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SWINNEY FARVIE 2022 RELEASES

A TALE OF GREATNESS

"Siblings Matt and Janelle Swinney and winemaker Rob Mann made clear from the outset their ambition to grow wines that sit alongside the best in the world. Judging by how well the 2022 Farvie wines performed at a recent series of benchmarking tastings—featuring top grower wines from Priorat, Côte-Rôtie, Bandol, etc.—one could say they have already fulfilled their ambition. Yet, it wasn’t simply the quality of Swinney’s Farvie wines that stood out at these events; it was their identity.

In a keynote essay to The Wine Writers’ Symposium, Andrew Jefford recently wrote: “It’s places which generate the most compelling differences in wine: that is terroir.” Terroir is a concept we still tend to tip-toe around in Australia. Or rather, we don’t yet afford it the same admiration as they do in Europe. Here was a set of Australian wines as original and pure as any poured at those tastings. Each wine is made from a different variety. Yet, each is threaded with the same savoury, ferrous watermark―a legacy of the gravelly ironstone ridges above the Frankland River―that the Farvie wines have borne since the first release in 2018. This terroir-driven originality can only come from a single place of land farmed with attention to detail that is second to none.

Late last year, winemaker Rob Mann recalled that 2022 was an outstanding year―magical, in Rob’s words―for Frankland River’s reds. It was a lovely warm season, giving modest yields of “incredibly deep and opulent fruit”. It’s in years like this that Swinney’s deep focus on the vineyards pays dividends. “What we don’t want to do in a very concentrated year is to make big, heavy, thick wines,” Mann told us. “We’re trying to impart more elegance.” 

The Swinney team are picking earlier to capture freshness, vibrancy and natural acidity, combining the opulence and density of a great vintage with a restrained approach in site and cellar. With concentration already achieved in the vineyard, extraction is exceptionally gentle, with the wines spending as little as 12 days on skins. There is no pumping over or plunging, and no new oak—maturation occurs in seasoned French oak puncheons, demi-muids and large oak vats. “The best wines you make are the ones you have to do the least amount to,” notes Mann, echoing a similar quote from Dominique Lafon: “A winemaker must have the courage to do nothing”. 

This year marks a mini-milestone in Farvie’s five-year history: 2022 is the first year all three wines―Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre―have been released together. We’ll let others decide if they agree with Rob Mann that 2022 is the best set of Farvie wines. For us, the quality of the farming, the year and the winemaking has resulted in a predictably stunning and unique range of wines. " Bibendum

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