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While not holding any formal qualifications in winemaking, Jason’s appetite for the subject was voracious and he was lucky to learn from some of the Barossa’s finest winemakers until finally, after some encouragement from friends he approached his father to discuss buying a small parcel of the fruit from the 2001 vintage. He agreed and Jason put together his first Nitschke Block Shiraz, making only two hogs head barrels. In 2002 Jason produced his first Thiele Road Grenache and have made both wines every vintage since. To this day Jason’s parents have supported his venture and without their encouragement and the sacrifice of some of the Barossa’s greatest Shiraz and Grenache he could not have made this dream happen.
Relationships with some of the Barossa’s finest vignerons have grown over the years and having access to some of the region’s best old-vine fruit allows Jason to take a hands-off, intuitive approach in the winery.
Jason’s minimal intervention winemaking style enables him to create small-batch wines that are not mainstream – they are new-age expressions of Barossa classics, designed to allow the fruit to speak for itself and tell a story through the glass.
“Meta: An abstraction from a well-known concept”
The fruit for this wine comes predominantly from Jason’s family’s Thiele Road Grenache vineyard in Bethany, planted in 1941. The remaining fruit was sourced from a 90-year old bush vine Grenache vineyard in the sub region of Marananga with a small portion of fruit for this vintage also coming from another vineyard in Bethany planted in 1969.
The fruit from Jason’s family’s Thiele Road vineyard was hand-picked on February 27th, 2020 and 100% whole bunch fermented. The fruit was rotated into open fermenters with dry ice and a floating lid put on and sealed. Wild yeast (naturally occurring yeast) started the fermentation process (carbonic maceration) for 11 days. Gentle foot-stomping and pump-overs continued for the next 8 days until the fruit was pressed. Once pressed it remained in tank until blending. This portion is the backbone of the wine, providing the structure and earthy, smoky characters.
The second portion of fruit from the Marananga vineyards was picked on the 12th March with 15% whole bunch fermented. Wild yeast started fermentation, with soft pump-overs and hand plunges used to extract colours and flavours from the berries. Towards the end of the ferment the fruit was foot stomped to break any unfermented berries to release sugars. Pressed after 19 days, it then remained in tank until blending. This portion gives floral characters and minerality to the final blend. This year Jason also used a small portion of fruit from another Bethany vineyard. The fruit was picked on 4th March, with 35% whole bunch used and fermented for 13 days. This wine was used in the final blend to soften some of the tannins from the other two wines. A vegan friendly wine bottled with no fining or filtration.
This year’s Meta Grenache has a little more Grenache swagger than previous years of this release. Black cherry, blueberry and lavender scents with nutmeg spice and some alluring fresh red berry edges. Plenty of sappy chomp and it’s packaged smartly with fresh acidity, but a little juicy cherry fruit and pliant tannin to finish.
Will continue to improve with careful cellaring for 5-10 years.