The Old Vine Barossa shiraz is one of the most important wines in the Kaesler stable – and for good reason. It’s our datum wine, our very first production and is sourced from some of the finest vines in our Kaesler pantheon.
The soil in Nuriootpa and in particular to the Old Vine parcel is loam (rich sand and silt) over clay, with the vines being a mix of 64 and 44 years old. This produces a deliciously (we think) silky and elegant wine. Different in texture and far less bolshy than its rambunctious brothers – Old Bastard and The Bogan, our Old Vine produces a Barossa Shiraz with a length and breadth of purity that stands out from its neighbours.
“It’s amazing the differences between Old Bastard and Old Vine,” says Reid Bosward, chief winemaker (and chief Bogan) at Kaesler.
“Old Vine is actually cuttings from Old Bastard – planted in 1961. It’s almost on identical soil, and those two vineyards live right next to each other. We make two single origin wines from those vineyards but if you taste them they are really very different. Extremely different.”
The Tasting Notes
This might sound like wine wankery – but it’s really not. The aromatic and bitter coffee notes of Old Bastard give way to a softer and subtler flavour profile in Old Vine, thanks to that streak of purity. In this case, strange as it may seem by proximity and parentage, the sins of the father haven’t exactly passed onto the son. Biblically speaking.
“They may be cuttings from the Old Bastard, but the difference you are tasting is a vineyard planted in 1893 and a vineyard planted in 1961,” confirms Reid.
“You don’t have to be a winemaker or a fancy wine critic to see it, or taste it, everyone can see it (the difference). One’s more elegant, one’s a bit more ballsy. In a nutshell.”
So if you have tried the full powered body of the Old Bastard and want to try a subtler, more refined variation, Old Vine might just be the wine you are looking for.
There’s more to the story of Old Vine than parentage, however.
“It’s really fascinating. You’re talking about a vineyard that was planted in 1893 and that’s remarkable – but it’s actually cuttings that were taken from another vineyard in the area – I suspect it was probably Langmeil’s Freedom Vineyard. What’s important is these cuttings were taken pre-European phylloxera. So this is actually genetic material that exists in Australia that doesn’t even exist in Europe anymore – theoretically.” says Reid.
“So I always get distressed – and it’s very hard to distress me – but I always get a little distressed when we are referred to as the New World. We’ve got soils that are hundreds of millions of years old and most European soils are 40–50,000 years old. We’ve got genetic material that is far older than anything in Europe. In fact, now they are coming to take this genetic material back to Europe.”
The alchemical magic of soil, genetics and environmental health has resulted in a wine that is the pride and joy of Reid and the Kaesler Estate.
Why its bloody unreal
“For us, it is one of the most important wines we make. It’s not the most expensive and it’s not the most famous but it was the beginning. It’s something that runs through our business that is far more important than Bogan or Alte Reben or Old Bastard because it was the first one we made. It’s got the longest heritage, the longest history. It is the most important measure of who we are and what we do. I love it. ” says Reid.
If you can resist the brooding charms of the crimson red colour, blackberries, plums and delicate touch of pine, Old Vine is brilliant to cellar and allow to develop. With age, the lingering tannins and subtle oak deepen the palate profile. If needs must, crack open and decant and tuck in with roast lamb and all the trimmings.
If one glass (inevitably) turns into a bottle, you can book to stay at one of cottages and walk any after effects off the next day with a vineyard tour. So jump on the freeway and head to the Barossa. Old Vine will be waiting.