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2010 Tscharke Barossa Grounds Collection Marananga Grenache
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- Cellar 4 - 5 years (2016-2017)
- ABV 15%
- Closure: Screw Cap
In 2008 we first reviewed the wines of 'Glaymond’ and were left with the impression that this is one producer who will not be content to remain sitting on the sidelines. We later added, “There's every indication that proprietor, Damien Tscharke is preparing to follow Clarendon Hills onto super stardom...while his wines may not possess the longevity and finesse of some of Clarendon Hills' finest, their sheer sensory impact, coupled with incredibly modest prices, more than make amends". Tscharke has been busy honing his craft as one of Australia's most extraordinary small producers. Here's the latest instalment from this niche, 5th generation grower / winemaker. There has been a label change. The ‘Barossa Grounds Collection” now supersedes the 'Glaymond' label. This is not a superficial marketing gesture. It reflects a more defined approach to viticulture that promotes the vineyard as champion. In fact, two single vineyards from one sub district, 'Marananga', generally considered the tenderloin portion of the Barossa. Tscharke comments, "Over the years, living life as a grape grower and winemaker in the Barossa you draw conclusions as to where the greatest reds are being grown". If you’re Penfolds, Torbreck, Standish etc, and you're aiming for an achingly intense, ultra premium, single vineyard expression that sledgehammers the benchmarks, you go to Marananga. (Recall the almost immediate sell out of Penfold’s Bin 150 Shiraz last year). Tscharke is custodian of two sites here: 'Gnadenfrei', which sits on a ridge of pinkish quartzite, and shallow red/brown earths, and 'Stonewell', a plot of schist and limestone beneath heavy to very light clays. These are relatively marginal growing conditions on some of the oldest soils in the Barossa, where rugged slopes give greater diurnal temperature variation than the valley floor. Fruit typically ripens five to seven days earlier, a result of a warmer microclimate. The vineyards tend to be much lower yielding, the canopies less dense and the dappled sunlight that penetrates into the fruiting zone encourages an earlier onset of flavour accumulation. Tscharke has scaled back production to focus all his energies on specific areas of these terroirs that formed the backbone of the Glaymond wines. It's an exercise in 'micro classification' and super-assiduous fruit selection. Now only the very best of the best make it into his new top tier. The rest is declasssifed into his $15 bargain basement 'Barossa Gold' reds. The 'Barossa Grounds' wines aim for more adult expressions from the Valley. While they deliver typical Barossian lavishness and superb fruit purity, they probably offer more promising cellaring potential than any of Tscharke's previous efforts.
The last time we experienced such a complete collection of single site wines, we were tasting Clarendon Hills, which now sell between $60-$400+/bottle (see page 6-7 for the 2009 offer). Comparisons between the two producers are not unwarranted. The 2010 Barossa Grounds Collection reveals four bargains and three varietals that reach new heights in unexpected territory. Like Clarendon Hills, old vine Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon take on grandiose dimensions, while new life is breathed into Mataro, not to mention Tscharke's glorious sole expression of Marananga Shiraz. None of the wines are fined or filtered. This is Tscharke's 10th year since inheriting the vineyards from his grandfather, Gerhard. It marks a timely turning point, magnifed by a God given vintage that will go down with the likes of 1998 and 2002 as a collector's must.
Grenache from the Gnadenfrei vineyard was 20% whole bunch pressed, with the remainder of the fruit lightly crushed and destemmed into a six tonne open top fermenter, hand plunged 2-3 times a day and foot stomped once during the second week of fermentation. The wine was pressed using a basket press and aged in seasoned 500L French puncheons for twelve months to downgrade the oak impact and highlight the latent fruit. Outstanding black purple colour showing superb colour saturation for Grenache with a deep dark purple red hue. The nose possesses excellent intensity with lifted aromas of black raspberry and dark plum followed by a touch of liquorice, confectionary and some spicy end notes. Boasting impressive weight and richness for the varietal the palate delivers opulent flavours of black raspberry, liquorice and dark plum followed by some earth and a peppery back palate. Good structural qualities with very fine grained tannins. Exceptionally long and persistent aftertaste of black raspberry, black plum, blackpepper and spice.
Cellar 4-5 years (2016-2017)