In 2000, 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, 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, just across the road from 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.
I chose the Gomersal Wines Grenache Shiraz Mataro in the Winer Launch Selection for a couple of reasons. I first tried some of their wines at a 25-year service dinner that I was hosting for my former employer. The location, the food, the friendly service and especially the wines were absolutely superb. Whilst I didn’t try the GSM on the night I did sneak in a taste of the outstanding Reserve Shiraz that has subsequently picked up a gold Medal at the prestigious London International Wine Challenge 2014. The GSM that I have selected uses Bushvine Grenache and Mataro and is blended with their best Shiraz and left in hogshead barrels for 30 months to mature. The oak treatment and slightly higher alcohol at 16.2% makes it a “wine more like a liqueur chocolate and cherry drink …. It will have its fanatical supporters” according to James Halliday.
The vineyard is located along Lyndoch Road on the north western 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 create some excellent subtle flavours in the grapes, which come through in the wines. The soils are up to 20 million years old.
A distinctive feature of this GSM is that it has a roughly equal proportion of grenache, shiraz and mataro. Usually the Mataro (Or Mouvedre) would be added in smaller quantities eg 10%. The Gomersal Wines mataro is so good though that it is also sold as a premium wine on its own). The mataro is late picked and therefore the resultant high alcohol gives it a stewed character with caramel-toffee-treacle tawny characteristics. This mataro provides the wine with genuine length on the palate and holds the back palate really well.
Grenache typically is a lighter style of wine than Shiraz but when it is dry grown as it was in this case it can develop great intense flavours.
The grenache and mataro were dry grown and had very low yields at 0.5 tonne to the acre. Along with the ancient soils, the low yield helps produce the very intense flavours.
The shiraz was also low yielding at a bit over one tonne per acre. The Shiraz was planted in 2001 and still has many years to go to reach its full potential as the root system develops into the ancient soil. All of the barrels produced from the 42 acres are tested and the best two are selected to go into the GSM. The next best barrels go into the International Gold Medal winning Reserve Shiraz.
The equal blend of high quality grenache, shiraz and mataro means that no one variety dominates at you will feel the front, middle and back palate layers that result from the blend.
The wine was aged in new and old American and French oak for three years. This wine has become one of my favourites.