Established in 2000 Massena was begun by Dan Standish and Jaysen Collins who until 2006 were employed full time at other Barossa wineries (Dan as winemaker at Torbreck and Jaysen as general manager at Turket Flat). More recently Glen Monaghan has added his remarkable old Stonegarden vineyard into the mix with several single-vineyard wines of very limited volume.
All Massena wines are from 100% Eden Valley and Barossa valley fruit from dry-farmed, low yielding vines up to 155 years age located in the north-western Barossa. Working mostly with traditional Barossa varieties, they have also established experimental vineyards of other varieties like Roussanne, Viognier, Barbera, Primitivo, Dolcetto, Tinta Amarela, Graciano, Saperavi and Tannat.
Wines are made using traditional techniques such as open fermentation and basket pressing and are aged in tank or seasoned French oak; no American oak is used here for maturation. All varieties are hand harvested and fermented using indigenous yeasts and wines from each vineyard are raised and kept separate until final blending. These are wines of striking purity and natural intensity that reflect their origins and which offer outstanding value.
WINE NOTES AND REVIEWS
2017 Massena Eden Valley Fruit Salad Block Field Blend
'Old Barossa vineyards tended to be mixed plantings of different varieties, with the aim of making fortified or brandy. Our Eden Valley block on the Eastern Side of Springton was planted to make brandy back in 1855. To make the best spirit, varieties that were picked early and retained acidity and freshness were preferred. This makes a perfect opportunity to make a zippy, aromatic light dry white that is a truly vibrant and eclectic wine.' Jaysen Collins.
'Couldn’t be a more appropriate name for a field blend, really. Old vines, mixed planting, co-fermented, time on skins, sent to bottle. What ho! Here’s a live one. And a good example for those who need further help with the concept of what a field blend is. Sophist wines. I like ’em. More so, this is an intriguing, delicious wine in its own right. I bet there’s muscat or traminer in this block, for if not, something has that candied, rose petal whiff to it in the bouquet. More than that though, there’s exotic spice, ginger, ripe stone fruit, a touch of green herbs. Attractive start. The palate is hemmed with fine, saline mineral character with a light juiciness and perky acid tang giving freshness. It feels like lots is going on in its sleek, electric frame. Refreshment is high, as is personality and textural detail. What a ripper.'93 points, Campbell Mattinson, Winefront, October 2017.
2017 Massena Barossa Valley Dadds Block Rosé
(70% Primitivo, 30% Mataro) 'Our Primitivo and Mataro are hand harvested and pressed as whole clusters to extract only the freshest juice. Transferred into neutral oak barrels, the juice is left to spontaneously ferment over several weeks. The natural convection currents during ferment ensure the lees are rolled continuously through the wine, giving texture and weight to the palate.'Jaysen Collins.
2018 Massena Barossa Valley Dadds Block Primitivo
Primitivo is what the Italians call the variety Zinfandel, which is revered in the Napa Valley in California. After trying the UC Davis clone of Zinfandel for a few years, we were sure that this variety would make generous and interesting wine, but somehow it just missed the mark. We sought Primitivo cuttings from the Puglia region of Italy and planted them on the gentle south slope of our ‘Dadds’ vineyard, which has yielded the perfect example of this intriguing varietal. Morello cherry, black pepper, dried oregano and tobacco leaf make this a dry red that is atypical for the Barossa climate with its high end aromatics. The sweet, soft and round tannin palate bring back the familiarity of this warm climate and early released wine. Flavours of grilled meats, dried herbs and a menthol coolness ensure that this wine is best enjoyed at the lunch or dinner table and drunk with friends in abundance without any pretentiousness.
2017 The Surly Muse
(60% Viognier, 40% Marsanne) 'The grapes for ‘the surly muse’ are sourced from a single site in the Gomersal sub-region. We harvest the Viognier and Marsanne at two different ripeness stages (up to four weeks apart). The early picking of Viognier gives the wine great natural acidity and green tinges, whilst the riper Marsanne adds rich and full fruit flavours. Fermentation and ageing of the surly muse was completed ‘surlie’ (on lees) in stainless steel tanks before bottling unfiltered. The wine is pale gold in colour with bright green highlights. The nose displays aromas of apricots, honeysuckle, wild fennel and grapefruit. The palate is firm and restrained, with succulent tropical flavours that are matched with fresh acidity, a taught band of minerality and a creamy texture.'Jaysen Collins.
