In the 1860's a young man from Germany came to the unknown; he came to Australia. Landing in the new seaport of Sydney (which had functioned as a port for the Aboriginal people for 30,000 years) Carl Brecht was determined to set his own future, and followed a little known road to the outer edges of the Hunter Valley. There, at the junction of the Wybong Creek and the Goulburn River he planted his vineyard and settled the savage land.
Fast-forward 100 years and another entrepreneur comes along in the Australian world of wine. In 1968, a visionary by the name of Bob Oatley purchased the long-standing vineyard of Rosemount Estate (www.RosemountEstate.com.au). Rosemount had enjoyed a lengthy position as one of the fine wine producers of Australia, but Bob wanted to take it further: he wanted to be the best. A worthy dream, but necessitating a rather huge amount of work, n'est-pas? Bob was up to the task of fulfilling his vision.
In 1975 Rosemount released their first wines; a 1974 Hunter Valley Semillion and Hermitage. They garnered a total 69 awards throughout Australia. Enough to qualify as being the best? In 1982 they took their 1980 Chardonnay and became the first Australians to ever with double-gold at the International Wine and Spirit Competition. Enough yet to feel like the best? In 1999, Rosemount became the first non-American winery to ever win winery of the year at the prestigious San Francisco International Wine Competition.
One would think that perhaps Bob would rest on his laurels.
One would be wrong.
In 2004 the 2002 Diamond Merlot wins the Merlot Trophy at the International Wine and Spirit Competition; one of the most highly recognized trophies for a varietal.
Bob Oatley has taken one property in 1966 and turned it into several properties ranging the width and breadth of the winemaking spectrum in both South Australia and New South Wales. One of the jewels in this crown would be the Balmoral Syrah produced in the McLaren Vale. Anyone who wants information on the discovery and formation of this part of South Australia, approximately 45 minutes drive north of Adelaide should read some of my earlier articles ( http://astudentofwine.blogspot.com/2011/02/penfolds-koonunga-hill-shiraz-cabernet.html ).
The winery in the McLaren in situated on three distinct areas that yield fruit of sufficient quality - the sandy loam soils near Blewitt Springs; the darker soils in McLaren Flat itself; and the red soils with underlying limestone found in the Seaview area (my thanks to www.TheWineDoctor.com ). The vines are generally between 50 and 100 years old, although sources say that there are still some patches over 100. By comparison, most vines in British Columbia are between 10 and 20 years old... the older the vines - the less they produce, but, the more concentrated the flavors. Most wineries will tear out vines before they reach 100 years old as they simply don't produce enough juice to be fiscal responsible. Bravo to the Bob Oatleys and (chief winemaker) Matt Kochs of the world~!
2002 Rosemount Estate "Balmoral" Syrah
$75 CAD ***** BUY THIS IF YOU CAN *****
vineyard: 50 to 100 year old vines (small percentage over 100 years)
maturation: 24 months, American oak
- visual: clear; fully intense violet-crimson core with slightest brick rim
- nose: clean; moderate+ to fully intense and developed bouquet of drying red berries (red and black cherries, red and black raspberries, blackberries), rich white and slightly floral pink peppercorn, soft background of drying summer flowers, light savory herbaceousness, finish reminiscent of decadently rich dark cocoa
- palate: clean; dry, moderate+ (lively and brilliantly integrated red raspberry) acids, moderate (velvet soft and slightly chalky) tannins, moderate body, moderate alcohol, moderate+ intense and developed flavors that mimick the nose perfectly; the red berries burst on the palate with dark cocoa and peppercorn dominating the mid-palate and a ridiculously long finish of the American oak light vanilla notes and soft florals. EXCELLENT balance, structure and long long long length
- conclusion: if you have cellared this properly, it is still drinking stupendously and will continue to do so for several years; enjoy this special wine present to 2015/17
- FOOD PAIRINGS: I may be a heathen for this, but the depth of this wine's expression of terroir and varietal made me think to South Australian cuisine and culture, and I came up with braised lamb shank on caramelized shallot yam pave with olive oil fried arugula... the reasons for this are long and varied, but based upon drawing similarities from the food to the wine and vice-versa
As this was my first foray into Rosemount wines, I was duly impressed. I have nothing else to say other then that I can't wait to try more from the whole winemaking team.
As always, I look forward to your questions and comments.
CINCIN~!!! SLAINTE~!!! CHEERS~!!!