Monday, June 16, 2008

Veritas Winery

Veritas Winery
Veritas Winery
PO Box 126Tanunda SA 5352
Ph: 08 8562 3300
White wine Christa Rolf Barossa Valley Semillon 2007 Christa is one of a number of wine makers who are redefining how Barossa semillon is made. It was not long ago that, as the harvest progressed, the semillon would arrive at the winery door and the wine makers would say; ‘What do we do with this bloody stuff?’ Would you believe Penfolds once used it to make sparkling wine?
Now the approach is, as described by Christa; ‘bring out the lemon fruit character, make it balanced with no hollows, make the aroma lift, give it length and use a hint of oak’. Barossa semillon is now a fantastic drink and we urge you to try it.
Fohrer and Abel Eminence Barossa Valley 2004Still drinking well but is showing deeper colours and riper tastes. A blend of semillon, sauvignon blanc, chenin blanc and chardonnay.
Gewurztraminer 2007 From our Magpie Estate range, this estate-grown Gewurztraminer shows lovely fresh aromas of floral, lychee and orange blossom. Slightly off-dry, the fresh fruity nose is balanced by a crisp acidic palate and rounded soft finish. A light, crisp wine to be enjoyed on any occasion.
Rolf Binder 'Highness' Eden Valley Riesling 2006 This year we opted for a riesling that is 100% from the Eden Valley. This continues a general industry trend to move away from the Barossa Valley for grapes that make delicate white styles. The wines from the Eden and Clare valleys are simply better. Temperatures drop much more during the evening which is good for white wine quality and, coupled with a generally lower temperature, the picking time is several weeks later than the valley. For the first time we secured grapes from a lovely block owned by Michael Hearnden. The Hearndens are well known grape growers and their fruit is much sought after. This block lies a few kilometres to the east of the town of Eden Valley. There are various riesling plantings of different ages and Christa was able to nominate which rows of vines she wanted. As it happens, her selection all came from vines planted in 1970. This makes the majority of the blend. Nearby is the very old Kroehn vineyard where the vines are at least 50 years old, and some say 80 years old. We have taken fruit from this vineyard for many years. So a portion of these fabulous grapes were also selected for the final blend. Otherwise, the secret to making great riesling is to get the grapes into the winery very soon after picking and then pressing very gently. If you squeeze a tonne of grapes very hard you extract over 700 litres but you also get a lot of hard elements. The extraction for the riesling was well under 600 litres per tonne. The result is an elegant, fragrant wine with a lovely steely tightness and a gentle and lengthy finish. Not a touch of hardness on the tail of the back palate.
Rolf Binder Wines 'Halation' Ratafia 2004 (375ml) Pale to mid-golden yellow; nutty fresh aroma, attractive and different showing a pungent herbal to sherry like with even dry white vermouth aromas with hints of fortifying spirit;
attractive to very sweet palate, complex, with unusual dried fruit to fruitcake characters with dried apricots being the most predominant and lifted with wisps of intriguing aldehydic sherry like characters.
Rolf Binder Wines Barossa Valley Chardonnay 2006Pale lemon yellow colour; inviting, vibrant fresh aroma of citrus with grapefruit being dominant with barely a hint of oak. Delicate vital and attractiveshowing real weight and power.
Builds beautifully in the mouth with layers of creamy fruit mixing with citrus to white peach flavours and finishes with persistent and prolonged acid fruit flavours.
Veritas R.H.B. Selection Barossa Valley Tramino Frizzante 2007A fresh lively wine loaded with fruit and spice, the hints of apples and raisins come from the lateness in the season when the fruit was picked. A wine to be enjoyed chilled in the summer with friends.
Also ideally suited to more spicy cuisines and whenever a touch more fruit is required.
Red wine
Christa Rolf Barossa Valley Shiraz Grenache 2005 A blend of 60% shiraz and 40% grenache which is about the ratio we are happy with. The grapes came in from our own vineyards and selected growers over a five week period.
The first shiraz came in from our Stephanie vineyard on 22nd March, then from our good friends the Hearndens who picked and delivered on the 26th March. Followed then by shiraz from Hanisch on the 31st March, our Heysen vineyard on the 2nd of April and then wonderful and very slow ripening shiraz from the Kalleske vineyards over at Greenoch that arrived on the 15th April. Grenache is always later and we took delivery from Kalleske on the 16th April, the Sheer family grapes arrived on the 25th and from our Western Ridge vineyard, at Gomersal, on the 28th of April. Oak follows with about 10% new while the rest of the wine sees older shaven oak.
Fohrer and Abel Reverence Barossa Valley 2003 The Barossa taste for well under ten was the idea of this wine. A blend of shiraz, cabernet and the delightful floral and sensory appeal that grenache brings to any blend.
