2016 Soul Growers, El Mejor, Cabernet Mourvedre, Barossa Valley, South Australia
It was great to see winemaker Stuey Bourne in the UK last week. A serious talent, this chap has spent his life nurturing his relationships with the old grape-growing families in the Barossa Valley. These original settlers have the finest plots of land in the region and Stuey’s handshake is all that is needed to guarantee a few tonnes of their finest fruit for his Soul Growers wines.
El Mejor is Soul Growers’ most arresting red, made from the final squeeze of the basket press each time it ekes out precious juice from the amazing bunches of grapes. Stuey unhooks the hose, and places a bucket under the tap and then he drops the press down another inch. It is this incredible elixir that is then put into a single barrel. The majority of the wine is cabernet (approximately 90%), but there are a few buckets of mourvèdre and shiraz in the mix, too, which bring untold complexity to the end wine.
This is a deliciously carnal creature with incredible intensity and fabulous, ululating tannins. Aromatically, it is one of the most complete sensory experiences I can remember because every time I swirl the glass the wine shapeshifts and alters its delivery. It is not surprising that its name translates as “The Best”. Stock has only just arrived in the UK, so make it your mission to track down this awesome wine.
Matthew Jukes is a winner of the International Wine & Spirit Competition’s Communicator of the Year (matthewjukes.com).