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Spinifex

“Damn fine Rosé”: The Return of the Luxe
Spinifex
There’s not much Pete Schell turns his hand to that doesn’t turn to gold, and his rosé, considered a benchmark by many and a brilliant wine by all, is firmly in the conversation regarding Australia’s best. In exceptional seasons, Pete and partner Magali also make Luxe, a small-batch wine embracing the most fragrant and expressive fruit the vintage has to offer. The cool, late and long 2023 season delivered the calibre considered vital to making this top-tier bottling.

Pete honed his rosé skills in the vineyards and cellars of the style’s spiritual homeland of Provence and at Turkey Flat before setting out on his own with Spinifex in 2001. His experience led him to find a natural resonance between the Mediterranean varieties, old vineyards and warm, dry climate of the Barossa Valley and the kind of rosé wines he liked to drink and make. “There’s something that works here for rosé, a harmony between variety and climate. It just makes sense,” he told us.

For the Luxe, Pete selects the deepest, most innately complex parcels with natural weight and plush texture. This year’s Luxe sees a deviation in style, made to capture freshness, purity and fine detail as opposed to the past’s more savoury, full-bodied wines. Pursuing this more elegant style seemed the logical path for this dynamic winemaker. “I feel like I’m getting better fruit expression and purity in my rosé wines,” he explains. “We’re leaning more on the vineyard rather than trying to push the wine in the cellar. We’re doing less and getting a better result.”

Below, we offer Luxe alongside the regular Spinifex Rosé from the same year. Both are insanely delicious and striking examples of the heights Australian rosé can scale in the right hands.

The Wines

Spinifex Luxe Rosé 2023

Spinifex Luxe Rosé 2023

The Luxe Rosé made its debut in 2009 and, since then, has only been made in vintages Pete and Magali deem exceptional for the style. In the last ten years, Luxe has been released just four times in very small quantities, perhaps explaining this wine’s cult-like status. Favouring Mediterranean varieties that have a proven track record in the Barossa and the south of France, this year’s blend combines fruit from three vineyards. The Grenache (51%) is drawn from an ancient, gravelly/sandy block in Bethany; the Mataro (40%) from a 30-year-old bush vine block on Stonegarden's terra rossa soils; and younger-vine Cinsault (9%) from the gravel-shot red clays of southern Ebenezer. All three sites are old-school farmed, with few to no inputs or irrigation, and generate very low yields.
In contrast to previous years, Schell is pushing a franker expression of fruit and has pared back his approach in the cellar. Each parcel saw between four and six hours of skin contact before fermentation and six months of maturation on lees in stainless steel tanks. Stylistically different it may be, but the 2023 Luxe holds all the complex detail, depth and perfumed power of its predecessors, now in a more elegant package. Lifted red fruits, vibrant floral and spice notes and a pulsating mineral stoniness flow through the fleshy, satin-like texture to a moreish, berry-soaked close. It’s a stunner!

Spinifex Luxe Rosé 2023
Spinifex Rosé 2023

Spinifex Rosé 2023

Spinifex’s provençal-styled rosé sits among the best this country has to offer, and the 2023 is another stellar release. This year, the blend comprises Grenache (37%), Mataro (36%) and Cinsault (27%) sourced from three dry-grown sites in Angaston, Ebenezer and the southern end of the Bethany foothills. Soils vary across the sites from gravelly sand to red clay, and vine age can range from 25 to 90 years, with the Cinsault being the oldest component of the blend. The (predominantly) bush vines are dry-grown.

Each batch spent four to six hours on skins before being pressed to tank for fermentation―a small portion went to seasoned oak to build texture and complexity. The wine matured on lees in tank for six months before being bottled. The resulting wine offers the kind of energy and snappy, crunchy lines that were once the exclusive domaine of only the finest Provence rosés. It’s brimming with summer berries, spring flowers, bright, ripe citrus fruits and more savoury touches of earth and spice. Full, pure flavoured and vinous with great width and length through the palate, it ticks all the boxes and then some.  

“Another delicious rosé from the fine folks at Spinifex; 37% grenache, 36% mataro and 27% cinsault. Light salmon pink with aromas of raspberry, redcurrant, watermelon and ruby red grapefruit. Hints of freshly cut fennel, blood orange, soft spice, almond paste, wildflowers and stone. Just a slide of phenolic texture before the wine sails off, focused and briny, with a wash of lightly spiced red fruits and stone. Savoury and moreish.”
94 points, Dave Brookes, Halliday Wine Companion
Spinifex Rosé 2023

“The Barossa Valley has many different strengths and, of course, scores of fine producers but few, if any, have been more important than Spinifex over the past 20 years. The wines here are both bold and true to their origin but most importantly they bring an extra degree of earthen complexity to the table, along with sweet spice notes, along oftentimes with overt floral overtones. This is the modern Barossa, made true, made well.” Halliday Wine Companion Top 100 Wineries



“Pete Schell makes a damn fine rosé.” Dave Brookes, Halliday Wine Companion

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