2022 PRIMA ALBA
Sauvignon Blanc (100%)
Prima Alba, meaning ‘First Sunrise’ in Italian. This wine marks a new beginning for Mr Barval. A re-imagining of a Margaret River white varietal classic of Sauvignon Blanc, but not as you would know it. Hand harvested fruit, gentle whole bunch pressing, wild fermented in old French oak barriques with 5 months on light yeast lees.
A bone dry, medium/light weight wine displaying crisp lime acidity, abundant tropical fruit notes, with mouth coating texture. This new wine for us treads an intriguing line between light delicacy and profound complexity. This wine is bottled unfined and unfiltered and a harmless sediment may remain.
1 of 1173 Bottles
RoséRegular price $33.00 Save $-33.00
Production: 2467 bottles (screw cap)
The fruit is grown on two sites. The first is a tiny block on the western edge of the Walcliffe sub-region, right in the middle of the Cape to Cape region in Margaret River. The vineyard has a WNW exposure and lies on free draining, stoney, Forest Grove soils.
From 2021 we have achieved access to another fantastic site in the Wilyabrup sub-region. It is a site which has yielded the fruit for one the most decorated of Margaret River Rosé wines over the past few years (but which must remain nameless here ;). More to the point is it is a fantastic site with gravelly, free-draining soils, a gentle northerly aspect and well tended vines of 27 years of age.
The fruit was hand harvested into small 8kg crates and brought immediately back to the winery for processing. The grapes were tipped 1 crate at a time through our Italian de-stemmer to gently remove the whole berries from the stem/rachis of the bunch. The grapes were de-stemmed directly into our basket press and pressed immediately with no extended time given for maceration and colour pick-up. The grapes were gently pressed directly to seasoned oak barrels yielding a very low juice recovery rate of only 50% meaning that only the very finest of the free-run juice was extracted from the fruit to make this wine.
The wine was allowed to undergo fermentation utilising the indigenous yeasts which came to the winery on the grape skins from the vineyard. The wine was fermented to absolute dryness (i.e. no sugar is left at all) and left for a couple of months on yeast lees to develop more complexity and texture.
Following a primary racking, via gravity, off the heavy yeast lees to clean old barrels the Rosé was bottled un-fined and un-filtered. Overall the wine spent 9 months in wood.
This is a classic pale blush Rosé wine, with the light colour heavily suggestive of the light bodied nature of the wine. The extremely hot 2021/22 growing season has lead to our Rosé showing more pronounced red berry notes than usual, but as always we work hard to achieve some salivating minerality and savoury notes from the barrel maturation and lees contact in order to get all of your senses going. The hot year also lead to higher sugar levels in the fruit which in turn produced a finished wine with slightly higher alcohol than typical in our Rosé - a charactristic which produces a more mouth filling wine. High acidity reinforces the freshness and summery-nature of the wine and is balanced by ripe, red berry notes and amazing mouthfeel and texture. Great complexity and length for such a light and youthful wine, this is screaming out for a hot summers day and plate of chilled seafood, or perhaps a tin of good anchovies and olives.
MistralRegular price $33.00 Save $-4.00
73% Viognier 27% Marsanne
Production: 3147 bottles (screw cap)
This wine is inspired by the white wine blends of the Northern Rhone Valley in France. Originating in Switzerland, the Rhone river flows west towards Lyon before turning south down the Rhone Valley to the Mediterranean coast. The strong, cool wind known as the 'Mistral' blows down the Rhone Valley from the Alps and has a profound impact upon all of the agriculture in the valley, viticulture being no exception. This is the inspiration behind the name of the wine.
Perhaps the most famous of the Rhone white varieties is Viognier (pron. Vio-n-yay). The bronze tinted, thick skinned, hardy white grapes typically produce a medium weight, dry wine with characteristic bright floral and apricot notes. This is often blended with either or both of Marsanne and Roussane, to produce a vibrant, complex, floral wine, capable of being enjoyed in its youth as well as to be cellared and enjoyed with several years of bottle evolution.
The Viognier for the 2022 Mistral was sourced from two separate vineyards. The first is located in the Walcliffe sub-region of Margaret River, with a northerly exposure and around 4km from the Indian Ocean on the banks of the Margaret River itself. Sitting high on this hillside, the vines grow in gravelly, well drained soil and experience fantastic exposure to the warm summer sunshine and regular, cooling sea breezes.
The other portion of Viognier comes from the north of the Margaret River region, on the border between the Yallingup and Willyabrup sub-regions. This site is very exposed to both our regular winds and full summer sunshine, and the Viognier thrives in this site.
The Marsanne portion of the blend is grown at one of the most southerly vineyards in the Margaret River region located in the Karridale sub-region, some 4.5km West of the Indian Ocean and 6km North of the Southern Ocean.
The summer of 2022 was the hottest on record for the Margaret River region. Not just hot, we had an extreme heatwave beginning on the 27th of December and stretching into February. Whilst this lead to some of the varieties in the area struggling, it proved to be just the tonic for these two hardy, Rhone Valley white varietals. Since beginning to make this blend back in our first Mr Barval vintage of 2015 I have never seen the vines looking so vibrant. The notoriously fickle Marsanne looked especially amazing and for the first time ever produced a big crop of fruit.
I had a feeling that these vines would produce a great wine from early on in the summer when the hot period begun and this was only reinforced with every passing day of fermentation and every monthly tasting throughout the up until bottling.
All of the grapes for this wine were handpicked into small 8kg crates and immediately transported back to the winery where the whole bunches of grapes were placed gently into an old-school basket press to extract the juice. Whole-bunch basket pressing is the most gentle way to extract the juice from the fruit and is a process common to the world’s highest quality white wines. No additions, subtractions, fining or filtration of any sort was conducted on the juice.
From the press the juice was run directly into 3 and 4 year old French oak barriques for fermentation. The wine was fermented utilising the indigenous yeast which came in on the grape bunches from the vineyard. The wine fermented to absolute dryness and was left in contact with its fine lees for 4 months.
The 2022 Mistral spent 9 months in barrel before being racked via gravity to tank pre-bottling. This wine was bottled unfined and unfiltered and displays the possibility of producing elegant, pure, bright and clear wines, in this very natural way.
As always with these blends it is the nose that strikes you first. The typical lifted aromas of white flowers, apricot, and an array of sweet spices and perfume are even more abundant than usual for this wine - a direct reflection of the hot year. This melange of intense summery aromas carries directly over to the palate where the typical interesting texture of this wine is also supercharged. Somehow this wine achieves a feeling of softness and textural amazingness whilst still being light a fresh! Enjoy it in its first 2-3 years to make the most of this veritable bazaar of exotic flavours and aromas or cellar for 5-10 years to witness the evolution to a more savoury and subdued delight.
ChardonnayRegular price $45.00 Save $-45.00
Production: 1687 bottles
Three diverse and select parcels of Gin Gin clone Chardonnay combined to produce this wine. Gin Gin clone vines were used exclusively as I believe that this clone more so than any other expresses the exceptional and unique Margaret River and sub-regional terroir.
The first 2 plots of vines lie in the famed Wilyabrup sub-region. More examples of Margaret River’s most famous Chardonnays and Cabernets originate from fruit in this subregion than anywhere else in the district. Whilst only being around 150m apart, the two blocks behave drastically different and produce very different qualities in their fruit.
The second plot of vines is in the far south sub-region of Karridale - the most southerly of Margaret River’s subregions. The vineyard is in close proximity to both the Indian and Southern Oceans leading to typically far lower growing season temperatures.
The 2021/22 Season:
The Spring of 2021 was late to arrive with lots of cold days and nights, and plenty of Spring rain. Unfortunately the flowering period of Chardonnay was heavily effected by these spring rains with around a 30% reduction in typical crop levels. Then came the heatwave of late December and January. This was extreme heat for Margaret River and lead to a further 30% reduction in crops as the developing berries were literally cooked and within a handful of days were dry, desiccated husks.
