Soul Growers was started by a group of four mates who had significant previous experience in larger corporate wineries and decided to pursue their own dream of creating wines that reflected the soul of the Barossa Valley.
That soul is the grape growing families in the Barossa Valley, those families who have nurtured their vineyards over generations and who were largely descendent from the original Lutheran German settlers who came to South Australia as early the 1830s when the South Australian colony was first established.
Paul, Tom and Stu produce wines that reflect the family vineyards and exemplify Barossa Valley wines. Each batch of wines from each carefully selected family vineyard is treated separately through tank fermentation, pressing and aging in barrels. The very best of the best are produced into limited release single vineyard shiraz named after the grower families such as the "Kroehn", the "Gobell", the "Hampel", and the "Hoffmann". Similarly, a single-vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon is produced from the "Limb" family vineyard. These wines are the flagship wines of Soul Growers and are in our super-premium selection.
The remaining Shiraz from those vineyards and a couple of others are blended to produce the "Slow Grown" shiraz. This premium wine has much of the quality of the super-premium single-vineyard wines but at half the price.
Soul Growers age their individual family vineyard shiraz, cabernet sauvignon, grenache and mourvedre in barrels using a mixture of imported French and American Oak barrels, and locally produced French and American Oak barrels depending on the grape variety and the source vineyard.
The cabernet sauvignon will only see French Oak and the higher the quality of wine the newer the oak.
Blending the different vineyard barrels to produce the wine that Soul Growers want to produce is like putting together a complex jigsaw puzzle. The wines include:
Provident Shiraz - a blend of vineyards from all around the Barossa and aged in old oak so that the oak is not prominent. This is a great value wine that says "Welcome to the Barossa, have a shiraz day".
Equilibrium GSM - a soft-bodied blend but with a richness that makes this wine their most popular. The base of the blend is the Grenache and the shiraz and mourvedre are added to make each vintage consistent.
Serendipitous Adelaide Hills Pinot Noir - the vineyard is right on the border between the Adelaide Hills and Eden Valley and so we will include it in our Barossa Range. This pinot has more body and richness than the typical pinot which was colourfully described by Stu as "that thin pissy shit".
Cellar Dweller Cabernet Sauvignon - this fruit is largely sourced from the banks of the Para River. It is aged in mainly old oak and all French. It is a very elegant style with only 7-10 days fermenting on skins. It is called the Cellar Dweller as it can be expected to hang around in the cellar for many years. This wine is in our Premium Selection.
Soul Growers mainly specialise in red wines but do produce a superb Eden Valley Riesling and a Rose that we were lucky to taste straight from the tank.
Irrespective of whether the wines are the super-premium single-vineyard wines, the premium wines or the great value wines, the winemaking method and philosophy is the same.
In a short few years, Soul Growers have achieved the pinnacle of Australian winery recognition by having been awarded 5 stars for their winery from Halliday with nine of their wines achieving a score of 95 and above with two more scoring 94.
In 1856 the Mader family, driven by religious persecution, left their homeland of Germany, to settle in Australia. The family brought with them traditional viticulture skills along with farming and fruit growing practices and set up a new life on 60 acres of land in the small township called Light Pass, in South Australia. Choosing a section of land aside the banks of the North Para (river) and eastern hillsides of the Barossa Valley, proved to be an excellent site to begin a vineyard. As time went by, all farming and fruit growing gave way to 100% viticulture. Six Generations later, Mark Mader would produce the first wine under the Gumpara label, in the year 2000. The name Gumpara is derived from two words; Gum, meaning large red gumtrees, and Para, Aboriginal for river.
