Product information

Alkina ‘Old Quarter’ Grenache Shiraz Mataro 2019

Rhône Blend from Barossa, South Australia, Australia


$100ea in any 3+
$95ea in any 6+
Closure: Cork


The step up in sophistication from the Field blend is clear. There’s more composure. The line and length are on show. Harmony and shape to the palate. The finish here sees excellent persistence. This could easily give a quality CndP a run for it’s money. You can feel the energy. A very complete wine with a lot going on. The acid is finer, the palate together. The whole bunch tannins more elegant. This is a triumph.

Coming back to this bottle after it had been open under Coravin for a couple of months revealed more beauty. Violets, a little baking spice, savoury pops. Layered supple tannins what this wine is all about with an underlying foundation of fruit seamlessly made from the perfumed, Grenache, plush Shiraz and dark Mataro.

Alkina already demonstrates the delicacy that is thankfully the direction more and more makers in the Barossa and McLaren Vale are heading. Taste this in a blind tasting and you would not guess Barossa!


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Check out all of the wines by Alkina

Why is this Wine so Yummy?

The characteristics of the Old Quarter are underpinned by the Grenache from Polygon 4 which consists of Schist and clay which is complemented with the lighter Grenache from Polygon 2 which contains hard Schist and wind blown Limestone. These components were blended with the Mataro from P6 and the Shiraz from P8 & P9.

  • 50% Grenache, 29 % Shiraz, 21% Mataro
  • Average 70% whole bunch
  • Varieties fermented separately in concrete tulips
  • Wild yeast
  • Basket pressed
  • Matured mainly in concrete and one Gamba
    French oak Demi-muid
  • Bottled in July 2020

About Alkina

Alkina is a new story on an old place.

We seek to understand, nurture, care for and ultimately express this beautiful land in its wines, its values and its experiences for visitors. ‘ALKINA’ is an Indigenous Australian girl’s name meaning ‘Moon’ or ‘Moonlight’. This name embodies our respect for the land and the many forces of nature that we work with to bring life, energy and authenticity to our wines. Ancient stones and soils, organic and biodynamic viticulture, small scale winemaking and the creation of unique micro-terroir wines, grown and made on our estate in the Western Barossa ranges.

The farm at Alkina was established in 2015 when Argentinian vintner, Alejandro Bulgheroni purchased a property near Greenock in the Barossa Valley with a vineyard planted in the 1950s and old stone buildings built in the 1850s. Together with local winegrower, Amelia Nolan, they both loved the rolling hills and the promise of the geology that lay beneath, as well as the area of old Grenache, Shiraz, Mataro and Semillon vines that we now call the Old Quarter.

We want to make wine that is an expression of this place; pure, authentic, terroir wines from healthy vines in healthy soils. We want to make the very best wines we can by having a deeper knowledge and understanding of the land. A human’s influence is relevant for a short time, but the land is timeless if we look after it.

The farm sits on the traditional lands of the Ngadjuri people, who live in this area and through Clare, up to the state’s Mid-North. We acknowledge the Ngadjuri people as the traditional custodians of this land. We seek to honour the land’s Aboriginal history, to learn from their spiritual relationship with Country and to promote the idea of guardianship rather than ownership. We pay respect to Elders past, present and emerging.

In the Vineyard

Our vineyard is farmed organically and biodynamically and certified by NASAA. We want our wines to be completely reflective of the Barossa Valley, so we look for the most authentic and pure expression of our site.  To make wine that truly communicates its place you have to prize soil health and eradicate all synthetic chemicals.

In some regions it’s hard to make the change to organic viticulture because of the weather, but the Barossa has a warm, dry climate and our site is particularly windy, so the transition has been very successful. We farm grapes in a way that is harmonious with our surroundings and in a way that will leave the soils and the ecosystems in a healthier state than when we found them.

From there our approach to turning these grapes into wine is based on identifying, picking and vinifying separately a wide range of micro-terroirs. Working with terroir specialist Pedro Parra, and winemaker Alberto Antonini, we were able to map the Old Quarter and Spice Garden areas of the vineyard to reveal very specific parcels of vines that are unique in their geologies. These areas, some as small as 0.3ha in size, we call Polygons.

Alkina is a 60 hectare farm with 43 hectares of planted vines. The youngest blocks were planted in 2017, while 6ha of the oldest vines were planted in the early 1950s by Les Kalleske. The original vineyard has been certified organic and biodynamic (NASAA) since 2016. In that same year we added on the neighbouring Owens Vineyard, 20ha of established vineyard that came up for sale at just the right moment. This part of the vineyard is also farmed organically and biodynamically, but it is not yet certified. We strive to produce authentic terroir wines; meaning that the grapes communicate exactly where they were grown, with clear variations being found in the fruit from vines that are just a few metres apart. Central to this endeavour is soil health and plant and microbial diversity.

We sow cover crops in every row to put nutrients back into the soil and assist with sequestering carbon in the ground. We mow under each vine row to manage the weed population and have cut out all synthetic chemicals. This allows complex ecosystems above and below ground to develop naturally and flourish. A healthy, happy vineyard should be teeming with life. It’s so far from the bare earth monoculture vineyards that have turned grape growing into an industrial pursuit.

