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1998 Dutschke St Jakobi Shiraz
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How is it that after 150 years of grape growing in the Barossa Valley, a family can still be relatively obscure? We discovered the Dutschke St. Jakobi Shiraz, only a few weeks ago and it is one of the finds of the year. The grapes are grown by Ken Semmler, whose family arrived in the Barossa in 1850, and have now been growing grapes for 5 generations. The name St. Jakobi comes from the tiny Lutheran Church and School, situated opposite the vineyard, and is a tribute to the Saint.
A discovery is not by itself a guarantee that it is going to be a wonderful wine - discovery and greatness are not automatically linked, but when they are it’s a moment of excitement.
The St Jakobi Shiraz is as good as Barossa Shiraz gets and is an essay in the handling of three elements. Ripe plum fruit, vanillin oak and violets. Again, as with the exceptional 1996 Elderton Command Shiraz, there is that very careful balancing act between having ripe fruit and jaminess. At an alcohol level of 15%, its a fine line indeed, and some may argue, that there is simply too much fruit. This argument invariably comes from producers who can't get that sort of quality into their wine. On a global basis it is now very clear, that the worlds finest Shiraz comes from Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale. There are great wines produced in other areas, but nowhere else in the world do you get 'more bang for your bucks' (to use an American expression) than from Great Australian Shiraz.
The winemaker is the talented Wayne Dutschke. A wonderful juxtaposition and balancing of three aromas and flavours. This wine is an expression of plum, vanilla and violet aromas and flavours. Totally opaque, black, crimson colour. Magnificent ripe fruit on the nose - a superb sniff, with strong aroma of vanilla oak, spice, blackcurrant, ripe plum and violets. The palate flavours explode and deliver a wine of immense depth and concentration of flavour. Rich ripe fruit flavours without any hint of being jammy. Blackberry, liquorice, spice and plum fill every corner of the mouth and merge with the smell of the violets to create a palate of great persistence. Perfect tannin structure and balance, fine, tight grained. The acidity is satisfactory for 4-5 years of cellaring and is followed by a very long aftertaste of vanilla, plum and blackberry.