Terroir plays a major part in the quality of Gumpara wines. All of their fruit are sourced from small single vineyard blocks, most of which are situated on the north eastern hillsides of the Barossa Valley in the sub region of Light Pass. Not only are they single vineyard wines, they tend to be selected from precise sections of the vineyard where the fruit is of the highest possible quality. The soil type is mostly a combination of sandy loam, deep red clay, pink marble and ironstone on a limestone base, producing wines of exceptional fruit concentration, pallet weight and structure. These soils are not overly deep and are fairly porous. Vine root systems have grown in search for moisture in between the porous pebbly pink marble and ironstone fragments and are drilled into the limestone base. The red clay layer holds moisture throughout the growing period, but dries nearing harvest. This is especially important as the water and nutrient availability is less and the vines become slightly stressed, meaning that the flavour compounds become concentrated. This soil type profile directly gives the vines an ability to produce desirable smooth skin tannins that are reflected in the wine.The climatic conditions are ideal for producing outstanding table wines and the north eastern sector is where fruit for the Mader Reserve Shiraz is sourced. Yields range from 1/2 to 2 tonnes per acre which is perfect for optimal ripening and flavour development. Low bunch weights ranging between (75 – 90 grams) and small to medium berry size contribute to rich and intense flavours reflected in this wine. Pruning techniques and trellis systems have been modified to spread the fruit zone evenly, providing greater balance to each vine.Vine canopies are low to moderate in vigour in which bunches obtain ample dappled light for optimal ripening, and not too much light for bunches to burn in summer heat waves. After lengthy hot summer days, which can exceed 40°C, cool night gully breezes flow from the north eastern slopes to cool the ripening bunches and assist with the recovery of the vine after it has been slightly heat stressed. Flavours reflected in the wine include rich berry, chocolate, mint and pepper spice. All vine rows run east /west giving good sun protection, that allows dappled light to penetrate during ripening. Most of their vines are between 30 to 90 years old. All of the above factors, along with diligent wine making practices have lead to the production of outstanding quality wines, produced under the Gumpara label.
The fruit that goes into the Mader Reserve Shiraz is sourced from a special section of low yielding vineyard on the the eastern side of Stockwell Road in the North Eastern Barossa. The vineyard is on a significant rise up from the valley floor and so is slightly cooler resulting in slightly minty characters. The vineyard has an early bud burst and has a longer ripening period allowing development of the fruit and rich chocolate flavours. The selection of high quality fruit combined with maturation in new, or near new French hogshead oak barrels for 18 months is what makes this top end wine special. Using techniques such as partial barrel fermentation and light pressing methods, add to the structure and complexity of this fine wine. The wine has been enhanced by the removal of first stage free run and last stage pressings and is a great example of what Gumpara produces and is a wine of great flavour, depth and balance.
The Mader Reserve Shiraz is a typical big Barossa Valley Shiraz style, aimed to deliver on quality, flavour and structure. Rich in colour, displaying a creamy fruitcake nose, with flavours of dark berries, Barossa chocolate and warm pepper spice.
This outstanding wine was judged and recently awarded Five Stars in Winestate magazine’s “New Releases” July/August 2014 addition. The previous 2010 vintage was awarded third place in Winestate Magazines 2012 “WORLD’S GREATEST SYRAH & SHIRAZ CHALLENGE” from a field of 724 entries.
This outstanding wine was judged and recently awarded Five Stars in Winestate magazine’s “New Releases” July/August 2014 addition. The previous 2010 vintage was awarded third place in Winestate Magazines 2012 “WORLD’S GREATEST SYRAH & SHIRAZ CHALLENGE” from a field of 724 entries. According to Joy Waterfang from Winestate Magazine “for his 2010 Reserve Shiraz to come third out of 726 wines exhibited in the Great Shiraz Challenge, it meant he had to beat the socks off some of the country’s super premium iconic wines”. This wine is extremely rare and only 1,000 litres were produced in this vintage and so we are very fortunate for Mark Mader to allow us to include this special wine in our launch pack.
Magpie Estate is a joint venture between Rolf Binder and an English wine merchant. Most of the wines produced are exported to Canada, the UK and Denmark and very little is sold in Australia. The Election Shiraz is kept "under the radar" and has developed to become a cultish wine. We are very lucky to be able to offer the The Election Shiraz to Barossa Reserve Customers in Australia.
