Alex Head and Adam Foster - Two Aussies at the Top of Their Game

by Hugh French | Nov 02, 2017

Alex Head and Adam Foster
Two Aussies at the Top of Their Game!


This week we feature new Spring releases from two terrific Aussie winemakers. Alex Head has carved his way into the hearts of Aussie wine lovers with his surprisingly elegant Barossa wines. The 2016s may be his best yet with generosity of fruit balanced with a soft palette and tight structure. Alex has been out on his own since 2008 after stints with renowned prodcuers like Torbreck, Cirillo and Tyrells, and the wines and the vineyards that support them are ever improving.

Adam Foster has worn many hats, all of which seemed to point him towards wine. After working as a chef and later as a Sommelier, he wanted to create something for himself so, in 2004 he started Syrahmi. The inspiration for Syrahmi is very much Rhone Valley varietals in and around the Heathcote region where Adam and his family now reside on 88 beautiful acres. Also under Adam's winemaking umbrella is Pinot Noir and Riesling which he makes under the Garden of Earthly Delights label. These are small in production and offer great aromatic profiles and structure. Finally (yes there's more) Adam, in conjunction with good friend and former sommelier Lincoln Riley (Taxi, Maze, Stokehouse), makes Foster e Rocco which is mostly about Sangiovese and a little bit about salami! Adam's experience in winemaking has seen him do time at wineries like Torbreck, Chapoutier, Mitchelton, Heathcote Winery and Jasper Hill. If you haven't tried one of Adam's wines before you're really missing out.

These wines are available now at our special offer prices for the next 7 days only. To place your order return the attached form, by email, by fax on 03 9419 6970 or by or calling us on 03 9419 6990.

Head Wines

When I started out in the wine industry, I quickly fell in love with shiraz from the Barossa Valley, South Australia. However, it was the discovery of shiraz from Côte Rotie in France's Rhone Valley that would ultimately give me the inspiration to work as a winemaker.
Alex Head

2016 Head Red Shiraz

Plump, succulent and floral thing, with a brown spices, blackberries and assorted stonefruits. Medium to full bodied, a slight meatiness, but pretty much a silky and approachable Barossa Shiraz that slips down pretty nicely.
Gary Walsh, WineFront, 92 points

2016 Head Red Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre

This is the second style of wine to be produced under the ‘HEAD RED’ range and like the ‘HEAD RED’ Shiraz is essentially a barrel de-classification.  Always picked on the cusp of ripeness with some whole-bunches retained for the fermentation which is more of an infusion than an extraction.  Grenache is sourced from Barossa 'Old Vine' and 'Survivor Vine' vineyards in: Light Pass (1968), Greenock (1962), Williamstown (1968) and Krondorf (1942). The Mourvedre component comes from Seppeltsfield and the Shiraz from Krondorf. Matured for one year in old 500L puncheons. Bottled without filtration or fining. For immediate drinking and can be chilled lightly.
Alex Head

2016 Head Contrarian Shiraz

I have a particular fondness and affinity for this wine and what it represents moving forward in the Barossa.  It fulfils my desire to push winemaking boundaries and explore the unique terroirs of the Barossa (A single vineyard wine but from a different site each year).  About a month before vintage starts the vineyard is identified out of 10 Shiraz vineyards as showing particular promise....
Alex Head

The oldest vineyard source for the Head Wines – 54 year old vines in Greenock – but also the least expensive. Includes 10% Mataro in the mix.

Grilled steak with pepper, herbs de Provence, almost a violet thing going on, black fruits, iron filings. Medium bodied, distinctly ferrous and meaty, almost bloody, seasoned with salt and herbs, streaks of gummy tannin, clean acidity, all that meat, blackness and herb on the finish. Dare I say it, the Rhône expression of Shiraz from Heady?

Gary Walsh, WineFront, 93+ points

2016 Head The Blonde Shiraz

It’s 100% Shiraz from the Stonewell sub-region of the Barossa.

