Wine of the week: Farvie’s “difficult second album” is a triumph

These wines taste like nothing else on earth – you simply must have some in your cellar.

2019 Swinney, Farvie Frankland River Syrah, Western Australia   

£85, greatwine.co.uk

Last year, I alerted you to the inaugural 2018 vintage of Farvie grenache and its sibling syrah. With scores of 19.5/20 and 19/20 respectively, these are two of the finest debut wine labels I have ever tasted. So how did these daring wines fare in the cooler 2019 vintage, and did they suffer from the all-too-familiar “second album syndrome”? I am beyond excited to announce that they are a triumph. The Farvie syrah gains a near-perfect 19.5 mark in my notebook, and Farvie grenache has to make do with a mighty 19! 

In top-flight wines from warmer climes, such as South Australia’s Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale, and the Rhône and Languedoc in France, syrah and grenache tend to summon up deep black-fruit notes only occasionally spiked with regal red-fruit tones. Spain has more luck with true red-fruit details, especially with bush vine garnacha. But Matt Swinney’s epic vineyards in Frankland River coupled with Rob Mann’s celestial winemaking mean these two wines taste densely red and labyrinthinely earthy, and therefore like nothing else on earth. Only 176 cases of each were made and you simply must have some in your cellar.

Matthew Jukes is a winner of the International Wine & Spirit Competition’s Communicator of the Year (matthewjukes.com)

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