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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.
The Schiller Shiraz is a wine rich in both flavour and history. The 400 Shiraz vines planted by Carl August Otto Schiller in 1881 are something to be treasured. Earmarked for bulldozers in 2006, a last-minute reprieve would see these Ancestor vines remain in the ground. The grapes are hand-picked from the sixth generation Schiller Family vineyard at Hallett Valley in the Barossa. Jason first made this wine in 2008, and since then it has been his flagship wine. As you cradle a glass of this Shiraz, cast a thought to the generations of pruners and grape pickers that have trodden these rows over the last 141 years and raise a toast in their honour.
This Shiraz, from 400 vines planted in 1881 is Barossa history in a bottle. Hand-picked from the vineyard still managed by the sixth generation of the Schiller family, only 1,046 bottles have been produced.
A single vineyard wine, the 400 Schiller vines were handpicked on 5 March 2019 and only produced 1015kg of fruit after severe drought. The fruit went into the cool room overnight and was fully destemmed and rotated into a fermenter, lid on and cold macerated until fermentation naturally started six days later.
Soft pump overs occurred for the next ten days until they were at their peak for pressing 30 days after the fruit was picked. The wine went through malolactic fermentation in a VC tank before being transferred to a new French oak hogshead and a seasoned French oak puncheon. The wine stayed in wood with no racking before being blended on 28December 2020 and bottled 19 February 2021 No fining or filtration, Vegan friendly.
The 2019 Schiller Shiraz is a delicious wine, albeit one that should be destined for the cellar. Salted licorice, kirsch, blood plum, and vanilla are present now, but the nose is withholding its true aromatic potential for the moment. There is a wonderful feeling of pent-up energy, the palate is firm, layered, textured, and extremely long. We can’t wait to taste this in 5+ years.
Will continue to improve with careful cellaring for 10-15 years.
Don’t just take our word for it…
95 Points – 2023 Halliday Wine Companion (Reviewed by Dave Brookes)