Salet Basket Press Wine is a small winemaker in Currawong on the south coast of NSW, who hand makes wine from selected hand-picked grapes with a traditional basket press, a methodology that has been in use for thousands of years, the earliest archaeological evidence of a press is dated at 6000 years old.
A basket press operates through pressure applied via a plate that is forced down onto crushed grapes that fill a wooden ‘basket’. A screw mechanism lowers the plate and the juice flows through openings in the basket. The method is labour intense but also gentle on the fruit and by not crushing the seeds the wines produced are lower in the tannins that, in quantity, cause a dry / mouth puckering effect.
Michael Salecich, owner and winemaker, produces red wines, mainly shiraz and cabernet sauvignon (though has produced a 2009 Chardonnay and in 2007 a Mourvedre and cabernet sauvignon blend). The fruit is sourced from high quality areas in southern Australia, hand picked and transported by refrigerated truck. After pressing, the wine is matured in French and American oak barrels for up to five years, and during this process, careful monitoring is paramount, for instance there is the angels’ share, a term used for the water and alcohol that evaporates during the long maturation, and the barrels have to be topped up to compensate if the angels get into party mood. Attention to detail during the whole pressing, fermentation and maturing processes is essential in producing quality wines.
2010 Basket Press Shiraz
This is a big wine, big in flavour, big in intensity and big in colour, winemaker, Michael Salecich, normally produces big wines but this 2010 made in the Shoalhaven from hand picked Adelaide Hills grapes is bigger than most.
Produced with the usual hand made finesse and given 45 months in American and French oak hogshead barrels before bottling in December 2013, the wine is a rich and intense deep purple.
The bouquet displays an intensity of ripe berry fruits, black current, blackberry and a slight mulberry note. In the mouth it is initially a bit unsettled from the recent bottling, there is a firm finish and strong kick from a high alcohol of 16% but with some air it settles down to very pleasant drinking especially if you , as I do, like what I call old fashioned Australian reds, those great reds we had in the 1950's, 60's and 70's big, bold and beautiful. Mellow but mouth filling with a great balance between fruit and the oak.
Get some of this wine and let it settle in your cellar for three months to get the best from early drinking but do not be in a hurry to scoff the lot, this wine will only improve over time and my guess is it will peak in about 20 to 25 years and still be a great drop for years after that. This wine is a bargain at the price it sells for, certainly not priced at the bottom end of the market but unique hand made quality products never are. See : www.salet.com.au
Max Dingle 20 February 2014