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The New Barossa
Part 12: Massena

Back in 1999 Dan Standish and Jaysen Collins (above) were working the vintage at Taylor's in the Clare Valley, stuck on the midnight shift. So when they started their own venture together in 2000, they named one of their wines 'The Moonlight Run' after the nightly journey they made to the Clare. There's also a story behind another of their wines, the 11th Hour Shiraz, which is from a patch of old vines in Greenock that were about to be rooted up until they swooped for the grapes - yes, you guessed it - at the 11th hour. I don't know the story behind the howling dog Durif, but then this dark, extreme wine is only made in tiny amounts.  

Currently, Massena isn't a big outfit - running at around 1000 cases - but it is beginning to make waves. 1000 cases are made, mainly from old vineyards in the western ridge/Greenock areas. The wines are quite striking and modern, but not overly so. 

In common with almost all of these new Barossa outfits, there is no physical winery. Jaysen and Dan have barrels in a couple of locations, one of which is in a barn that belongs to a grower (where I tasted), the other of which isn't accessible at the weekend (this heavily fortified location is where Torbreck store most of their wines). My notes here are confined to just a few barrel samples, therefore, although I've tried finished Massena wines on several occasions (some notes are below). 

Massena Moonlight Run 2003 (cask sample of component)
Smooth, open, sweet nose. The palate smooth, rich and concentrated: a seamless wine. Impressive 

Shiraz 2003 (younger vines)
Part of the 11th Hour. Dark, spicy, intense nose. The palate shows great intensity: very spicy with some firm tannins. Vivid, intense and fruity this is a bold style with lots of presence. 92-94/100

Shiraz 2004 (younger vines)
Very full aromatic nose. Quite ripe and sweet - sweeter than the 03. Massive, sweet primary fruit on palate. A vibrant wine. 

Other notes on Massena wines:

One of Massena's (unpruned) old Grenache vines at Greenock

Massena Howling Dog Durif 2002 Barossa, Australia
Serious and dark, with an intense, rich black fruits nose which is dark and spicy. The palate is explosively ripe and rich with spicy dark fruits. Tarry and bold with blackcurrant and blackberry. Massive, bold and porty. Very good/excellent 92/100 (09/04)

Massena 11th Hour Shiraz 2002
Inky black. There’s a slight hint of ginger on the spicy nose, which exhibits lots of intense fruit character. Good concentration on the palate with lovely rich, spicy-edged fruit. Very bold and ripe with smooth tannins. Too much alcohol, though? Very good/excellent 90/100 (01/04)

Massena The Moonlight Run 2001 Barossa
Taut, spicy, slightly herby nose with some savoury woody notes. The palate is richly fruited and has a lovely savoury spicy character. Nicely structured, this is a bold wine. Very good/excellent 92/100 (01/04) 

Massena 11th Hour Shiraz 2001 Barossa
Ripe yet savoury spicy berry fruit nose, with some tarry, smoky notes and plenty of complexity. Good concentration on the palate with a distinctive tarry, spicy edge. Very intense with firm but smooth tannins and prominent but well integrated oak. Bold, with so much intensity it is difficult to pull the components apart – typically Barossan in style. Very good/excellent 92 /100 (08/03)  

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