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Sunday, 21 December 2014

Andrew Seppelt Wines Sérine 2012

Andrew Seppelt, formerly winemaker - and partner - at Murray Street Vineyards, has long had his own label producing wines made from Barossan stalwarts such as the Shiraz and Riesling (Eden Valley).

Sometimes a wine poses too good a story to simply limit it to a brief tasting note and associated score.

The Wine in Question
Closed initially, opening and unfurling to reveal a floral perfume, a sweet perfume showing touches of red fruit - specifically suggestions of cherry and perhaps stonefruit.

Lithe, supple and juicy - initially appears to lack a little weight and depth (from what you may be used to from the region). Black fruit shows toward the back palate, a little acidity present to freshen. With some time and air brown spice adds to the package, the wine adds a bit of weight , fleshing out  little. Reasonable length. 90

Waiting for the Sérine's (sic) call - what's in a name?
Faujas de Saint-Fond(1) considered Serine to be a distinct variety to the Syrah, writing back in the 18th century, a mere 7 years prior to white settlement of Australia through the arrival of the first fleet.

There's some debate as to whether Sérine is actually just a clone of Syrah, or indeed is a separate variety. Andrew Seppelt's own keyboard wanderings led him to the work(2) of a young Canadian winemaker called Hunter Kangas. Kangas states how most published sources claim it as a synonym, or as a clone; AWRI Emeritus Fellow Peter Dry responded to myself, via an enquiry put to him through a third party: "It is a synonym of Syrah, mainly used in Cote-Rotie."

Physically it's different: “small olive-like berries and an elongated rachis compared to Syrah” (the rachis being the central stem that connects the grapes, to form a 'bunch', and connects the 'bunch' to the vine). Indeed, reading Kangas' article, it suggests it is the Sérine that gave the Côte-Rôtie its 'bacon fat' character. 

Susceptibility to disease, along with lower yields, saw it fall out of favour - being replaced with more commercial clones available from nurseries. But everything old often becomes new again. It may appear that Sérine could well have it's time on the roasted slope once again.

Tasted on: Wednesday 19th November, a Root day
Source: Gift
Price: $25
Alcohol: 14.9%
Closure: Screwcap

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Sources of information:
1) Wine Grapes, Robinson et al; P1023
2) "Finding Sérine: The Rediscovery of Côte-Rôtie’s Forgotten Grape",


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