Vynfields ‘Mad Rooster’ 2009 – Crazy Martinborough Red

The grapegrowers and winemakers of Martinborough who use the ‘Mad Red' or ‘Mystery Grape' of the region are no closer to knowing the identity of this variety, imported illegally in the 1970s, and thought to be Syrah, but after genetic testing determined to not be the case, but rather a crossing with hybrid parentage in the make-up. The character of the wines can be kindly described as lollyish with sweet and spicy flavours, or more accurately coarse, obvious and rustic. It is generally used sparingly, in a blend, where it adds an extra layer of richness and lift. Vynfields bravely bottle the variety on its own, and their ‘Mad Rooster' wine has become something of a minor cult. Expanding plantings to three rows, the production is still only around 40 cases, and the wine is mostly sold from the cellar door. Over the last few vintages, the wine has become more ‘classical vinifera' in expression, with the wild, jammy confectionary elements becoming less obvious. The new 2009 release takes ‘Mad Rooster' further yet from rusticity. www.vynfields.com

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