Classic Barossa Shiraz with layers of ripe sweet fruit, all plum, musk and chocolate, and just so seductive and so well done, it’s hard not to fall in love with the style. Ripe and thick chocolate-y tannin, a mouth-perfume and a smattering of earthiness. Succulent, balanced, and very long. Smell the velvet glove. Delightful.
Gary Walsh, WineFront, 95 points

2016 Head The Brunette Shiraz

Moppa sub-region, and it couldn’t be more different than The Blonde. Certainly there’s regionality in the Barossa Valley. It’s not quite Barolo (well, how could it be?), but the expression of terroir is pretty distinct.

Earthy, coffee grounds, dark spices, black fruit, dried mint, a touch of tar. Full bodied, dense well-packed, almost silty tannin, richness and spice, almost sticky feel in the mouth – like slow-cooked ribs – dark spice theme continues, drying and firm on a long finish. Savoury. Deep. Throbbing. It’s excellent.
Gary Walsh, WineFront, 95 points

2016 Head The Redhead Shiraz

From a single vineyard in the Flaxman’s Valley. A bit of whole bunch...

Silky smooth, spicy, plush and packed with red and black fruits, sage and dried mint, some grilled meat in there too. It’s dense, but not heavy, with a beautiful set of milk chocolate tannin that coats the mouth, gently, fine and even acidity, and a nutty vanillin and dried herb perfumed aftertaste that carries very long. Beautiful wine. Fine and elegant, to use an over-used description.
Gary Walsh, WineFront, 95+ points

Adam Foster

As a winemaker, my aim has always been to express the true terroir of the vineyard and vintage, and along the way I have learnt you can have great success through minimal human intervention in the winemaking process and by simply putting your trust in Mother Nature.
Adam Foster

2016 Demi by Syrahmi

This is Heathcote Shiraz (nee Syrah!) from two vineyards, Greenstone and Shelmerdine, indeed two ‘name in lights’ sites. About 75% whole bunch ferment. A mix of ceramic eggs and old oak barrels for maturation. Adam Foster did his early wine training amongst some of the greats of the Rhone Valley, reflected in his maturation and bottle ageing of some of his wines – I like this for the opposite, his take on a more early drinking style, though with all the finesse/fruit verity of loftier wines.
Compelling wine speaks loudly of fruit character, an elegant rendition of Shiraz. Wonderful perfume shows red berries, briar, new leather, wet slate. There’s mineral-like veins through the brooding, darker fruit flavours, a good shake of clove/cinnamon spice, lick of fennel/salty liquorice, speckled with herbs. Svelte, though there’s a firm web of tannin that builds to a savoury pucker. Awesome!
Mike Bennie, WineFront, 94 points


2015 Syrahmi Mourvedre

Mourvedre from Heathcote gently handled by winemaker Adam Foster. I like this iteration away from the mainstays of McLaren Vale and Barossa Valley. Some extra savouriness and grunt. Lavender in terracotta pots.
This is fine stuff. Red currants, brambles, twiggy wood spice, pepper, lavender and sweet earth. Medium weight with good concentration, almost mouth perfume-y, long in flavour, ribbed with dusty tannins. Has that almost mulberry pudding kind of feel to it, but not overtly sweet. Very enjoyable stuff here. This is one for savouring over long, cool nights.
Mike Bennie, WineFront, 93 points

2014 Syrahmi Last Dance Syrah

The name reflects that this was the last time that Greenstone Vineyard sold fruit to Adam Foster (though that has changed again for 2017 with an arrangement bringing Foster and Greenstone back together once more). No pumping, no plunging, 54 days as 100% whole bunch. Old oak only here. It’s a style that took me ages to come at, get my head around, so wild, unfettered, curious, wonderful. I did a tasting with the winemaker and used about half a bottle over an hour to get my position on the wine. It needs that, and longer, in your glass. One of those wines that goes on a journey with you as you drink it, shape-shifts, challenges and delights. Like that.
Idiosyncratic wine that jerks and tugs in bouquet and palate with a hustle of green herbal character, pepper, crisp, forest berry fruits, and in both perfume and flavours, fernet-like finish. It’s chompy, vibrant, tangy and refreshing. A red wine needing stacks of time and plenty of contemplating, though drinks with a curiosity that compels. I really like this. 
Mike Bennie, WineFront, 94 points


