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2021 Alternative Range…

To say that we love this time of year is an understatement! Vintage is more than halfway through, the weather is perfect and it also marks the time that we begin to bottle and release many of our new vintage wines. What is even more exciting is when we have been sold out of these wines for a significant amount of time and can finally share them with you again!

The 2021 vintages of the Dodger Tempranillo, Fordson Zinfandel and Buckboard Durif are now back in cellar door so keep reading to find out more about the new vintage releases.

Winemaking in the Barossa Valley is dominated by the noble and traditional varieties of Shiraz, Cabernet and Grenache, with these 3 varieties making up over 90% of the regions yearly crush.  Whilst it’s gratifying to make wine from these stalwart grapes, it’s really fun to play and explore alternative varieties.  Hence 15 years ago, Dad & Kym diversified the vineyard with plantings of Tempranillo, Zinfandel and Durif.  These varieties grow remarkably well in the red-brown earths of the Moppa sub-region and as a winemaker it’s exciting to see the grapes evolve into varietally expressive wines.  They’re an engaging and satisfying add-on to our traditional wines, not only for me crafting them, but also for our customers drinking them.”
– Troy Kalleske, Winemaker & Co-owner

2021 Dodger Tempranillo

After a hiatus in 2020, it is fantastic to be releasing Dodger Tempranillo from the excellent 2021 vintage.  Tempranillo is native to Spain and it is still regarded as an emerging variety here in Australia.  Tempranillo was first planted on our Kalleske farm 15 years ago and it remains one of only a handful of Tempranillo vineyards in the Barossa valley, with only 384 tonnes crushed in 2021 (as a comparison 41,183 tonnes of Shiraz was crushed).  The name Tempranillo is a diminutive of the Spanish temprano, a reference to the fact that it ripens several weeks earlier than most Spanish red grapes.  That is also true on our Kalleske vineyard, with the Tempranillo block often the first red grapes to be harvested.

The 2021 Tempranillo grapes were the first to be picked in vintage 2021, with harvest on March 25th.  They were wild yeast fermented on skins for 13 days prior to pressing.  Then maturation was in seasoned French oak hogsheads for 1 year prior to bottling.
2021 Dodger Tempranillo is deep ruby-red in colour.
The lifted aromatics display classic varietal complexity of sweet and savoury notes including nutmeg spice, dried fruit peel, leather, earth, blackcurrant and almond.  The medium-bodied palate is richly flavoured.  Wild dark fruits abound and are framed by an initial plush texture evolving to display dusty tannins and crunchy acidity.  There is an intriguing rusticity throughout and a long lingering finish completes a varietally true Tempranillo. Dodger can be enjoyed now or over the next eight years.


2021 Fordson Zinfandel

The 2020 Fordson has been sold out for some time so in cellar door we made available a few bottles of 2012 vintage Zinfandel from our museum cellar.  As a 10 year old wine the 2012 is drinking beautifully, even though it is 5 years after our recommended drinking window of 5 years.  We have a reasonably short cellaring time window on Zinfandel because it is generally a low tannin varietal with intense bright primary fruits.  Tannins are a natural preservative allowing a wine to mature for a longer time.  We think one of the beautiful characters of Zinfandel are its profound aromatics and perfumed varietal characters which are most prominent as a young wine, hence the younger drinking recommendation.  However, having said that, our Fordson Zinfandel can indeed age for a decade.  So, if you do prefer a mature wine, then no problem to enjoy the Zinfandel after a decade but if you are after its varietal brightness then drink whilst younger and primal.       
2021 was an excellent year for Zinfandel, with the ideal growing season to fully express this variety in all its glory.  This release of 2021 Fordson is certainly a standout.  Grapes were picked on March 19th and pressed ten days later, with pumpovers employed twice daily whilst on skins.  The wine was matured in seasoned hogsheads for a year prior to bottling.      
2021 Fordson Zinfandel is deep crimson in colour.  The aromatics are super bright and exquisitely inviting.  There is classic liquorice strap, blackberry jam, clove spice, raspberry and flowers.  It’s very powerful and enticing.  The palate is full-bodied with intense ripe red and black berry fruits.  It is so juicy with an attractive plushness giving a smooth background to the rich flavours.  Only gently emerging at the end, the natural tannins are soft, allowing the luminous varietal fruits to shine full.  This is an expressive and strong varietal wine that is completed with a very lingering finish.  Approachable and fruit forward, Fordson Zinfandel can be enjoyed now or over the next five years – or more than likely ten!


2021 Buckboard Durif

The 2021 Buckboard Durif is a hefty wine, weighing in at 16.2% alcohol.  Durif is generally a later ripening variety as it takes time for the flavours to develop and for the tougher green characters and harsh tannins to diminish.  So, as the grapes ripen to provide the desired traits, the sugars also accumulate increasing the sweetness of the grapes.  These sugars are then fermented by the yeast into alcohol to make wine, and as it started off with a high sugar level, a high alcohol is the result.  For this wine and any of our wines, we really don’t pay too much attention to the final alcohol.  As long as the overall wine is in balance, the alcohol really doesn’t matter.  Some wines at 16% would appear very hot and fiery if they don’t have enough flavour to counterweigh the alcohol.  But that is certainly not the case with this wine, there is flavour, power and generosity galore.
The 2021 Durif grapes were picked on March 31st and April 8th and native-yeast fermented for 9-12 days on skins.  Maturation was in a mix of 25% new and the balance used American oak hogsheads for one year prior to bottling.  We described the 2020 bottling as an ‘absolute dazzler’ and this 2021 release is certainly on par or greater.
2021 Buckboard Durif is thick black in colour.  Forceful aromatics abound.  There is dark cherry, blackberry jam and ripe plum together with vanilla, chocolate and clove spice.  The palate is immediately rich and intense.  Very full-bodied with bountiful black fruits dominating.  Complimenting the generous fruit is toasty oak.  Solid natural tannins are strong, adding structure and grip, working well with the ripe concentrated fruit.  This powerful, muscular wine is completed with a long, dry finish.  Buckboard is a compelling and seductive Barossa Durif that can be enjoyed now or over the next decade.

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