Winemaker Abel Gibson grew up in the Barossa, where his father, Rob Gibson, was senior viticulturist and winemaker at Penfolds for many years. Even though his childhood was spent running through cellars and riding in the grower's trucks, it took him a while to decide his calling was in wine. The style of big-business wine he saw at Penfolds never really appealed to him, and it took a few years of travelling and a stint at Barossa’s Rockford Wines with Robert O'Callaghan to change his mind. A couple jobs at different wineries followed until Abel started making his own wines under the Ruggabellus (or “rugged beauty”) label. With a focus on Grenache, Syrah and Mataró sourced from various grape growers around the Barossa, Abel uses a high-proportion of stems to ensure some nervous tension, and carbonic maceration to maximize aromatics. He ages the resulting wine in older, neutral oak. There is minimal handling throughout, and sulphur is added in minute amounts. What makes Abel’s wines so compelling is the distinct combination of respect for Barossan history and tradition, and the desire to produce what he believes is a more genuine reflection of the terroir. These wines are fresh, lifted, and expressive, yet still distinctly Barossan.