Charles Melton Wines has produced premium Barossa red wines since 1984. At that time, Charlie and a small band of Barossan winemakers turned their winemaking efforts to what were then considered a couple of unfashionable varieties: Shiraz and Grenache. These wines were initially styled on those from the Rhône but are now considered leading examples of the varieties in their own right.
The Grenache in this blend comes from old bush vines in the Barossa, many of which are over 80 years old. The Mataro is also from a small parcel of bush vines in the Eden Valley, whilst the Shiraz is trellis grown. The blend is made up primarily of grapes from Charles Melton's prime vineyards plus some from the vineyards of a small number of trusted partner growers. None of the vineyards are irrigated, they are all dry grown. This coupled with the low yielding old vines leads to great concentrations of flavour in the grapes.
The perfect balance of a little rain in January and sunshine in February got the 2015 vintage off to a flying start. This was one of the earliest starts to a growing season ever, and mild conditions in March and April ensured the ripening period was problem free. More than 60% of the crop was harvested in the first seven days with the total harvest lasting 50 days.
Charlie Melton uses a range of different techniques in the production of the Nine Popes. The fermentation was carried out with indigenous yeasts at relatively cool temperatures (18-23ºC) to retain elegant fruit flavours. With both traditional pump overs and hand plunging. A portion of whole bunches were used in the Grenache ferments, some of which were co-fermented with the Shiraz. After the fermentation, the wine was left in contact with its lees and underwent periodic lees stirring. It was aged in predominantly French oak barriques and foudres for two years. Before bottling, the wine was racked but no fining agents were used.
This wine is deep red in colour with a hint of an amber edge. The nose is intense with ripe red fruit flavours intermingled with sweet spice and salted caramel. Beautifully balanced with a plump mouthfeel and soft tannins, it culminates in a long savoury finish.