Stephen Pannell is one of the best and brightest of the new generation of Australian winemakers. He spent a decade working as chief red wine maker at Hardys before striking out on his own in 2004. Steve has worked all over the world, including in Italy with Aldo Vajra in Barolo and in France for D. Dujac and Pousse dâOr. His father, Bill, started Moss Wood in Margaret River. His broad experience has helped shape his approach to winemaking and his wines are true expressions of the grapes and vineyards of McLaren Vale. The Shiraz for his wines came from McLaren Flat and Seaview while the Grenache was sourced from Tintara, all areas he got to know well during the time he was based at the Hardyâs winery in the Vale. His Italian experience of Nebbiolo has been influential on his McLaren Vale version of this grape. In the cellar, Steveâs approach is disarmingly simple: natural yeasts allow time for a natural cold soak which aids in colour extraction. Fermentation takes place in open top fermenters, and the cap is hand plunged in order to get the tannin structure, almost RhÃ´ne-ish in style, that Steve is seeking. Length, texture and balance is cherished over massive flavour in Pannellâs wines.
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