Jason Schwarz writes, “The Schiller Shiraz, which I first made in 2008 is a wine rich in both flavour and history. The grapes are hand-picked from the sixth generation Schiller Family vineyard at Hallett Valley in the Barossa. After a last-minute reprieve from the bulldozers, the 400 Shiraz vines planted by Carl August Otto Schiller in 1881 are something to be treasured.
As you cradle a glass of this Shiraz, cast a thought to the generations of pruners and pickers that have trod these rows over the last 137 years and raise a toast in their honour.”
Winemaking: 2.2 tonnes were picked on 5 March 2016 and cold soaked for 5 days. Wild yeast started ferment on 9 March and the wine was hand plunged and pumped over twice a day. At 1 baumé, a new French hogshead barrel was filled and allowed to finish ferment. The remaining wine was left on skins for a total of 30 days then basket pressed with the pressings kept separate and put into a new French puncheon, with the remainder of the wine going into used French hogsheads. The wine was blended on 3 November before bottling on 13 December 2017.
Tasting note: An intensely dark coloured Shiraz with a complex array of aromatics – black cherry and dark plum, star anise and cinnamon framed around well managed French oak. The palate is incredibly soft and unctuous allowing persistent delivery of dark fruit and bakery inspired flavours.
James Halliday’s Review: The economical name is appropriate for a business that started with 1 tonne of grapes making two hogsheads of wine in 2001. Shiraz was purchased from Jason Schwarz’s parents’ vineyard in Bethany, the vines planted in 1968; the following year half a tonne of grenache was added, once again purchased from the parents. In ’05, grape sale agreements with another (larger) winery were terminated, freeing up 1.8ha of shiraz and 0.8ha of grenache. From this point on things moved more quickly: in ’06 Jason formed a partnership (Biscay Road Vintners) with Peter Schell of Spinifex, giving them total control over production. Jason Schwarz’s wines taste of the vineyards where the grapes are grown. And he’s got a good eye for finding great vineyards… both Jason’s father and his grandfather were state pruning champions, he grew up among the vines on the family property at Bethany and he’s worked alongside some of the Barossa’s best-known grape growers and winemakers. A shed-load of experience has taught him that once you find great fruit you look after it with a light touch. “I like the fruit to speak for itself,” Jason says.