With Rob Mann now making the wines from fruit lovingly grown by viticulturist Lee Haselgrove, Frankland River’s Swinney has firmly established itself as an icon of the region. A tangle of wild berries, spice and minerals are supported by assertive tannins that are a distinctive signature of the Swinney site.
This is deeply fruited but not big, with black berries, wild raspberries, spiced plums, dark cherries, woodsy herbs, and black and brown spices on a saturated but composed and savoury nose. That theme continues on the palate, with a tightly wound core of intense fruit, flecked with spice, bitter chocolate and a suggestion of dusty minerals knitting into the assertively grippy structure, with the flavours fanning out through a long finish, those tannins tugging all the way. This benefits greatly from a bit of air.
Themes of this wine
Shiraz dominates the Australian wine industry, accounting for nearly a third of this country’s vines. The grape’s traditional home is in France’s Northern Rhône, with wines that combine elegance and power, while Australia is perhaps best known for the muscular styles from warmer areas. Today, drinkers of Australian shiraz are spoilt for choice with expressions ranging from the elegant and spicy to the monumental.
A subregion of Western Australia’s sprawling Great Southern, Frankland River is in the north-west corner of the region. Although it is inland, cooling sea breezes carry through across the subregion, moderating the warm days, while the nights are cool, making for wines of intensity and freshness. The regional heroes are riesling, shiraz and the cabernet family.