Magpie Estate 'The Election' Barossa Valley Shiraz 2005 This is the forth release of our super premium Barossa Shiraz. The Election is only made in the best years unlike many so-called "super-premiums" or "reserve styles", and hence we declassified in 2003.
The selection process for the Election begins with our best vineyards and continues in the winery with rigorous barrel tasting to ensure that only the finest lots of the vintage make the final blend. This wine displays a deep colour with a powerful nose. Damson, black cherry, cassis, meat and spice with lots of toasty oak. On the palate this powerful Barossa Shiraz has great texture with meat, black cherry, spice, black pepper, mocha and vanillan oak. Dense and powerful it retains good acidity that adds freshness to the wine. It’s big and opulent but not overpowering. Vote Magpie Estate!
Only 240 cases were produced for worldwide distribution. Ageing potential - like all Magpie Estate wines this can be drunk young, but, to really enjoy it at its best, drink from 2008 and will cellar happily for 10+ years.
Magpie Estate 'The Fakir' Grenache 2005Long the forgotten grape of the Barossa, grenache is now part of the great revival. It is though a difficult grape to get right. The crop must be kept low, to the point that it becomes uneconomic for the grape farmer.
Thus the cheaper grenache based wines, off higher crop yields, take on a pleasant ‘lolly’ like taste that rapidly gets boring. The Fakir is a most serious attempt to push the variety to its taste limit. At its best this variety dances across the palate and is a perfect luncheon red. Remember though that it packs a powerful wallop.
Magpie Estate 'The Malcolm' Barossa Valley Shiraz 2005 My partner in Magpie Estate, the English wine merchant Noel Young, asked me in 1993 to make a Barossa shiraz that pushed the variety and style to the absolute limit. I did just that and made two barrels of 1994 which was aged in new oak.
The wine was made in 1995 and 1996. It was not made in 1997 because of the poor vintage, while 1998 went too far by any definition of pushing the boundaries. The last vintage was in 1999.
I had sourced grapes from a special vineyard and I lost this source. You may recall that the 1996 caused a sensation and was awarded 99 Parker points. After much searching for the right low yielding vines the Malcolm returns.
It was double oaked, meaning it spent a year in new American puncheons followed by a year in new French. The result is amazing.
Magpie Estate 'The Sack' Barossa Valley Shiraz 2005 The defining variety of the Barossa Valley is of course shiraz. My partner in Magpie Estate is Noel Young an English wine merchant, who is a great fan of Rhone wines. He asked me to make a great Barossa shiraz that shows terroir and texture but is still bold in the Barossa style. The first release was the 2001.
Noel likes to be part of the blending process so he comes out once or twice a year to put his finger in the pie, so to speak.
In 2004 Noel was voted ‘Wine Merchant of the Year’ by the industry as selected in ‘Wine’ the U.K. consumer magazine. Noel wanted an Australian image on the label and selected the magpie.
This Magpie then is a blend of old vine shiraz from many sources, and to complement the palate, includes 3% grenache, generally from the same grenache batch that makes Magpie Estate Fakir.
Magpie Estate 'The Schnell' Shiraz Grenache 2005 The 2005 is a blend of 56% Shiraz and 44% Grenache, coming from 8 growers. Quite a forward style of wine for drinking over the next 3-5 years.My partner in these Magpie wines, Noel Young, calls it "delicious" and who am I to disagree?
Magpie Estate 'The Thief' Mourvedre Grenache Rose 2006 Australia needs a luncheon red to consume on warm days when a dense, impenetrable big red does not seem appropriate. The Beaujolais idea turned into the light dry red and while it looked promising has faded away. Grenache and grenache based wines I think are the answer.
Not perhaps wines like the Gomersal grenache I discussed in the last newsletter as they are very serious wines, but more fragrant styles and blends. Wines like this appear much lighter on the palate but actually pack a fairly serious punch as ‘The Thief’ does at 14.5% alcohol. I combined the free run juice that flowed off the old vine mourvèdre (mataro) and which goes on to make Bulls Blood with some old vine grenache treated in the same way. So it sits on the lighter side of the red colour spectrum but packs an amazing flavour.
Rolf Binder 'Hanisch' Barossa Valley Shiraz 2005 This is my flagship wine and, because of that, you do live in fear at what the critics will say each vintage. This is of course a style much appreciated by wealthy American connoisseurs, and a wave of the magic wand of Parker is very important to maintain the status of a wine such as Hanisch. Thank goodness we made the grade again with a very high score.
Probably most of you know by now that the wine comes from grapes harvested from the same six vine rows each year. This makes the wine rare and exclusive with under 400 dozen being made each vintage. Again, we have held our price for Australian customers and are most grateful for your support.
