There is a bit of story to this relatively new addition to the Wirra portfolio and it goes like this. Wirra Wirra’s Angelus Bell was sourced from a Jesuit church in Norwood, Adelaide, with ties to the Jesuit community that established Sevenhill in Clare. Despite the winery connection, the Norwood Jesuit community established a temperance society named The Society of the Holy Thirst and the Sacred Agony. The team at Wirra just couldn’t resist.
This is a very small production wine made for cellar door customers and was the result of a late-night conversation about Church Block and cabernet shiraz blends. Blending bench trials of combining parcels destined for RSW and The Angelus yielded some exciting results and the first wine was released from the 2016 vintage. Only 110 dozen were produced in 2017.
It’s from Wirra Wirra’s oldest, low yielding vineyards with the fruit hand-picked, crushed into open fermenters with a combination of hand plunging and gentle pump overs, before basket pressing. After 19 months in French oak, of which 30% were new, the best five barrels were chosen for the final blend. It shows how good this classically Australian combo works, especially in McLaren Vale, where the plump fleshy fruit comes together so beautifully. Dark fruits of blackcurrant and plum with a lick of chocolate and lifted cedar. There is power, depth and poise here in a wine that has plenty of ageing potential. Worth dropping into the cellar to check it out.