Alex has long been interested in 'Old-World' wines and their symbiosis with all things culinary; particularly Shiraz from an appellation in France's Northern Rhone Valley called Cote Rotie (roasted slope). Shiraz has been the only red grape grown there for thousands of years, initially thought to have been cultivated by the Roman Empire. A great legend states that in the Middle Ages, a Seigneur of Ampuis called 'Count Maugiron' owned the steeply terraced hills of Cote Rotie. He was also blessed with two beautiful daughters, one a blonde and the other a brunette. The Southern slope of the Cote (also suited to viognier) which contains more granite, mica and limestone made a softer, rounded more elegant wine which delighted its drinkers with perfume and femininity. Here, the soil and wines showed colour and character of his blonde daughter. The Northern slope contained heavy soils of schist and iron, producing an intense wine with dark fruits and tannin that required age to show its true potential. Here, the soil and wine showed colour and character of his brunette daughter. When Count Maugiron finally retired he passed on the two Cotes to his daughters and to this day, they are still referred to as the 'Cote Blonde' and 'Cote Brune'.
These soil structures and colours are of utmost importance to the properties of the fruit which grow in these vineyards. For Alex's unique Barossa Valley wines, he selected two vineyard sites where, similar to Côte Rotie, the soils produce contrasting styles of Shiraz.
'The Blonde' comes from a vineyard in Stonewell, which consists of sandy loam mixed with quartz on a limestone base that gives the wine accentuated perfume and complexity.
'The Brunette' comes from a high elevation vineyard in Moppa, which consists of heavy soils of deep red clay and ironstone that give structure, longevity and reward from cellaring.