The work of preparing the 2012 Schwarz red wines for blending and bottling is well under way. There was a window of clear but chilly weather in mid-June that allowed Jason to un-stack the barrels (they usually sit two-per-cradle up to five barrels high) and move them out of the shed.
This just makes it easier to access the wine – it’s a bit tricky climbing up the stacks of barrels while juggling a wine thief, a glass, a clipboard and a pencil. Having the barrels down also gives us a chance to top them up – replacing the ‘angel’s share’.
Jason tastes each barrel (about 100 in total) as we all any parcels that have already been moved into small storage tanks. Tasting 100-odd samples of wine can be hard work even for a winemaker (though it does sound like a dream job for wine lovers) so the work was spread over three days… Grenache and Mataro first up, Shiraz for the Dust Kicker blends on the second day and Shiraz from the individual vineyards (Nitschke Block and The Schiller) on the third. Altogether it was about six hours of swirling, sniffing, sipping, spitting and note-taking.
The wines look really promising… lots of red apple and cherry flavours in the Grenache, plenty of spice and leather in the Mataro, as well as a range of Shiraz that comes from different parcels of fruit across the Barossa that offered everything from bright, light and zippy characters to the green peppercorn spiciness that is a consistent character from the Nitschke Block.