As with recent vintages I have asked the wine merchant David Farmer to write the tasting note, not that mine are not good, but it is just possible I may show a bias; "Deep cherry black colour but the hue is a bit softer than the 2004; as with many of the 05’s shows a fragrance and a delicate perfumed character that you do not see in the bolder style of the 04’s, enchanting aroma; at once floral wreath and then a sudden switch to the Barossa boldness of ripe but serious fruit weight, possibly mealy, certainly nutty and full of hallmark deep, rich serious fruit; no need to spit this wine with its power and great length and with its ever changing spectrum of flavours causes the palate to be delighted again and again. For my money not quite as powerful as the 2004 but other commentators see differently and I recall Harvey Steiman of the Wine Spectator finding it the better of the two vintages." Score 19/20
Rolf Binder 'Heinrich' Shiraz Grenache Mataro 2005 The Heinrich is of course named after Rolf Heinrich Binder, my father and founder of the family winery. I created this wine because of his love of the combination of shiraz, mataro and grenache.
Heinrich is an estate wine with the shiraz coming from the Stephanie vineyard, the mataro from the Chri'ro vineyard planted in 1972 both of which adjoin the winery and the grenache from the Western Ridge vineyard at Gomersal and planted in the early 1950's.
A bottle I recently consumed with guests led to this tasting note; ‘Brilliant crimson colour, very bright, almost glowing and pales a little at the rim; pure, fragrant aroma at times floral and violets come to mind but also showing warm climate richness and ripeness; the palate is much more delicate than that of shiraz and builds gradually in the mouth and finishes with satisfying, delicious fruit and fine tannins.’
Veritas 'Bull's Blood' Shiraz Mataro Pressings 2005 Our history with this wine goes back some 25 years. My father started the blend and with his Hungarian ancestry called it Bull'ss Blood. I have tinkered with the style over the years and am now comfortable with a blend of 70% shiraz and 30% mataro (mouvedre).
Veritas owns a magnificent old block of mataro just behind the winery which is probably over 100 years old. All the mataro is sourced off this block and this places a cap on what can be made each vintage. It varies with crop levels to between 500-600 cases. The source of the shiraz is our vineyard called the Western Ridge and this provides about 70% of the total. This shiraz is full bodied and is matured in new and old shaven oak. The mataro is the tricky grape. It is easy to swamp the flavours which are surprisingly delicate so old shaven French oak is used. Each year a few barrels of shiraz do not measure up to the standard of our flagship wines, the Hanisch and Heysen, and they are also added to the final blend. As for picking times, the shiraz from Western Ridge arrived on the 26th March while the mataro was harvested on the 22nd of April.
The tasting note reads; Dense purple black colour; rich, complex aroma, strongly perfumed with a mix of black cherries to fruit cake; weighty palate, lush initially but tightens its grip slowly and finishes with spicy tannic grip.
Veritas 'Cellar Door' Barossa Valley Cabernet 2005 Ah this is how cabernet should be-what a great drink! It’s taking a little while for people to see it but I remain convinced cabernet will with time rival the Barossa favourite shiraz. Deeply coloured and richly flavoured this is also a very textural wine with its ripe tannins plus it is well balanced. All from estate grown fruit.
Veritas 'Cellar Door' Barossa Valley Shiraz Viognier 2005 The addition of white grapes in small quantities to a red blend is as old as wine making. In some regions such as Chianti is has been made an official part of the blend. It has a long history in the Barossa as Peter Lehmann added muscadelle to shiraz back in the 1960’s.
Currently there are a number of shiraz-viognier blends in the market and many are very good indeed.
I am not sure who planted the first viognier in Australia though it has been championed by Yalumba who began to see its potential in the 1980’s. It is natural to then add this appealing variety from the Northern Rhone to the red variety of the Rhone, the shiraz.
We planted a few rows of viognier some years ago and I have been playing around with the impact it has on shiraz for a few years. This is the first I have released and we are trialling it at the cellar door.
The viognier does give the wine an agreeable fragrant lift and the end result is most appealing.
Veritas 'Clement' Barossa Valley Mataro Grenache 2005 I have played with this blend of mataro and grenache over many decades and hold the view that the future of the Barossa will hinge on broadening the appeal of these two magical varieties.
From 1993 to 1999 I released a Veritas Mataro Grenache blend, some of which are drinking beautifully now. I believe they were ahead of their time so I deferred making any more. I also made a Veritas “Clement” over the three vintages 1997, 1998 and 1999. It was named to pay homage to the great Rhone wines of Chateauneuf-du-Pape and also have a bit of cheeky fun. Pope Clement V moved the papacy to Avignon in 1309. He had lived in Bordeaux, was made Pope in Lyon and was said to enjoy Burgundy. He and subsequent Popes did much to improve viticulture along the Rhone and North at Chateauneuf.
With the market now being much more sophisticated it is time to make this blend again. The source of the mourvedre is the old 100 year plus vines behind the winery and grenache planted in 1957 from my Western Ridge vineyard. This time I am confident that experienced consumers of Barossa wines will see this as the true Barossa style

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