Massena / Jaysen Collins
Dan Standish and Jaysen Collins were college friends, and in the late 1990s they decided to put their talents together to produce wine. Recently, Jaysen Collins has taken charge of the "Massena" project on his own.The grapes are purchased from growers in Greenock, Kalimna and Koonunga Hill in the northwest Barossa Valley.
They are always very old plots and the yields are naturally tiny, but the grapes have an unequalled concentration and complexity. Despite the scorching dry summers, no irrigation is used (a method known as 'dry farming'). The Midnight Run, their first wine, was initially conceived as a wine for family and friends. Its name was inspired by their journeys between Barossa Valley and Clare Valley--during harvest they had to move from one to the other at night and it was then that they had the idea of working together. That blend was based on Grenache from vines over 120 years old. The remainder was Shiraz, Cinsault and Mataro (Mourvedre) in the style of the great Chateauneuf-du-Pape.
The Shiraz grapes for The Eleventh Hour come from a revered, if low yielding, plot in Greenock which was destined to be uprooted and replanted because no one was prepared to pay a higher price for the low yield. The name means 'the last minute', the two friends having saved these ancient Shiraz vines, in extremis, by blocking the bulldozers that had come to dig them up. Jaysen lets vinification take place naturally using indigenous yeasts without intervention. The style of Massena's wines is relatively elegant for the area. That doesn't mean that they have renounced the power and aromatic exuberance of the region, but a certain restraint and control over extraction bring both smoothness and tasting pleasure.
Fattoria La Gerla / Sergio Rossi
Standing on La Gerla's terrace, one's view sweeps over Montalcino's peaceful landscape with its hills, vineyards, slim cypresses, and estates scattered all around. Nestled in the Colli Senesi to the south of Siena, the area comprises approx. 2000 hectares (up from just sixty hectares 50 years ago!).
It isn’t easy to ascend to seventh heaven. And indeed, the road to the wine estate Sette Cieli is fraught with some difficulties. You might need to take a few detours (seventh heaven isn’t on Google Maps’ radar), but the Ratti family’s wine paradise is more than worth the effort.