Massena Howling Dog Saperavi 2015
Grape Variety: Saperavi
Background: Early experimental batches of Petite Sirah (some as small as 120kg’s) produced wines that were rich and deep, but had pronounced tannins that caused tasters to release a slight howl as it crossed the palate. We later planted other naturally tannic varietals Tannat and Saperavi and with lessons learnt, the only howl we hear now is one of enjoyment! The best of these varieties are selected each year, either on their own or as a blend.
Winemaking: Destemmed into open fermenters, left to spontaneously ferment, then pumped over sporadically for 10 days before some parcels saw extended post fermentation maceration for up to 6 weeks. Extended skin contact integrates the tannins and produces a wine that is a lot softer and more approachable when young. Gentle basket pressing followed, with each vineyard parcel being kept separate in 2nd and 3rd use French oak hogsheads until just prior to blending and bottling in August 2016.
The Wine: Black as night and laden with an abundance of natural structure and personality, the palate surprises with immense flavour but with all elements in balance. Aromas of beetroot, tilled earth and juniper, the palate has an inky, iodine like deepness with elements of roasted coriander and cumin and a structure that is evident, but intrguingly supple. Built more along the lines of a marathon runner than a sprinter, it is already approachable but will greatly reward those who choose to keep a few bottles well into the future.
Cellaring: Ten years or more.