2018 Massena Stonegarden GMS
Our first wine is a pretty hard act to follow, but we think we’ve pulled it off with the ’18 Massena Stonegarden GMS – a delicious, handcrafted wine from a 163-year-old vineyard in the Eden Valley. Produced by Jaysen Collins and Dan Standish, the dynamic duo behind Massena, this single vineyard GMS is a stunning example of a classic Aussie blend; a rich and enticing wine, with layers of dark fruit, spice and savoury earthy notes (not to mention its distinguished pedigree).
With only 2016 bottles ever produced, we really do think this wine is pretty special, bringing a beautiful parcel of old-vine fruit, quality craftsmanship and all that history together in a glass. We know you’re going to love this full-bodied beauty and we can’t wait to share it with you.
Grenache, mataro, shiraz – the three musketeers
The GMS is a blend of grenache, mataro and shiraz and a firm favourite among Aussie wine lovers. In fact, it’s come to be considered a cultural classic, up there with Barossa shiraz and Coonawarra cabs; however, the GMS actually has its roots in France and takes inspiration from the wines of the Southern Rhône, which is a hot, dry region known for its multi-variety blends. Here, instead of throwing the spotlight onto a single grape, each variety is recognised for the ways their particular qualities and character can complement one another. But while we have the French to thank for dreaming up this killer combination, we like to think that we Australians have made it our own.
In the case of the Stonegarden GMS, grenache dominates the blend, packing a fruity punch with bright raspberry and cherry notes, and a touch of white pepper for good measure. Shiraz provides colour and depth, with blackberry fruit to match its inky hue and a silky tannin structure. And let’s not forget the variety that puts the 'mmmm' in GMS – mataro, which brings a dense spice and savoury goodness to really tie this trio together.
"Perfumed and inviting, the gorgeously expressed bouquet shows dark berry, cake spice, toasted almond and subtle game notes, leading to a supple palate that’s plump and flavoursome. Silky-smooth and soothing with a super-long velvety finish. At its best: now to 2030.”
Australia is home to some of the oldest vines in the world, including the historic vines that produced this wine. Tucked away on the eastern edge of the Eden Valley, the Stonegarden vineyard was established in 1858 and today, winemakers continue to work with the fruit from the original gnarled bush vines planted over a century ago. But it’s not just the age that makes this a prized parcel – its high altitude at 394m, rich loam soils, hot days and cool nights ensure the grapes enjoy long, slow ripening, resulting in complex flavours with balanced acidity and fine, silky tannins.
Unlike most single-varietal vineyards planted today, the Stonegarden grenache planting includes parcels that contain a proportion of other varieties inter-planted amongst the bush vines. This particular wine comes from a section of the vineyard that contains a denser proportion of mataro and shiraz amongst the grenache, making it a true single vineyard wine.
At Massena, the magic really happens in the vineyard. For Jaysen and Dan, the aim is to produce wines that reflect the unique patch of land from which they come, and working with great vineyards like Stonegarden is a big part of that. But this is only possible through their hard work in the winery – embracing handwork and minimal intervention winemaking that lets the vineyard’s personality shine through. And trust us, the Stonegarden GMS is a wine with plenty of personality.
The nose is spicy and inviting, bursting with cracked pepper and cinnamon, ripe blackberry and sour cherries, rose petals and dense earthy notes. The palate is like biting into a ripe blood plum – juicy with bright acidity – and there’s an undercurrent of smoked meat, earth and liquorice. The layers of fruit and spice are complemented by a full body and velvet tannins, soft and round from twelve months in French oak.
We’re seriously impressed by how well it’s drinking now, and we think it will be absolutely magical to enjoy with friends and family over lunch this Christmas. But for the patient among you, this wine will pay dividends with time in the cellar.
Meet the winemaker
Want the inside scoop on December's wine? We took some time to speak with Jaysen Collins – a born-and-bred Barossan – who you can thank for making your 2018 Stonegarden GMS.
We can’t lie, we’re suckers for Frank Sinatra and a bit of Bublé at Christmas. We’ve put together some classics to get you in the mood this holiday season. This GMS also pairs perfectly with Mariah Carey on repeat, if that’s your vibe. No judgement.