Twelftree Branches Out


Michael Twelftree isn’t someone who lets the grass grow under his feet.

The co-founder, co-owner and public face of Barossa Valley winery Two Hands now has his own brand, simply called Twelftree Wines. It’s a sideline: he is still committed to Two Hands, but the Twelftree brand is all about small parcels of mostly red wine, largely grenache and shiraz, all vineyard or sub-region designated bottlings, as small as 67 cases and as large as 689.

All were produced with very little manipulation or intervention: in the jargon of the day, they were naturally produced. His six single-vineyard 2012 grenaches were grown on vines aged 50 to 100 years, on their own roots, dry-grown (unirrigated) and untrellised (bush vines).

The grapes were hand-picked, wild-fermented with a proportion (usually 15%) of whole bunches (ie. including stems), the cap of skins extracted by punch-down and the lightly-pressed presswine was added back before aging in old oak and stainless steel tanks. They were bottled before the next vintage to retain freshness.

The only thing that could be termed ‘manipulation’, it seems to me, is that some of the juice was drained off the fermentation, to further concentrate the must. “I do wonder what more could be done to make a more authentic product,” says Twelftree.

The wines are sensational, especially the grenaches, all priced at $40. I especially loved the Airport Greenock (tasting), the Copperview Onkaparinga Gorge (tasting) and Moritz Blewitt Springs (tasting) bottlings. The Greenock-Ebenezer grenache mataro blend ($30) (tasting) is also excellent. And next month, some Twelftree ’12 shirazes will be uploaded. Watch this space. 

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