The philosophy of this wine is to produce a premium high quality Shiraz that is a true expression of a Barossa shiraz for that particular vintage. It is not made every year and was not made in 2011 and 2012. The fruit for The Election in 2010 was sourced mainly from Greenock further to the north along with some fruit from the Western Slopes. The soil in the Greenock vineyard is red, brown earth with higher iron content and the Western Slopes vineyard has a sandy loam soil.
In the winery the pump-over method is used and the wine is put in 50/50 new French and American oak for 22-months. The best 6-12 barrels are chosen for The Election based on those that are the best of the vintage to reflect features of the vintage. The bottle age was 3-years prior to release.
The Election 2010 was built to last, has great tannin/fruit balance and good acid balance.
From its inception in 1955, Veritas Winery produced mostly fortified wines as well as the famous 'Bull’s Blood', a blend of Shiraz and century-old Mataro. Now many years later, second generation winemakers Rolf Binder, and his sister Christa Deans, are leading Veritas winery into the future under the Rolf Binder brand. Together they are producing exceptional wines using only the best Barossa fruit.
Rolf Heinrich Binder and his wife, Franziska, arrived in Australia (from Austria and Hungary respectively) in 1950 as part of the large influx of post war immigration to Australia. As payment for the government assistance, they worked with the South Australian railways for three years. During that time they met Elmore Schulz, a train driver and grape grower in the Barossa Valley, and namesake to neighbouring Barossa Valley Estate's E&E Shiraz. While picking grapes in the Barossa in 1953, the couple met Langmeil Road winemakers, Chris Vohrer and Wilhelm Abel. This meeting proved to set their future. In 1954 they worked a vintage in this winery and subsequently purchased the business in 1955, renaming it 'Veritas', taken from the Latin quote "In Vino Veritas" - in wine there is truth. The business name was changed from Veritas to Rolf Binder in 2005 to honour the late Rolf Heinrich Binder who passed away in 2003.
In the 1960s and 70s came the realization of the great riches of the Barossa Valley in old vine Shiraz, Mataro and Grenache. Experiments at Veritas and a number of other, mostly small Barossa wineries followed throughout the 1980s and this led to the release of many exciting old vine varietal blends. Semillon is considered the premium white variety of the Barossa and winemaker, Christa Deans, holds an esteemed position as the producer of benchmark Barossa Semillons. Riesling is also considered superior in the Australian wine industry and the style from the neighbouring Eden Valley is softer and more floral than the seriously steely Rieslings from Europe.
Veritas wines quickly gained recognition with some noteworthy awards including:
1996 - 'Best Small Producer' and 'Best Barossa Shiraz at the Barossa Wine Show
1997 - 'Best Small Producer' at the Barossa Wine Show and 'Best Barossa Shiraz at the Barossa Wine Show
2002 - 'Best Small Producer' at the Barossa Wine Show
2002 - 'Best Semillon' at the Barossa Wine Show. Exhibited the top three pointed semillons at this Show, including the gold medal and trophy winning wine.
2003 - 'Best Semillon' at the Barossa Wine Show
2005 - 'Winemakers of the Year' awarded to Rolf Binder and Christa Deans by the Barons of the Barossa.
2006 - 'Winemaker of the Year' finalist awarded to Rolf Binder by Gourmet Traveller - Kemenys
Winemaker Christa Deans crafts white wines from fruit sourced from the Barossa and Eden Valleys. Varieties used include Riesling, Chardonnay, Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Vermentino, Gewurtztraminer, Frontignac and Viognier.
Winemaker Rolf Binder produces premium red wines made from varieties grown in the Barossa region. Varieties include Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Mataro, Malbec, Petit Syrah, Merlot and Grenache.
The Hanisch Shiraz is the flagship wine from Rolf Binder. Comprising 100% Shiraz grown in the Veritas Estate Chri Ro Vineyard the “Hanisch” is named after the original owner of the vineyard, “Punch’ Hanisch. This special vineyard was purchased in 1968, planted to vines in 1972 and by the mid 1980’s a 1.6 hectare section was recognised for intensely expressive Shiraz of intense aromas, deep colour and flavour. The first Shiraz bottled from this vineyard was in 1988, though it was not called Hanisch, but ‘Long Rows’. The first 'Hanisch' was produced in 1991 and production is always low at only 250 - 500 cases.
The fruit for the Hanisch is sourced from the Chri Ro vineyard on the western slope of the Barossa Valley. The vineyard is on a steep slope and the soils vary markedly as they progress up the slope from Bay of Biscay soil at the bottom to shallow weathered soil with an abundance of ironstone. The fruit is picked for the Hanisch across all of these different soil types giving it an interesting flavour profile due to the impact of the different soil types.
The fruit ripens mid season and is picked on flavour ripeness. The fruit is consistently very dark with intense flavours. In the winery the pump-over method is used and each day a small amount of fruit is extracted and fermented in new oak then pumped back in. It is chilled down and then drawn off again. The second pump-over later each day therefore has a higher skin to juice ratio. The grapes are pressed at a Baume of 2 ie fermentation not yet complete and fermentation is completed in oak.
The wine is aged partly in new American oak and a smaller amount in new French oak which has been matured in the Barossa Valley for two years before being made into barrels.
The best 70-90% of barrels are chosen to be bottled as Hanisch Shiraz.
The Hanisch has been included in Langton's Classification of the top 101 wines in the country. You need to have produced 10 vintages to be included and they only began making Hanisch in 1991 and did not make a 2000.
The accolades for the Hanisch Shiraz go on and on. A wine where absolutely no compromise is made - in fruit quality, in oak quality, and in viticultural practices. The winemaking remains as always testament to this great wine. Barossa is, of course, famous for Shiraz and Hanisch Shiraz stands out among the classic wines from this region. Complex flavours abound in this full-bodied wine with soft gentle tannins, and a long lingering finish. Given a near perfect score of 99/100 by America's highly respected wine critic, Robert Parker, this wine is ageing in the cellars of some of the most discerning people in Australia and hotly auctioned in the world wine market, the fame of this wine will continue to grow as the years go by.
The Hanisch has also been the only wine to have won back-to-back 1st Prize Trophies in the Barossa Wine Show (in 1993 and 1994). It has its own unique style with hugely intense flavours, full-bodied and well-balanced due to a unique patch of vineyard.
Robert Parker Scores for Recent Hanisch Vintages:
1996 - 97 pts
1997 -- 97 pts
1998 - 99 pts
1999 - 91 pts
2000 - not produced
2001 - 92 pts
2002 - 98 pts
2003 - 97 pts
2004 - 94 pts
2005 - 98 pts
2006 - 97 pts
2009 - 94 pts
2010 - 95 pts
The Hanisch philosophy is to make the best possible wine from that vineyard every year and to be the best wine in the Rolf Binder collection. This is an outstanding premium wine - very special and somewhat rare and I feel privileged and grateful to be able to offer it to Barossa Reserve customers.
I first experienced Gomersal Wines when I hosted a 25-year service dinner for Adelaide Brighton Cement (now Adbri) employees from Angaston, Birkenhead and Klein Point. Whilst the wines that we provided were the entry-level wines they were all fantastic.
I decided to head back and taste the full range one weekend and was blown away by the quality.
The 2010 Reserve Shiraz that had picked up a gold medal at the prestigious London International Wine Challenge 2014, the 2008 GSM and the 2015 Eden Valley Riesling were standouts and they were some of the first ones that I listed on the Barossa Reserve website. The owner, Barry White, was very generous with his time taking me through the range and letting me list his best.
Gomersal Wines kicked off in 2000, when a group of characters who share a passion for both the production and consumption of wine, joined forces to breathe life back into an old, run-down Barossa winery in the small western district of Gomersal.
Led by Barry (‘Baz’ to those who know him) and Gabriela White, the winery, now known as Gomersal Wines, was resurrected with the establishment of a new vineyard in 2001, the opening of a new cellar door in 2005, and function room in 2006, and of course, production of a range of quality wines.
The vineyard that produced the fruit for the GSM, just across the road from the cellar door, consisting of 42 acres of Shiraz, and 8 acres of Grenache and Mataro supplies the winery with rich quality fruit with which to make their wines. Their unique cellar door is a true Australian experience, with eucalyptus trees and native plants throughout the grounds, magnificent red gum tables and pink gum bar, and truly Australian artwork covering the walls. Their function room, ‘The Barrel Room’ provides a wonderful and versatile setting for functions of all styles, including weddings, birthdays, conferences, launches, and art exhibitions.
Their vineyards are largely located along Lyndoch Road on the northwestern ridge of the Barossa Valley. The vineyards have east-west slopes with predominantly north-south rows, and bush vines growth east-west on a south-facing slope. The range of soils at Gomersal quite interesting as they vary dramatically throughout the vineyard. They begin with clay over calcrete and slate bedrock, moving to more weathered slate at the bottom of an ancient glacier. Over the hill the soils are deep, sandy loam and black clays. This variety in soil types creates some excellent subtle flavours in the grapes, which come through in the wines. The soils are up to 20 million years old.
This winery is the second most winery along Gomersal Road as you enter into the Barossa Valley using that path and is a great first, or second, starting point on a day of wine tasting in the valley.
With its heart and home in Barossa’s Eden Valley, Sorby Adams Wines is a boutique producer of quality, handcrafted, individual vineyard wines. Owner and Winemaker Simon Adams is passionate about creating varietal wines to reflect the strengths of Eden Valley which he believes produces some of the best Riesling and Shiraz in the world. This passion extends to exploring fruit from the world’s most respected wine regions to truly showcase what a variety can do.
An experienced Winemaker, Simon’s career has spanned nearly 30 years in Australia’s leading wine companies including Chief Winemaker at Yalumba Wine Company and Dorrien Estate (Cellarmaster Wines) as well as many vintages overseas including Alsace (France), St Emillion (France), Napa Valley (USA) and New Zealand.
His viticultural and winemaking philosophy is based on the belief that great wines are made in the vineyard. He places enormous emphasis on careful tending of vines with minimal intervention ensuring that he has access to the highest quality fruit.
Wines are personally crafted to reflect the European style which allows the wine’s character to shine through, optimising fruit and enhancing longevity.
Testament to his winemaking skills, Simon has amassed more that 65 trophies and 300 gold medals during his career, including twice winning Best Vintage Red at the International Wine and Spirit Challenge in London, the Stoddard Trophy at Brisbane and the “Triple Crown” at the National Wine Show in Canberra including Best Wine of Show.
Sorby Adams Wines is a reflection of Simon’s hands on approach to winemaking. It is his backyard 1932 vineyard that produces the flagship wines. He personally tends each vine to handcraft his Eden Valley range. Bringing European style to Australian winemaking, Simon has developed a diverse range of wines full of regional flavours and nuances styled to optimise longevity.
Sorby Adams Wines is based on the philosophy that great wines are made in the vineyard. Winemaker Simon Adams sources fruit from his beloved Eden Valley, high in the Barossa Hills, for his flagship wines. The cool climate of Barossa’s Eden Valley, its high altitude, ancient soils, cold wet winters and a temperate summer and autumn, combine to produce low yielding but intensely flavoured wines with outstanding natural acidity. World renowned for Riesling, it also produces superior quality Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. Nestled in the Barossa Hills in Eastern Eden Valley, Sorby Adams’ Home Vineyard is one of the oldest in the region, originally planted in 1932 by the Lehmann family, a name synonymous with quality Barossa wine. Located in Simon Adams’ own backyard, the Home Vineyard is a tribute to the wine region’s heritage. Its gnarly twisted vines are nurtured by Simon to showcase Eden Valley Shiraz, with a small amount of acreage dedicated to Viognier and Traminer.
The Sorby Adams Wineroom & Pantry is the latest addition to a long and proud history of food and wine in the Barossa. Located in the picturesque town of Angaston, the Wineroom & Pantry offers both visitors to the Barossa and locals alike, a wine and food experience unmatched in the region.Visitors to the Wineroom can enjoy a tasting of the handcrafted Sorby Adams Wine range with winemaker Simon Adams and staff. After a tasting, browse the seasonal menu featuring the best of South Australian produce and settle in for a relaxing lunch before an afternoon of sampling the tastes, sights and sounds of the Barossa.
The Sorby Adams Wineroom & Pantry has an extensive provedore range featuring gourmet pantry goods from Peter Watson & Saskia Beer. Antipasto plates, cheese-boards, All Press coffee and a range of teas are available throughout the day for those in need of a lift.
Sorby Adams 2008 The Thing Eden Valley Shiraz
I chose this wine in the Winter Launch collection to demonstrate a cooler climate Eden Valley Shiraz within the Barossa Valley Region. Simon carefully tends and hand harvests the rare fruit from the old Shiraz vines in his Home Vineyard in Eden Valley. Each vintage he carefully selects the very best barrels of Shiraz to become ‘The Thing’ (of rare beauty), so named for the amazing quality and intensity of the fruit and the small quantities produced from the very special old vines.
The Sorby Adams Home Vineyard sits high in the eastern hills of the Barossa. First planted in 1932, it is home to some of the oldest vines in the Eden Valley region. Its gnarled, twisted vines produce elegant and refined wines in the classic cool climate style. Eden Valley soils generally have a lower pH (ie are more acidic) than the Barossa floor. This gives wines in this region a "minerality" and natural acidity that aids in longevity.
The Thing is Sorby Adams’ top of the line Shiraz. Sourced from our Home Vineyard high in the Eden Valley at 475 metres above sea level. Planted by Pastor Franz Julius Lehmann in 1932, the low-yielding, gnarled vines are some of the oldest in the region. All old vine shiraz produce very small berries. As they get older they lose their "vigour" and produce less fruit and smaller berries but those berries have a lot more complexity than from young vines. Simon likens old vines to old people - "you get much better conversation from an 80 year old rather than a 10-year old". Often the wine that is selected to go into a premium wine is selected by testing the barrels and then blending the best of the barrels. Whilst Simon also does this for The Thing he also carefully selects which fruit goes into the wine. He only chooses fruit from the original 1932 vines of which there are only 11 rows. He then carefully chooses which fruit he will use from those 11 rows and when they will be picked. This can mean up to 5 different picks over 2 weeks.
The wine is aged in fine grain French oak. Simon air drys the oak for longer than normal (5 years rather than the normal 2 years) which gives much lower tannin. In the barrel making process the staves are immersion bent in water which again gives lower tannins. This is necessary when matching the oak to Eden Valley fruit styles.
Only their best barrels make their way into this classic, cool-climate Shiraz and the new 2008 release shows again, why the old-vine fruit of the Eden Valley is so highly sought after.
The tasting notes say:
"Deep brick-red in the glass with opulent, rich aromas of macerated plums, crème de cassis, blackberry and wild cherry along with a splash of cranberry which opens up the aromatic profile beautifully. Hints of deep-set spice – clove, cinnamon, fennel, dark chocolate, espresso, vanilla and creamy French oak.
Superb fruit density and concentration on the palate with a beam of bright acidity making the wine appear quite light on its feet for such opulent fruit. Fruit flavours of blackberry, cassis, kirsch and plum all flow seamlessly across the palate supported by hints of baking spice, licorice, chocolate, violets and well-judged French oak.
The finish is perfectly poised and shows a graceful line and fine balance between the rich berry fruit, supporting spice characters, bright acidity and ripe melt-in-the-mouth fine grained tannins. Long and lingering on the finish which trails off showing characters of dark and black berry fruits, baking spice and subtle French oak. Try this with Roast beef"
The fruit that goes into this wine has a proud history. In the early 1990s it went into the Chris Ringland 3 Rivers which Robert Parker rated 100 and from 1996-1999 it was the backbone of the Yalumba Octavius.
Only six barrels of The Thing are made each year, using the best grapes from Dads Block. The Thing reflects the regional Eden Valley Shiraz style and has two major distinctive features: Strong fruit aroma coming from the cooler climate and the natural acidity giving longevity. Whilst the 2008 wasn't tested by James Halliday he has rated previous vintages between 93 and 96.