About this WINE
Elderton was established in 1984 by Neil Ashmead - it is now run by Allister and Cameron Ashmead.
The winery is located on the banks of the Barossa Valley`s North Para River just outside the town of Nuriootpa. The fruit is drawn from 31 hectares of high-quality vineyards in the Barossa Valley. Aged between 40 and 102 years old, coupled with minimal irrigation, the vines produce rich, concentrated fruit showing off classic varietal flavours.
Its flagship wine is the Command Shiraz, which is made from small parcels of vines planted in 1939 and 1947. It is matured in American oak puncheons for 24 months and is one of the richest and concentrated examples of Barossa Shiraz to be found today.
Elderton released Tantalus to provide an easy drinking style of premium red at an every day drinking price. Tantalus was a figure from Greek Mythology who was punished for offending the Gods by being kept perpetually thirsty and hungry but tantalised by water and fruit he could see, but not quite reach.
Samuel Smith planted vines here in 1849. Johann Henschke’s farm near present-day Keyneton, then called ‘North Rhine’dates back to 1862. However until the 1950s the region reverted back to livestock to make a living (as irrigation impractical). The 1950s saw a resurgence in the region’s fortunes, thanks to the likes of Cyril Hencshke’s promotion of Riesling. Yalumba acknowledged the region’s high quality fruit by relocating its winery to Angaston in the early 1970s; they had already planted the now famous Pewsey Vale vineyard in 1962. In 1972 they planted their Heggies vineyard with Chardonnay & then in ’84 with Viognier.
At between 380 – 550 metres, the region displays nutrient poor yellow podzolic/sandy & pink quartz soils over decomposed (gneiss) granite. Due to the rocky nature of the soils, irrigation is largely provided by dams & planting densities are higher than average. Compared to Clare Valley, Eden Valley is a marginally higher in altitude, if notably cooler zone with similar sunshine hours but slightly lower levels of continentality.
A noble black grape variety grown particularly in the Northern Rhône where it produces the great red wines of Hermitage, Cote Rôtie and Cornas, and in Australia where it produces wines of startling depth and intensity. Reasonably low yields are a crucial factor for quality as is picking at optimum ripeness. Its heartland, Hermitage and Côte Rôtie, consists of 270 hectares of steeply terraced vineyards producing wines that brim with pepper, spices, tar and black treacle when young. After 5-10 years they become smooth and velvety with pronounced fruit characteristics of damsons, raspberries, blackcurrants and loganberries.
It is now grown extensively in the Southern Rhône where it is blended with Grenache and Mourvèdre to produce the great red wines of Châteauneuf du Pape and Gigondas amongst others. Its spiritual home in Australia is the Barossa Valley, where there are plantings dating as far back as 1860. Australian Shiraz tends to be sweeter than its Northern Rhône counterpart and the best examples are redolent of new leather, dark chocolate, liquorice, and prunes and display a blackcurrant lusciousness.
South African producers such as Eben Sadie are now producing world- class Shiraz wines that represent astonishing value for money.
Joe Czerwinski - 31/08/2018