Although we ended up harvesting around 60% less grapes than usual the quality of the portion we did harvest was very high and has lead to a different Chardonnay, reflective of the hot season, but still unmistakably a Mr Barval classic.
All of the grapes for this wine were handpicked into small 8kg crates and immediately transported back to the winery where the whole bunches of grapes were placed gently into a traditional basket pressed to extract the juice. Whole-bunch basket pressing yields around 20+% less juice than a conventional airbag press, but the juice quality is second to none.
The juice was run into a mix of brand new and seasoned oak. 1 brand new French oak barrel was used, giving the wine a new oak percentage of 13%. The remainder of the barrels were a mix of 2 and 3 year old oak. The wine was fermented dry utilising the indigenous yeast which came in on the grape bunches from the vineyard.
Following alcoholic fermentation the wine was encouraged to undergo malolactic fermentation, a process whereby the malic acid naturally present in the grapes is converted into the softer and more textural lactic acid. As with the alcoholic fermentation, this occurred through bacteria which were naturally present in the juice and winery environment. Following 100% completion of Malo the wine was sulphured and the wine racked off its heavy yeast lees. The wine has rested and developed in oak for 10 months during which time it underwent the process of bâtonnage (stirring of the yeast lees in the bottom of the barrel) for 4 months to encourage development of more complex, savoury aromas and flavours.
This wine was bottled unfined and unfiltered, with our aim being to showcase the amazing fruit which went into making it in the purest way possible.
The extremely hot season is reflected strongly in this wine, something which we embrace with our traditional winemaking techniques not adjusting, fining nor filtering. The 2022 Chardonnay displays typical hot year aromas and flavours of ripe yellow peach, nectarine and quince with a sweet orange oil layer also prevalent. On the palate the wine has a lower acidity and slightly higher alcohol than typical for us, all of which is a direct reflection of the hot season and which add to an increased mouthfeel, texture and overall weight. For such a young wine from such a hot year, the balance right across the palate and the length of the palate are impressive. This wine is drinking well upon release but will really hit it straps in another year or two in bottle and will reward extended cellaring of 8 + years.
NebbiaRegular price $40.00 Save $-40.00
Production: 1953 bottles
This wine is inspired by the early release Langhe Nebbiolo and Nebbiolo d’Alba styles of wine produced in the Barolo and Barbaresco zone of Italy. I have been living and working between Margaret River and this most famous of Italian fine wine regions since 2009. For this wine I wanted to make a great introduction to this esteemed grape variety which is totally foreign to most Australian consumers. As with all of my wines I sought to promote a purity of varietal expression and not take any aspect of the wine ‘too far’
As with the Chardonnay of 2022, the current vintage of Nebbiolo really suffered from the long, cold, wet Spring, storms during flowering, and the extreme heat of the Summer of 2022. All of this added up to a drastically reduced crop. The quality however was very high.
A flawless pale garnet in colour, this wine displays all of the typical colour notes of the Italian Nebbiolo grape but from a hot vintage. Vibrant, bright and ripe red cherry notes, dense yet lifted fresh violet and dark rose petal perfume are all on display. As is typical from the Nebbiolo grape the wine has a fresh, high level of acidity and plenty of nutty, dusty, dry tannins. It is unashamedly a more simple expression of the Nebbiolo grape which will reward cellar for the short to medium term, but is tailor made to enjoy in its youth and always with food, in particular anything with protein.
Vino RossoRegular price $33.00 Save $-33.00
Once again the Vino Rosso arrives to continue the humble story of this wine which is really to provide a bit of a guilty pleasure for you. Wonderful mixes of florals, fruit and spice but with a generous, soft structure and low tannins, this wine was made for enjoyment.
The nose of this wine displays a dense mix of ripe red, black and purple berry fruit with an added layer of fresh petals. On the palate this is easily our richest wine, with mouth-coating texture. Although full bodied, deep and rich, the wine has an awesomely long palate length and fresh finish brought about by the significant proportion of Petit Verdot and the higher acidity which it brings to the blend. This wine will evolve well in bottle over 5-10 years but is also a guilty drinking pleasure right now.