nv Sami-Odi Wines, Syrah “Little V” Barossa Valley, Australia.
The wildly rare Sami-Odi wines almost never get out of the country, so I was thrilled to get a chance to try this Australian cult wine, made by winemaker Fraser McKinley, which almost nothing is known, other than he does a limited series of vintage and non-vintage Syrah, they never use the word Shiraz here, and that the wines lively and more old school French in style with this Little Wine No.5 reminding me of natural wine hero(s) Dard et Ribo, who’s Cross-Hermitage is a favorite of mine. This spicy and herb scented Little Wine No. 5 is full of violets, coffee bean, black olive tapenade, raw beef, tarry licorice and black fruit with a burst of natural acidity and lingering creme de cassis without any oak presence that is obvious to me at this time. There was only a small sulfur addition in these Sami-Odi wines and McKinley picks early, usually basing his timing on PH which he focuses on so he doesn’t have to add acidity to his wines. Everything is done by hand and foot here with gentle pigeage, whole bunches and gravity flow to best express the quality of the grapes and promote transparency. There are not many Aussie offerings like this, especially here in the states, with Ochota Barrels, another unique favorite of mine, maybe being the exception. Almost no bottles exist outside of Oz, so I’m grateful to my friend Alex Lallos of No Limits Fine Wines who graciously shared his own personal bottle with me, as I certainly would be able to find one on my own!
The Sami-Odi Little Wine No. 5, is as the winery says, an unvintaged ‘assemblage’ composed of casks from 2012 (11%), 2013 (3%), 2014 (39%) and with 2015 (47%) being the main component year here. This one was exclusively sourced from our plots within the Hoffmann’s ‘Dallwitz’ vineyard, with plots chosen from vines that were planted in 1996, 1995, 1960, 1927 and the oldest from vines that were actually planted before 1912. Only 4955 bottles were filled of this version of “Little” and it was almost an instant sell out! Fraser has worked with the Standish Wine Company and Torbreck Vintners, both outstanding producers of top end “Shiraz” in the Barossa, but in 2006 he founded his own and unique new project. He started this small all biodynamic winery Sami-Odi with fruit coming from selected plots in some of the Barossa’s (or the Valley’s as they say) finest old vine vineyards and he vinifies (the individual parcels) separately with natural methods to create a cuvée, which Fraser believes combines their strengths to create a better and more complex wine. McKinley does about 1,000 cases a year for sale at Sami-Odi and is on a mission to make a more balanced and rustic style Syrah, taking his path, which is definitely headed away from the mainstream offerings we generally see coming from down under, with impressive results if this one is anything to go by. Since these wines, think Sine Quo Non, Sadie Family or Thierry Alemand, are almost impossible to get (here) the prices are absolutely wild to the point of ridiculousness, unless you are in Australia.
($249 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive