If you’ve visited us in Cellar Door, you’ll know that we don’t present our guests with traditional tasting notes. We prefer to let you form your own opinions of our wines, but we do love to tell their stories. Read on!
A single-varietal star
It's quite rare to find a straight Mataro in the Barossa (but we’re happy to share our favourite tips with you…. ask away the next time you’re in Cellar Door), so it's lovely to see the very strong positive response to this wine.
Mataro is an incredibly versatile grape, and for many years it formed the backbone of fortified winemaking across Australia. It's been planted in the Barossa for a long time, and in fact, the world's oldest producing Mataro vineyard is here in the Barossa - a few minute's drive from Krondorf Creek Farm, in Rowland Flat. It was planted by Johann Friedrich Koch in 1853 and today there are eight precious rows, still being tended by the seventh generation of Johann's direct descendants. What amazing, living heritage.
Here at Krondorf Creek Farm James planted our Mataro vineyard in a bushvine formation, and it's the first vineyard that greets you as you drive up to Cellar Door. You'll notice the bushy vines, low to the ground and pruned into an open goblet shape. Mataro loves the warmth (luckily) and this formation helps bring the fruit to even ripeness and fullness of flavour - crucial for producing our medium-bodied but fruit forward style.
Our Mataro is beautifully fresh and lifted. It's moorish and mouth watering, with ripe, generous fruit with a great acid balance, and it will shine like a star next to a platter of mettwurst and laschinken with some soft cheese and an olive or twelve.
The ‘Barossa Blend’
There's a reason that Grenache, Mataro and Shiraz blended together are often referred to as "the Barossa Blend" - you'll see a version of this wine in so many Cellar Doors across the Barossa, proudly showing off these foundational Barossa grape varieties.
More typically seen as a "GSM" (as an aside, the order of the varieties tells you their respective percentages in the wine - so a "GSM" is predominantly Grenache, then Shiraz and with the smallest component being Mataro) in 2017 we've produced a blend that showcases the medium-bodied wonders of Grenache and Mataro, with elegant length and lifted fruit supplied by a small component of Shiraz.
The great, initial delight of this wine is the beautiful floral nose - it's gorgeous. Glossy, cherry red in colour and with luscious berry fruit, it's a very, very pretty wine indeed and is quickly establishing itself as a firm favourite in the weekly "looks like we'll need to finish this bottle up over dinner" stakes.
The sentimental favourite
One of the great benefits of having your own small wine business is that you can make decisions that benefit your customers and serves your own philosophies rather than a broader corporate framework.
This wine is a great example of that - this is a new blend for Krondorf Creek Farm; we'd never made a Cabernet-Shiraz before but we (well, Jess in particular) really wanted to produce a version of this classic Australian red - a blend that really ignited my love of this wine style. It's soft, rich and generous; fruit driven and with a lovely long length, and it harks back to the iconic claret styles of the post-WWII era that produced wines inspired by Bordeaux but oh so very Australian.
Our 60% Cabernet and 40% Shiraz blend creates the best of both worlds - satisfying richness on the mid-palate, coupled with depth and length and sweet, spicy red fruit. There's a good reason that Cabernet Shiraz blends uniquely and proudly claim to be The Great Australian Red, and we're very proud to offer our 2017 Cabernet Shiraz as an example of the style.
A winemaker’s bellwether
There was a time just before the 2012 Vintage when James and I sat down in Cellar Door (which at that stage still had a dirt floor and half a roof) with a bottle of Pinot (yep!) and had a serious discussion about whether we were going to make enough wine this year to actually put some away, with a view to one day opening the Cellar Door and establishing Krondorf Creek Farm as a genuine concern rather than a hobby.
Part of that discussion was around risk. "What's the worst that can happen?" we asked ourselves. The honest answer to that (people come to Cellar Door, and don't like the wines....) would mean that at the end of the day, we had a well stocked Cellar full of wine that we genuinely loved to drink and frankly, that was an outcome we could live with.
Something that I find myself talking about in Cellar Door quite frequently is the guiding principle we have here of not trying to be something we're not. We make a range of traditional, respectful red wines, in a style that we genuinely enjoy drinking and that makes it a great pleasure to share the wines with our guests without trying to keep up with the latest fashion or trend.
All of which is to say - we love this Shiraz, and we love sharing it with our guests. Philosophically it's a beautiful example of our pre-occupation with soft tannin extraction and gentle respect for the fruit, nurtured from the vineyard through the winery and then into (very) old barrels for at least two years. This time to relax and age on gross lees contributes characteristic softness and complexity without gimmicks or flashiness and we're very proud to offer it through Cellar Door to our visitors. That original 2012 vintage isn't bad, either…
Terroir is the story of place
The village of Krondorf translates as "the Crown Village" from German - a tangible reminder of the ongoing influence of the early German migrants who settled in the Barossa. This connects beautifully with the Kaiser Stuhl, or "the King's Seat," which is the highest point of the Barossa Ranges and is located directly above and behind our little property; we're nestled right in the foothills. So you have the Crown Village at the base of the King's throne. Beautiful.
This becomes relevant because one of the wonderful things about our little 20 acre property is that we enjoy the benefit of this proximity to the Kaiser Stuhl, as the cool gully breezes come down off that high country even on the hottest days and bring sweet relief to both the human and the grape inhabitants of the property.
This is what makes our Cabernet so quintessentially of Krondorf Creek Farm - the cooling influence consistently produces an elegant, linear style with soft tannins and generous, abundant fruit. Sometimes Cabernet, with its thick skins and smaller berries, is the wine responsible for 'that face' - the puckered response to harsh, bitter tannins that can make you wary of red wines, so it's always a great delight when our guests say something along the lines of "I don't usually drink Cabernet but I really like this."
This is also the most full bodied wine that we produce, and one that will reward a bit of self-restraint in the cellaring department.
Our Museum Release
One of the hallmarks of Krondorf Creek Farm is that quite some years before we opened Cellar Door, we started putting wine away in our Cellar, with a view to one day having a perpetual collection of aged wines we could release to our guests and customers.
Every year since 2012 we've made a parcel or two of fruit into a special wine, and then tucked it away in the old butcher's cellar that sits underneath one of the stone cottages on the property.
From this treasure box Cellar, each year we have the particular pleasure of pulling up a bottle of every wine we've ever made and having a gander. Some trusted friends and family get an invitation, there's usually some pizza and it's a great night of reflection, albeit with a serious side. This is when we decide which wine will be labelled as our Museum Release for the coming year and available to our guests through Cellar Door.
This year we are delighted to introduce our 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon as our Museum Release. It's a wonderful testament to the old adage that "time makes wine;" you simply can't rush this stuff.
The 2013 Vintage is an excellent example of exceptional wines forged from challenging conditions, with very low rainfall across winter and spring, violent lightening storms (!) during flowering which reduced bunch numbers, a heat wave in the lead up to picking and generally very low yields across the Barossa. Our 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon shows beautiful, elegant length, and the concentrated, vibrant fruit we know to expect from low-yielding years. This is a beautiful wine and we're very proud to offer it as our Museum Release for this season.
To purchase our wines, we invite you to join us at Cellar Door for a tasting. We’re located at 224 Krondorf Road, Krondorf (click here for directions) and Cellar Door is open Friday to Sunday 12-5pm, seasonally. If you require your wines to be shipped, please click here to download an Order Form which you can return to us via email firstname.lastname@example.org or by texting to Jess on 0424 895 309.