2017 The Moonlight Run
Mataro 73%, Grenache 14%, Shiraz 13% from Southern Moppa, Light Pass, Greenock, Angaston Foothills, Tanunda. Mataro from dry grown vines on the rose quartz soils of our Dadd’s Block is fermented with 30% whole cluster inclusion and blended with other parcels of Mataro from Light Pass and Greenock. We then add some old bush vine Grenache from the Barossa foothills where the sandy soils are shallow on calcrete and limestone. This complex Grenache fruit adds spiciness and intensity. Add to that some Greenock and Tanunda Shiraz and we have a wine that has a mouthful of everything superb about a Southern Rhone styled blend. Daily pump overs early in ferment, followed by punching down as the ferment finished, ensure gentle and controlled extraction. Aged in tank and barrel, each parcel is selected to add as much interest as possible. Mataro gives roasted cumin, cinnamon, peppercorn and savoury profile that appears in abundance due to the cooler 2017 vintage. This lifted spice plays off with juicy black cherry Grenache aromatics and raspberry sweetness from the Tanunda Shiraz, A true reflection of the 2017 vintage where the volume on weight is turned down slightly, but allows the complexities of these aromatic varieties to abound. A firm tannin line suggests potential for time in the cellar.
2017 The Eleventh Hour
(100% Shiraz) 'Based on vines 60 years old in Greenock with other parcels in the north-west of the Barossa. The red clay belt of the Western Ridge running down to Greenock creates an ideal environment to grow shiraz, fruit from this region is juicy, spicy and concentrated. Stonewell’s hard red-brown soils adds another layer of complexity to the fruit. Destemming without crushing, we ferment each parcel in separate batches in open fermenters before basket pressing. Aged in seasoned French oak barrels for 15 months, the wine was moved to tank in individual components for several months before blending and bottling without fining or filtration.'Jaysen Collins.
2018 Stonegarden Riesling
The Riesling fruit from vines planted in 1946 is hand-picked and whole-bunch pressed followed by a long and cool fermentation (14°) over several weeks. In a nod perhaps to Alsace and in contrast to most Australian Rieslings, the wine is kept on lees for another 5 months or more until bottling, to build volume and texture in the wine.
Review for 2017 '1940s vines. Textural, powerful, persistent. Lime juice and crystals, talc and spice, mineral. A hint of orange blossom. A trace of fruit sweetness. It's pretty and it's purposeful, and it feels soft as it extends along your tongue. A treat of a wine. Drink to 2028.' 95 points, Campbell Mattinson, Halliday Wine Companion, January 2018.
2017 Stonegarden Grenache
100% old-vine Grenache, hand-picked in two parcels, the first parcel destemmed into a ceramic egg and aged on skins for several months, the second fermented as whole bunches and foot stomped over a period of two weeks. The foot-trodden component brings density and extract to the wine, along with a robust tannin structure, while the very long cuvaison of the egg-ferment portion allows for the extraction of very fine-grained, long chain tannins. A fine acid balance is the hallmark of this vineyard and combined with a fine boned structure will ensure that this Grenache will continue to evolve and develop over a decade or more in the cellar. 2580 bottles produced.
“You might guess a $100+ price point – wrong. This is an attractive varietaly pure wine, with very good colour and structure.” 97 Points - 5 Black Glasses James Halliday Wine Companion Magazine March 2019
“Old vine grenache off the Stonegarden vineyard. Part matured in a ceramic egg, part whole bunches, all unfiltered and unfined. Ribs of tannin for sure but it generally feel unfettered and free. It has power but not a lead foot. It tastes of chicory and black cherry, graphite and woodsmoke. It’s sleeves are bursting with spice, dry/sweet/woody at once. Flashes of ironstone and molasses too. They vineyard has done an excellent job, and so too has the winery team. There’s finesse flaring off them’s fingers. It’s a respectful wine and as a result, it’s a fundamentally delicious as it is impressive. 94 points” Campbell Mattinson, winefront.com.au
‘Raspberries and cherries mark the nose of the 2017 Stonegarden Grenache, sourced from Eden Valley. This full-bodied rendering of Grenache is quite deep, dark and tannic, although it's creamy enough on the mid-palate to make it approachable now. Serious stuff, with a long, spice-driven finish. 93 points” Joe Czerwinski, Wine Advocate, Issue 238, Sept 2018
2017 Stonegarden Grenache Mataro Shiraz
Single vineyard wine from the distinguished Stonegarden vineyard in the Eden Valley, with old vine heritage and limited production. The wines produced from this special piece of history are something to behold, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache and Riesling while singing their respective varietal character, have a common vineyard thread of beautiful aromatics and subtle minerality. The historic Stonegarden planting of Grenache can contain a proportion of other varieties inter-planted amongst the bush vines. This wine was made using grapes sourced from a section of the Stonegarden property that contain a denser proportion of Mataro and Shiraz amongst the Grenache. Wild fermented with 100% whole bunch inclusion, then aged on lees in seasoned French oak puncheons for 12 months and bottled without fining or filtration. 2016 bottles produced.
“Field blend. Eden Valley. Vineyard planted, remarkably, in 1858. Whole clusters of berries are fermented wild, then basket pressed to neutral oak. Bottled unfiltered and unfined. Picture perfect. Cherry-berry flavours, woodsy spices, strings of tannin, a general fleshiness. Woodsmoke overtones. Feels unfettered and free-flowing and yet it retains its shape throughout. Flings of wild, fragrant herbs for good measure. Just a lovely wine. 93 points” Campbell Mattinson, winefront.com.au