Category Archives: Old vine wines

Apr 04 2017

The seriously delicious Hentley Farm Clos Otto Shiraz

Posted on April 04, 2017 | By merrill@cellarit.com

In the early years of this century, Americans couldn’t seem to get enough of Australia’s top wines, especially the full-bodied and sometimes ridiculously rich shiraz from the Barossa and beyond.

But a spiralling Aussie dollar, changing tastes and some serious competition from both the New and Old Worlds led to an almost sudden collapse in fortune for the Australian wine export market.

As The Wine Advocate’s Lisa Perrotti-Brown highlights in a recent report, today the South Australian wineries which have continued to make a mark by actively selling internationally “largely fall into one of three categories: 1) those coming from well-established 30+ year-old wineries that, like their ancient vines, have the quality foundations to weather the vagaries of difficult times (think Henschke, Yalumba, Jim Barry, Elderton, etc.); 2) the 10- to 30-year-old wineries that survived the storm by being not just a cut above the rest, but several cuts above the rest (e.g. Torbreck, John Duval, Glaetzer, and Hentley Farm); and 3) a precious few newcomers that have managed to get overseas representation, because they are seriously impressive (e.g. Powell & Son and Sons of Eden).” (South Australia Part 1 – Slow Burn by Lisa Perrotti-Brown, The Wine Advocate 30 June 2016)

Certainly, no-one can deny the pedigree and staying power of The Hentley Farm Clos Otto Shiraz. Made with vines planted by previous owner Otto Kasper using a cutting from an ageing and “secret” shiraz clone, and tended to “with almost antique machinery and a well-practiced hand”, the Clos Otto vineyard (purchased by Hentley Farm in 2004) consistently yields super low quantities with ultra rich flavours. Yet its ability to combine richness and intensity with complexity and elegance has earned it a very loyal following and a serious price tag.

Here’s Perrotti-Brown’s 96+ review of the 2013 … Read the rest

Apr 04 2017

South Africa: Old vine stock discoveries make the Cape Wine Lands one of most exciting places on the planet to make wine

Posted on April 04, 2017 | By merrill@cellarit.com

Viticulturist Rosa Kruger has played a leading role in revitalising South Africa’s wine industry. According to the Wine Advocate’s Neal Martin:

She is to South Africa what Mme Loubat was to Pomerol. Just as the former grande dame of Petrus presciently understood the value of her wine when others dismissed it, so Rosa has awakened South Africa to the value of its vineyard heritage and proselytised a higher level of viticulture amongst its farmers, if not by their owners, then by contracted winemakers. As I have written previously, one cannot understate her importance in revolutionising the South African wine scene, changing winemakers’ mindsets as much as their actual wines. (South Africa: Cape Fearless by Neal Martin, Robert Parker Wine Advocate 30 November 2015)

Thanks to the pioneering efforts of Kruger and others who have discovered and cultivated previously neglected old vine stock, South Africa is now one of the most exciting places on the planet to make wine!

The country’s new regard for old vines reminds me of the mid 1980s in South Australia when legendary Rockford winemaker Robert O’Callaghan paid his growers more than twice the going rate for their old vine fruit, which almost looked like an act of defiance as around the same time the South Australian Government was offering growers financial incentives to pull out old vines!

His efforts and those of other foresighted winemakers gave birth to some of Australia’s most renowned old vine wines, including the Rockford Basket Press Shiraz,  Torbreck RunRigHenschke Hill of Grace, Wendouree Shiraz, Chris Ringland Shiraz, Clarendon Hill AstralisD’Arengberg The Dead Arm and Yalumba The Octavius Barossa Old Vine Shiraz.

In South Africa, Kruger lives in the small town of Riebeek-Kasteel in Swartland, a warm inland region of the Cape wine … Read the rest