I like field blends. Those fruit salad vineyard plots that are planted with many varieties, all harvested and fermented in one hit.
There is a sense of gestalt to the final wines where the whole seems greater than the sum of its parts. It’s a very cool and delicious thing. In Austria they call them Gemischter Satz, which is near impossible to say after you’ve had a couple of glasses. Up in the Clare Valley, winemaker Col McBryde has called it a field blend. Very sensible Col, thanks for that.
I know of a few vineyards around the traps that have different grape varieties planted together. Some were mistakes, as in the old days quality control could be a bit dodgy, but others are planted by design.
Here, Col grafted a small 1976 planting of Cabernet across a randomised mix of Shiraz, Grenache, Mataro, Ugni Blanc, Roussanne & Carignan in 2015 and this is the field blend wine that has been made from that block.
And it’s a beauty. Light on its feet with a sweep of pure, vibrant red and dark berry fruits; a splash of cranberry bringing in the high-tones. There are hints of Asian spice and amaro herbs and a delightful sappy edge to the sweet fruit as it sashays across the palate.
Its mouthfeel is Pinot-esque, spacious and airy with plenty of light shining in on the supple fruit. Versatile, yes. Sessionable, for sure. Delicious? You bet. And only 1248 bottles produced.
Adelina Field Blend 2017, Clare Valley