The strain of Australia’s aged vines
We are not many, no, we, a elders of Australian wine, are few.
We were innate before labour was abolished in America, before women had a opinion and before a coming of a initial automobile or aeroplane flight.
As a ancestors of Australian wine, we have witnessed changes we will usually review about in a story books. We have seen a years hurl by and witnessed any changing vintage, portion and watching generations of Australian winemakers who have nurtured us as if we were their possess children.
We, a aged vines of Australia, have survived storms, drought, wars, widespread and vine dismissal schemes to set an instance to today’s and destiny generations of a pretentious power of a grapevine. They call us aged and we are, though we cite to call ourselves mature.
We elder statesmen and women of a attention are immensely beholden to Yalumba’s Robert Hill-Smith and Brian Walsh, who called for approval of a value by present an aged vine charter. Today’s Barossa Old Vine Charter, adopted in 2009 to preserve, keep and foster aged vines, groups us into 4 categories by age: Old; Survivor; Centenarian and Ancestor.
We Old Vines aged 35 years are now entirely mature, with a base structure and box density that encourages farrago of essence and impression and consistently producing a top peculiarity fruit.
At 70 and older, we are Survivor Vines, with a wow cause that pays loyalty to a joining of growers and winemakers who have placed their trust in us.
At 100 years and older, we might not accept a telegram from Her Majesty The Queen notwithstanding a disfigured appearance, though we Centenarian Vines have withstood a vagaries of time to furnish wines whose startling impression and thoroughness have a X-factor.
We Ancestor Vines have stood clever and unapproachable for 125 years with zero some-more to prove, but, ancient as we are, even we can’t contest with Yalumba’s Tri-Centenary Vine, rightly described by Robert Hill-Smith as ‘Very Bloody Exceptionally Old’.
And who are we few?
Probably a many eminent among us mount in a ancient Hill of Grace vineyard planted by Nicolaus Stanitzki in 1860. Its dry-grown pre-phylloxera vines still furnish grapes for a Henschke family’s flagship wine; a booze that’s personal as exceptional, a top ranking in Langton’s Classification of Australian Wine. But did we know that Langmeil’s The Freedom Block is believed to date behind to 1843 or that Château Tanunda still creates Semillon from vines planted in 1848, a year of a European revolutions?
Or that Hewitson’s Old Garden Mourvèdre includes 8 rows of forerunner vines planted by Friedrich Koch in 1853? That Calabria Family Wines’ Iconic Grand Reserve Shiraz is done from 12 hectares of Shiraz planted over 100 years ago and Shiraz from 1847 forms a fortitude of a Schulz family’s Turkey Flat Shiraz? And let’s not forget that Penfolds’ Block 42 Kalimna Cabernet Sauvignon, planted in a mid-1880s, is roughly positively a oldest Cabernet vineyard in a world.
In box we consider that South Australia in ubiquitous and Barossa houses all of Australia’s aged vine heritage, that’s simply not a case. No reduction worshiped for instance are Tyrrell’s 4 Acres Shiraz planted by owner Edward Tyrrell in a Hunter Valley approach behind in 1879. Victoria too has a batch of aged vines, among them Pinot Meunier during Best’s in Great Western and Marsanne in a Nagambie Lakes area, where Château Tahbilk believes it still has a same counterpart of a accumulation creatively planted there in a 1860s.
We could go on, though sufficient it to contend that we trust that a significance of a aged vine birthright lies in dual categorical aspects. Firstly, we are not museum pieces though minister discernible peculiarity to today’s wines. Let’s impute to a management of a educational friends when they contend that comparison vines tend to furnish wines aloft in berry aroma and fruit intensity. Or as a Adelaide marketer Brian Miller put it – ‘Like people, aged vines do it reduction though they do it better’.
Just as important, maybe some-more so, we comparison vines have individuality and impression in spades. We are vital covenant to a fact that age of vine matters, informs, educates and inspires, concentrating booze and mind alike.