2012 Syrahmi La La

The first release of the  2006 Syramhi La La (Reserve) is in homage to Guigal’s infamous La Mouline, La Turque and La Landonne. This is my attempt to age single vineyard Heathcote Shiraz in 100% new oak for 36 months. It’s small batch – from a single barrel of Shiraz, the La La will only ever be released in great vintages.
Adam Foster


2017 Garden of Earthly Delights Riesling

A riesling of texture, personality and drinkability. I like the really fine, powdery-chalky feel to the wine, but likewise found the tart, tangy acidity pleasing. There’s great volume of pot pourri, black currant, citrus in the bouquet, providing a pretty intro to each sip. The crystalline, mouth watering finish delightful. Great stuff here.

Mike Bennie, WineFront, 93 points


2015 Garden of Earthly Delights Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir from Macedon Ranges, a single vineyard set at 660 metres above sea level. A five acre site planted in 1996. About 50% new oak used in both ferment and maturation. I love the way unfiltered/unfined Pinot Noir feels, distinct in that ultra fine grain-like quality, though silky too. An added dimension. This wine has that element. Wonderful illustration on the label from renowned illustrator Adriana Picker (ex-Baz Luhrmann/Catherine Martin illustrator).       
It’s got that loose knit, mouth-filling, light and fresh feel. Silkiness, savouriness, just ripe red berry fruit flavours, earth and warm spice. It’s succulent, hemmed with fine tannins, offers a feel of elegance. Light and fine pinot noir of high calibre. Delicious here.
Mike Bennie, WineFront, 93 points


2014 Foster e Rocco 'Nuovo' Sangiovese 

Nuovo is a wine that lets the fruit do all the talking and provides so many food matching options.
100% unoaked fresh expression of Sangiovese.  Fermented in small parcels we look to maintain pristine varietal character and build in fine approachable tannin, only a light hand plunge is required every second day to keep the Sangiovese in check before the wine is pressed into tank.
The 2017 Nuovo is perfumed bright & juicy.
Fragrant cherry and cranberry aromas are supported with floral notes, spice and fennel accents. Medium bodied palate that is multi layered, streams of varietal cherry fruit leading to crunchy fresh fruits, tobacco and savoury dried herb notes, sprightly acid and fine soft tannin complete the wine.
Heathcote’s answer to Beaujolais.

Adam Foster

2014 Foster e Rocco Sangiovese

From Brunello clone sangiovese off the Greenstone Vineyard. Hand picked, de-stemmed, wild fermented, hangs out in old French oak.
Has the Australian affectation of ripeness and sweet fruit, but there’s an elegance in this wine, a fruitiness, bright and spicy. That being said, there’s scents of wood spice, clove, aniseed and new leather, and terracotta tannins creep with stealth through the wine – plenty going on. You’d double take and think junior Brunello, but that’s not the point. It’s great drinking, sophsticted for the bucks.
Mike Bennie, WineFront, 93 points


2012 Foster e Rocco Riserva

Only 75 dozen made of this wine. Brunello clone Sangiovese planted in the Greenstone Vineyard. Always released with five years of age, though it has only been released twice (2009 was the other wine so far). Stellar wine by Adam Foster and Lincoln Riley.
Serious feeling wine of savouriness, sinewy texture, structure and impact from the get go. Dusty, earthy scents over brambles and dried black berries, loads of perfume, edging into secondary character in a charcuterie and brick dust kind of way. Lean and mouthwatering in the palate, acidity is superb, tinged with amaro-herbal character, bloody almost, with red dried fruits second fiddle. Leather developing. Those tannins. Medium weight and compact. All up: Wow.
Mike Bennie, WineFront, 94 points

These wines are available now at our special offer prices for the next 7 days only. To place your order return the attached form, by email, by fax on 03 9419 6970 or by or calling us on 03 9419 6990.

MW Wines 125 Cambridge Street, Collingwood, VIC 3066
T +61 3 9419 6990 F +61 3 9419 6970

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