and a minerality very uncommon to your typical Barossa reds. A small dose of grippy tannins rounds out this well structured wine which comes across as light and pretty, but with all the hallmarks of being able to be put down for many years.
Do this wine some justice please – decant at least 3 hours before enjoying, or put it through an aerator and let it settle.
FOOD: Roasted pork shoulder with a medley of roasted autumn veg
MUSIC: Pink Floyd – enjoyed fresh, or put down for a few years to be appreciated at a later date
Marco Cirillo is not normally open to the general public for wine tastings. To get in touch with him, contact Small Batch Wine Tours who can arrange a wine tour of the Barossa Valley and include Cirillo Estate on the itinerary.