Australian winery Ministry of Clouds positions all of its wines firmly in the premium category, but has gone one further with its latest release, an ultra-premium red blend named Kintsugi.

The blend of Grenache, Mataro, Shiraz and Cinsault – all from the 2015 vintage – aims to be the best Southern Rhône-inspired blend that winemakers Julian Forewood and Bernice Ong can produce.

“It is a bit of a reaction to the straight varietal orthodoxy that Australia is a bit obsessed with,” they say.

Forewood and Ong wanted to break the mould with this wine and be proud of the individual parts that each grape plays in the blend. “We were aiming for a wine that was about layers, gentle complexity, and savouriness in direct comparison to other of our more fruit forward wines,” they add.

The wine is named Kintsugi after the ancient Japanese art of ‘golden joinery’, the creation of lasting beauty from broken fragments of ancient pottery as they are pieced together with lacquer laced with gold. “It befits our desire to meticulously blend only our very best parcels of old vine fruit from a single year… the idea being that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.”

Kintsugi is largely based around a parcel of 97-year-old bush vine Grenache planted high in Clarendon towards the boundary of McLaren Vale and the Adelaide Hills. It is blended with a multi-clonal pick of Blewitt Springs Mataro, a parcel of Patritti Shiraz, and a small amount of Cinsault for fragrance and acid.

All fruit was hand-picked, and the Grenache, Mataro and Shiraz were fermented in open vessels with a small inclusion of whole bunch; the Cinsault was 100% whole-berry fermented.

Ferments were worked very gently, largely by plunging only, but left on skins for longer than any of the winery’s other parcels, before being basket pressed to 100% old French oak and matured separately for 10 months before assembly as a final blend. Following blending the wine was matured for another six months prior to bottling.

Kintsugi 2015 Tasting Note

An elegant, floral wine with an aromatic red fruit lift, and depth of spice from old vine Grenache and the Cinsault. Buried underneath is the intense blue fruits and violets of dry grown Mataro and Shiraz. Layered and long this wine exhibits a tightly wound core of dense red-berried crunchy fruit, framed by persistent sandy tannins and bright acidity.