The hills, contours and slopes of the vineyard mean many different soil types exist right next to each other. We have split the vineyard into several ‘neighbourhoods’, which each have distinct characteristics:

Old Quarter
Spice Garden
The Maze
The Narrows

Greenock Creek runs right through the heart of the farm and is a vital piece of the biodiversity puzzle, as well as being crucial to the geology of the vineyard. Vineyard areas close to the creek tend to have richer, deeper, clay-based soils, while sites on slopes and hills further from the creek are more rocky. Also the creek is home to a great diversity of insects and especially native bees. We know from a recent study that the vertical banks of the creek are crucial nesting sites for white and blue-banded bees, as well as many other important pollinators.

Micro Terroirs

Since the beginning of the Alkina journey in 2015, we have worked with the goal of gaining an intimate knowledge of the land we farm and care for, believing that this knowledge would help us to do two things.  The first has been to develop management practices that would improve soil health/microbiology, water management, vine health and overall biodiversity of flora and fauna, upholding the values of regenerative rather than just sustainable farming. The second has been to understand the type and scale of terroir variability across the vineyard, and in understanding this, rely less on the tools of winemaking and more on the knowledge that the secret of creating real terroir wines lies deep within the rocks and soils of our place.

In 2017 Alberto Antonini introduced us to his friend Pedro Parra, a well known terroir expert who has developed numerous terroir studies across Europe, North and South America but so far none in Australia.Pedro is Chilean and has a PhD in Terroir Viticole from Paris which allowed him to combine his background in mapping and geology with his interest in terroir winemaking and specifically the connection between soil/rock type and wine characteristics.

We started to study our terroirs by scanning the vineyard using Electro Conductivity Mapping technology (see right). ECM scanning sends electromagnetic impulses into the ground which deliver soil reading data at two depths 75cm and 150cm (topsoil and bedrock). The maps created by this data inform us mainly of where there is change from one type of soil/clay/rock to another, with the darker blue areas suggesting solid rock. It is only when Pedro studies the actual pits that we can know exactly what these changes mean.

After the mapping process, the next step was to excavate the soil pits for Pedro to study. The first area of focus was in the Old Quarter, a 3ha area of old vines planted with Grenache, Shiraz and Mataro in the 1960s.Pedro spent four days analyzing the pits and mapping the terroirs of this area. The result was the creation of nine individual micro-terroir polygons.

Perhaps the most fascinating part of the process was to see the extent of changes in the soil and rocks across small areas. Also known as ‘patch dynamics’ these changes from one ‘patch’ to the next are the result of more than 700 million years of changes to the physical features of the land caused mainly by tectonic plate movement and climatic change.

Various features and differences within the micro-terroirs were identified:

  • Our main bedrock material is schist (a metamorphic rock) and it has varying degrees of fractures (breaks within the rocks) and ranges from highly fractured to tight/non-fractured
  • Within the schist there are also varying degrees of clay present, the clay is ‘born’ from the schist, in some areas the clay exists mainly within the fractures of the schist, in other areas we have pure clays with deep or no schist present
  • We also have Iron present within this mix, this can be seen in the red colour of the clay
  • Within the schist and clay are ‘patches’ of Limestone containing some schist and no clay or Iron
  • Pedro’s Polygon mapping work separates out these areas to allow us to make the wines according to these geological ‘patches’ and to understand the results in terms of wine characteristics. With a lot of schist in the vineyard the wines have a lot of energy and what Pedro calls ‘fire’.

To cool the fire, we need to use whole bunch (30-100%) and take care not to over extract. Amongst the schist and clay there is also iron which can take away from the typicity but also add a sensation of acidity. We also have patches of Limestone which create ‘cooler’ wines than schist, showing more red fruit and chalky tannins.

In the Winery

A small winery has been constructed in a meticulously renovated old stone barn and here we vinify all of the Alkina wines. It is equipped with tulip shaped concrete fermenters and clay amphorae from Italy, a qvevri from Georgia and small concrete eggs from France. A small amount of larger and older oak barrels is also used.

Everything we do in the winery is designed to protect the integrity of the fruit and the source block or polygon. Winemaking is pared back so that the imprint of the winemaker is barely perceptible and we avoid what we think are the six enemies of terroir wine: over-ripening, over-extraction, invasive oak, synthetic chemicals, the winemaker’s ego and market-led winemaking. This is our interpretation of making the most ‘Barossan’ wine that we can.

Where in the World is Alkina?

97 Points

The Old Quarter refers to a section of the Alkina vineyard planted in the 1950s to the district’s classic varieties, in this instance the reds grenache, shiraz and mataro. The crew here consider this the purest expression of the site as a whole, Alkina manager Amelia Nolan calling it “our most important achievement”. Having mapped the block into tiny sections with unique geologies, each called a polygon, the fruit from five separate patches was fermented individually with indigenous yeast in concrete tulips with an average of 70% whole bunch included before maturation in a mix of concrete and older, larger French oak. The makeup of 50% grenache, 29% shiraz and 21% mataro weaves together a multitude of aromatic and flavour characters: charcuterie, blood pudding, dark plum, dark choc and orange with an underlying chalk and talc composition that acts as a textural foundation to its lifted top notes.
The crowning achievement here is a completeness, a symbiotic and harmonious
wine that defies being deconstructed into its parts. All class and right at the top of
the league in this genre.

Tony Love, Wine Pilot

95+ Points

This 2019 Old Quarter GSM is fine and striking—the concentration of fruit is unmarred by oak, but has textural complexity and plushness in the mouth. The tannins in this wine are pliable, whippy and omnipresent, while bringing extreme pleasure and freshness to the wine. It has form and shape. Vitality. Purity. Finesse.

Erin Larkin, The Wine Advocate

Where in the world does the magic happen?

Alkina Wine Estate, Victor Road, Greenock SA, Australia

South Australia