Nuriootpa-based wine producer scores Rosé Wine of the Year at Halliday Wine Companion awards

Nuriootpa-based wine producer, Spinifex Wines, won the coveted accolade for its 2021 Luxe Rosé, receiving a respectable 93 points.

The highly anticipated 2023 Halliday Wine Companion Awards was hosted at the prominent Stokehouse in Melbourne last night, where deserving winners were announced in front of an audience of wine lovers, wine industry experts, winemakers, and media.

The Awards celebrates the best of the best, recognising the wineries, winemakers and viticulturists setting the industry benchmark. Last night, a South Australian winery received the highly coveted accolade of 2023 Rosé Wine of the Year. Huzzah!

This particular award acknowledges a standout winery producing the best rosé varietal amongst its quality competition, considering its quality, taste, flavour, and production.

Nuriootpa-based wine producer, Spinifex Wines, won the coveted accolade for its 2021 Luxe Rosé, receiving a respectable 93 points.

Spinifex confidently stepped forward from other contenders with three first place votes, but it was a tough competition – a testimony to Rosé’s coming of age in Australia.

Spinifex Wines owners Peter Schell and Magali Gely have operated in the Barossa Valley for more than twenty years. Mr Schell says they were “pretty chuffed” when they discover the family-run operation scored big.

“We certainly appreciate the recognition and [our Luxe Rosé] was in great company,” says Mr Schell.

“Halliway Wines has some pretty great credentials and a pleasure to get recognised. We’re big rose fans and have made classically made Rosé for many years.

“We make two rosés some years: a standard cuvee, typically Grenache based with cinsault and mataro. We make a very small amount of Luxe Rosé.

“It’s certainly a labour of love that gets a lot of care and attention. It’s more aromatically and texturally complex, but simply a lovely thing to drink.”

Mr Schell concluded by thanking the Halliday awards for the recognition, as well as the Barossan community and East End Cellars for their continued support.

“We’re a part of the Artisans of Barossa cellar door alongside a few small Barossa winemakers – it is the best place to visit us,” says Mr Schell.

“We’re also well represented by East End Cellars. Michael Andrewartha has been very supportive of us from pretty much our first vintage.

“At the end of the day, this is great to be a part of, we’re very lucky to do what we do.”

There were 22 standouts for Rosé Wine of the Year, with an incredible 19 varieties and blends spanning 11 regions – a refreshing and exhilarating breath of fresh air for the category.

While Spinifex wasn’t necessarily the highest-scoring rosé, it certainly made an impression on the entire tasting panel. Tasting Panellist Dave Brookes said it had “been a minute” between Luxe releases and awarded the drop 93 points for this unique vintage.

“Winemaker Pete Schell is a fan of Bandol rosés and the Luxe is a tip of the hat to the rosé styles of the Med. This year, a blend of 68/26/6% mataro/cinsault/vermentino,” says Brookes.

“Red cherry, watermelon and pomegranate with hints of soft spice, crushed rock, blood orange and wild herbs. Slinky and textural with crisp acidity and a wicked stony, savoury finish.”

The 2021 is the first Luxe to be released since 2017. Unusually, it’s a blend of red and white grapes this year, with 6% vermentino (fermented separately) in the blend. Spinifex has not previous won an award but was shortlisted for Best Value Winery in 2018.

“Peter Schell and Magali Gely are a husband-and-wife team from NZ who came to Australia in the early 1990s to study oenology and marketing at Roseworthy College,” commented James Halliday.

“They have spent 4 vintages making wine in France, mainly in the south where Magali’s family were vignerons for generations near Montpellier. The focus at Spinifex is the red varieties that dominate in the south of France: mataro (more correctly mourvèdre), grenache, shiraz and cinsault.

“The wines are made in open fermenters, basket pressed, with partial wild (indigenous) fermentation and relatively long post-ferment maceration. This is a very old approach, but nowadays à la mode.”

To taste the award-winning rose for only $35 a bottle, click here or visit Spinifex Wines at the Artisans of Barossa Cellar Door.

Artisans of Barossa is located at 24 Vine Vale Road, Tanunda SA 5352.

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