Classy and Elegant Barossa Valley Syrah

Today’s Story: Sami-Odi

Sami-Odi is a small but highly regarded winery established in the Barossa Valley of Australia by Fraser McKinley in 2006. Working exclusively with Syrah/Shiraz from the Hoffmann family’s esteemed Dallwitz Vineyard, McKinley farms his rows of often very old vines (some dating back to the 1880s) adhering to organic viticulture. He also picks earlier than most around him, based largely on his high level of importance placed on acidity. Sami-Odi produces two wines each vintage with blending the name of the game, one of them being a vintage bottling assembled from fruit of varying vine age and blocks, with the other being a non-vintage assemblage of various blocks, vine age, and vintage. The Sami-Odi wines are a result of traditional winemaking, with manual work prevalent alongside whole-cluster fermentation and no additions save for a minimal amount of sulfur. Aging occurs in neutral oak, and bottling is gravity-fed with the wines always unfined and unfiltered.

I previously wrote about Sami-Odi when I reviewed the NV Little Wine #9, which is a very fun wine if you missed it.

Today’s Wine: 2017 Hoffman Dallwitz Syrah

100% Syrah; 14.9% ABV

The 2017 Hoffmann Dallwitz Syrah is deep purple in color, certainly very youthful. I’ve read this needs a very long decant right now, and it certainly does so I decanted this for about 9 hours and tasted it a few times along the way. The aromas are of pronounced intensity, showcasing notes of blackberry, blueberry, black plum, violet, smoked game, grilled green herbs, cracked black pepper, cinnamon, allspice, chocolate, and cedar. Meanwhile the flavors are also of pronounced intensity, with the palate displaying notes of black plum, blackberry, tobacco, game, scorched earth, black pepper, coffee grounds, cedar spill, exotic spice, and clove. This dry red is full-bodied with high acidity, high tannins, high alcohol, and a long finish. There’s a beautiful elegance and finesse to this wine not often found in Barossa Valley Shiraz.

Price: $170 (very difficult to find). While I think the Sami-Odi non-vintage bottling holds the better value distinction, it’s remarkable how pure and complex this is given such a young age. There are some elements that need time in the bottle to fully integrate, but given another 5 years or so of cellar age this will be even more exquisite.

Apparently Unicorns Do Exist in Australia

Today’s Story: Sami-Odi

Sami-Odi is a small but highly regarded winery established in the Barossa Valley of Australia by Fraser McKinley in 2006. Working exclusively with Syrah/Shiraz from the Hoffmann family’s esteemed Dallwitz Vineyard, McKinley farms his rows of often very old vines (some dating back to the 1880s) adhering to organic viticulture. He also picks earlier than most around him, based largely on his high level of importance placed on acidity. Sami-Odi produces two wines each vintage with blending the name of the game, one of them being a vintage bottling assembled from fruit of varying vine age and blocks, with the other being a non-vintage assemblage of various blocks, vine age, and vintage. The Sami-Odi wines are a result of traditional winemaking, with manual work prevalent alongside whole-cluster fermentation and no additions save for a minimal amount of sulfur. Aging occurs in neutral oak, and bottling is gravity-fed with the wines always unfined and unfiltered.

Today’s Story: NV Little Wine #9

100% Syrah (yes, Fraser calls it Syrah and not Shiraz); 14.1% ABV

The NV Little Wine #9 is opaque deep purple in color. This is an assemblage of 42% 2019 vintage, 37% 2018, 13% 2017, 4% 2016, and 4% 2015 so I decanted it for about 5 hours due to the youthful tilt. The nose is elegantly perfumed and an absolute showstopper, offering up with pronounced intensity aromas of black plum, blueberry, blackberry, crushed violets, licorice, worn leather, a hint of smoked game, tobacco, freshly-sharpened lead pencil, subtle dried earth, and mild baking spice. Meanwhile the palate is also of pronounced intensity, showcasing notes of rich black plum, blackberry, ripe blueberry, blue and purple florals, tobacco, eucalyptus, cracked green peppercorn, black tea, clove, and a hint of smoke. This dry red is medium- to full-bodied with medium (+) acidity, medium (+) but fine-grained tannins, and a long, lingering finish. What’s amazing is how concentrated and powerful the wine is, but at the same time it is incredibly restrained and just downright beautiful. 537 cases produced.

Fruit sourced from vines planted in 1996, 1995, 1960, 1927, and prior to 1912.

Price: $100. To be honest, I am incredibly lucky to have purchased this bottle in the USA. I’ve been tracking down some Sami-Odi for about a year now, and I think it lives up to the hype. This is an awesome and outrageously complex Aussie Syrah well worth the price-point. If you’re fortunate enough to find some, buy it.