Monday, May 23, 2011

Turkey Flat Single Vineyard Shiraz

Christie & Peter Schulz of Turkey Flat in Barossa Valley, have named the three single vineyard wines from 2008 after their three sons, William, Alexander & Oliver. These wines, like their three sons, come from the same parents and have all enjoyed the same care and attention throughout their lives, yet they are all quite different and magnificent in their own right.

They have selected the best barrel from each of three Shiraz vineyards. Each located in different geological locatons within the Barossa Valley and demonstrate the wonder and diversity of nature that makes up Barossa’s ‘terrior’. There are noticeable differences between their soil types, climate, rainfall patterns and local native ecosystems. It is great to see these wines individually, in that they show the diversity of styles of Shiraz across the valley.

2008 “The Conqueror” Shiraz (Stonewell)
Earthy aromas, with spicy oak, cocoa powder, and sweet cedar. Palate is full bodied, big grippy tannin, good acid, intense fruit with dark plums and red cherry, balanced with noticeable oak. Good long length. Packed full of fruit. Needs time to come together and also to soften out. Be interested in looking at it in 10yrs. A typical ‘Barossa Shiraz’.

2008 “TheGreat” Shiraz (Bethany)
Shiraz vines are planted in 1847, just beside the winery. Delightful aromas of violets, and a soft floral/earthy character, lighter fruit intensity. Mouthfeel is soft, with powdery supple tannins, moderate acid, nice long length of flavour, greater fruit intensity on the palate, but still medium bodied for a Barossa Shiraz. Ripe dark berry, sweet spices, and bitter chocolate to finish. More restrained style of shiraz, but a typical Turkey Flat style. Will develop even greater complexity over time, but probably the most approachable of the three.

2008 “The Twist" Shiraz (Koonunga)
Aromas of both dark and light red fruit, spice, star anise/all-spice, a little floral in the background, good intensity of aroma. 100% new oak but not oak dominant, as they have used water-bent French hogshead barrels. Palate has good grippy tannins but still with a soft powdery texture. Good fruit intensity, balanced with noticeable acid. Medium to full bodied, with delightful sweet spice, and cinnamon finish.

150 packs (1 bottle of each single vineyard wine in 3 pack), will be released on 1 July 2011. Available from Turkey Flat Cellar Door.

Samples provided by producer.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Friday, May 6, 2011

South Australia Vintage 2011 (Pt 2)

Ask any winemaker what the best vintage is and they usually reply the one that they are currently selling. However, this past vintage in South Australia is even being described ‘challenging’ by some winemakers.

During our private tours we are meeting with winemakers, walking through vineyards and wineries. So we get to see first hand what is happening across the various premium wine regions of South Australia. With almost all fruit being picked and just finishing their ferments in the winery, it’s a good time to look at the three-quarter time score.

As previously mentioned in mid February grapegrowers were hit by bad weather just as the majority of harvesting was getting underway. The Clare Valley wine region has been among the worst affected, with heavy rainfall. In 7 days Clare received 60mm, and 65mm in Barossa.

In chats with various people we have heard many winemakers/vineyard managers in Clare and Barossa not picking whole vineyards due to a range of issues – mainly botrytis, downy or powdery mildew. Some in Adelaide Hills who would normally hand pick 2-3 tonnes per acre, have been ‘lucky’ to get 150kg of good (non-diseased) fruit. This has reinforced the importance of hand harvesting in vineyards, or sorting in wineries to exclude any damaged parcels of fruit. The image alongside show Grenache fruit in Barossa dropped on the ground due to botrytis infection.

The exception to this has been McLaren Vale – just to the south of Adelaide city. While the vintage started much later than previous years, the region didn’t have the significant rain events as other regions. A last-minute decision to pick as much shiraz as possible from March 20 - following 10mm of rain the previous day - saved much of the grapes from disease. The fruit had sufficiently ripened by the long cooler season, and to have left it any longer would have been too great a risk. Cabernet, Shiraz, Grenache and white varieties have shone through as highlights of McLaren Vale.

Overall, due to the long cool season with mild days and very cool nights, expect more restrained styles of wines. Also probably expect more discreet use of oak not to overpower the fruit that is present. With careful triaging of fruit, either in the vineyard or winery, there has been some great material coming in – just not much of it.