(2020) Fruit for this wine comes from just 820 "gnarly, very old bush vines," planted in 1889. Winemaker Kevin Glastonbury says that despite now being more than 130 years old, the vines continue to produce small quantities of exceptional grapes. The vineyard has deep sandy soils with red clay layers and the vines draw moisture from the underlying clay. Wild yeast starts the fermentation process and the wine spends fully 41 days on the skins. There must be minimal extraction used however, as it has such a pale and transparent colour, and such a gentle nose, walnut and coffee cake, autumnal dry leaves and soft red berry fruit. It is very charming. In the mouth that cranberry and redcurrant fruit continues, but it is really quite delicate with lacey tannins and gently insistent acidity, giving this lots of elegance and prettiness, but with a freshness and little hint of biting austerity too. Lovely. Kevin describes it as 'still a baby', with the ability to age for several years. Price and stockist at time of review is for the previous vintage.
(2020) Ben Schild started his family farm in the Barossa Valley in 1952, and the current generation in charge of this family estate dedicate this wine to his memory. Coming from one dedicated parcel of the Angus Brae single vineyard, it spends 18 months in a blend of American, French and Hungarian oak barrels, and Schild estimate a 10-year drinking window for the wine. It's a big-scaled, unapolagetically Barossa style, packed with fruit and spice, the nose, a deep pool of mulberry and blackcurant, touched by coffee and woodsmoke. Great fruit sweetness as it strikes the palate, a luscious, full-flavoured wine, a little balsamic note and meat-stock richness, but then the spice and the freshness of the acidity kicks in, very creamy and fine tannins, and a long, tapering finish.
(2017) 54% Mourvedre with Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache and Shiraz. Big spicy nose, plenty of lift and charcoal, sweet fat currants and blackberry. Loads of lift. The palate has so much sweet fruit, curranty and intense, but lively freshness again, with plenty of juiciness and spice.
(2017) A more leathery character, cedar and graphite and a solidly plummy fruit. A more concentrated style with spices and fleshiness. The palate has a surging sweetness, with chocolate, cigar smoke and cream, silky tannins and juicy cherry skin bittersweet acidity.
(2017) A similar leather and cedar nose. Subtle violet notes, real dark blue-black fruit touching on damson-skin and blueberry, but still that little floral lift. There's a brighter fruit and acid character compared to the Ernest Allan, fresh, still with a touch of cocoa and sweet ripeness, but a little more energy.
(2017) d'Arenberg is the largest biodynamic grower in Australia. From a nearly extinct clone, a parent of the Reynella clone. Very low yields. Foot-trodden. Very fragrant with a touch of leafiness and really tight, fresh black fruit, lovely tobacco and a deeper cocoa and mulberry plushness. Great balance, plenty of tannin but tight and fine into a long finish. Note price and stockist quoted at time of review are for the 2011 vintage.
(2017) Made in an Amarone style, from 45-year-old vines, the grapes dried for 6 to 7 weeks. Smoky, tight, blue-black fruit with an intensity and a touch of prune, but absolutely not stewed, it's the ripe juiciness that comes through. Tight and black into the finish.
(2017) From a vineyard that once went into Grange. Hugely lifted nose, so dusty. Such an intense liquorice and Parma violet-touched character, very pure. Gorgeous sweet fruit, a touch of chocolate and creaminess of high quality French oak. Delicious and very long, smooth and balanced for ageing.
(2017) Tight, chocolaty plush, a weight of blue/black fruit on the nose and then a flood of the same on the palate: depths of fruit but such elegance too with a balanced finish. From the organic and biodynamic Warboys Vineyard planted in 1948.
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