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2008 Jeanneret Rank and File Shiraz
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- Cellar 3 - 4 years (2013-2014)
- ABV 16%
- Closure: Screw Cap
If you've ever thought of going bush, getting off the grid or growing all your own food, you've probably felt the allure of a self sufficient lifestyle. Imagine the liberation of never seeing another bill and the sense of fulfillment in the quiet contemplation of work done with your own hands. This is what Swiss industrial chemist, Denis Jeanneret and his wife aspired to when they moved to Sevenhill in South Australia's Clare Valley.
It's true that dreams like this are usually short lived, yet they remain a natural and valid reaction to contemporary living. Over reliance on government and our submission to suburbia tends to encourage complacency, often at a cost to emotion, creative audacity and spontaneity. The Jeanneret's four year experiment certainly didn't leave them broken backed and eating garden snails. Denis found he was comfortable with livestock, vegetables and vines, and discovered a talent for making his own wine. He turned the hobby farm on its head when Jeanneret Wines was born in 1992. Sadly, Denis passed away suddenly in 1999.
Enter son, Ben. Besides drinking a lot of the stuff while graduating in English Literature, Ben Jeanneret, like his father, had no official winemaking credentials, but became consumed by his father's passion. Spending time as a cellarhand with Robert Crabtree and digesting Bryce Rankine's seminal text, 'Making Good Wine' several times over, Ben commenced anew. Jeanneret quickly became a very busy small winery, with something of the savour of Denis carrying through. The livestock and vegetable garden are things of the past, but Ben continues the vineyard on organic principles and believes in allowing nature to do its work. 'We only produce fruit which is hand picked from hand pruned vines and not irrigated with River Murray water' comments Ben. 'During the winemaking process, I am not too fussed if nature beats me and wild yeasts begin the ferments. I encourage minimal handling of the juice, allowing the ferments to progress in a slow and easy manner. This, I believe, allows the wines to reflect the perfection of nature. The end result, I hope, is that my wines maintain the varietal and regional character from where they originated'.
In most parts of South Australia, 2008 will be remembered as a vintage of extremes that was abruptly cut short. It began with a perfect Summer and the superb ripening conditions that prevailed for months made for one of the most classic vintages vignerons had experienced in decades. Then the heat wave hit. With more than 13 days of 37+ heat turning some crops to raisins, 2008 quickly turned into 'a vintage from hell'. Not so at Jeanneret, where the fruit was off in early February. Ben picks on flavour alone, alcohols are secondary - in fact he doesn't even bother measuring alcohol until just before bottling. 'The small crops of 2008 lent themselves to small-batch, open fermenters and lots of hand plunging and the odd bit of foot stomping, and this really gentle and careful handling of the fruit was particularly important in a difficult vintage' states Ben. 'Most of the batches were pressed directly to oak, and some really good French Oak lies at the heart of the '08 Rank and File. Being pressed directly to oak meant that the wines were aged on their gross lees which really helped sustain, nourish and enrich the wine. And there the wines remained, undisturbed, for two and a half years while the combination of fruit, oak and lees performed its remarkable alchemy'. Ben Jeanneret calls this curiously named wine 'Rank & File'. It's what Shiraz represents to him - the heart and soul of the Australian wine industry.
The spirit of Christmas generosity is alive and well in this opulently styled and well proportioned Clare Shiraz that offers outstanding value for money.
Tasting notes: Outstanding colour saturation – a totally opaque black purple with a very deep black purple hue showing excellent glass cling. The nose displays a lifted aromatic profile of ripe blackberries, plum, liquorice and confectionary. A super concentrate of Shiraz, the palate is where this wine really excels delivering an explosive power wave of flavour. Super rich liquorice, blackberry, dark plum and confectionary flavours fill every corner of the mouth and are followed by some blackpepper on the back palate. Opulent in texture with a velvet smooth tannin structure, the wine finishes with a very long aftertaste of liquorice, blackberry and blackpepper. A stunning example of ripe, powerful Clare Valley Shiraz that possesses a near obscene level of richness and concentration for it’s price point.
Drink over the next 3-4 years. Alc 16%