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Sunday, 8 February 2015

Kaesler Vineyards and Winery - Notes on a Centurion

Barossan producer Kaesler, has a reputation for producing wines in a big, rich style - that often associated with 'Parkerisation', with alcohol volumes north of 15% and lavish use of new oak, primarily American.

On the basis of this tasting, it's a reputation that is both unfair and without foundation. Yes, some of the alcohol levels are around the 15% mark (stated), but no higher than that. Oak is present, largely French, and primarily as a frame to set off the fruit - that more often than not, is being picked a little earlier these days. Let's see how this manifests itself in the wines.

Notes are as written at a tasting hosted by Cru Bar & Cellar, with some polishing up for the purpose of presentation on this site. As wines were tasted outside the parameters of my normal approach (over a day or two, with and without food), readers should approach 'scores' with ultra-caution (inferred margin of error of +/- 1-2 points) and as always just see them in the context of the overall note.

2012 Old Vine Semillon $20 10.5%
Unoaked, carries the fresh aromatics of the variety - specifically lemon curd - fine bodied, good line of acid, at three years it has softened in bottle without loss of vitality. Freshness to the fore; little phenolic 'grip' through the palate. 91/92

2014 The Fave Grenache $30 15%
For the last three years, Kaesler Senior winemaker Stephen Dew has worked vintage at Prior Roche in Burgundy. Roch family member, Chrystelle, makes the return trip to the Barossa for the corresponding vintage at Kaesler. CEO and Chief Winemaker Reid Bosward gave up a parcel of fruit off of 80 year-odd (1939 plantings) old vines. The wine is 100% bunch, wild yeast fermented, plunged twice a day for 15 days, then off to oak: French 3-4 year fills. A manner akin to how Prieur Roche approaches production of its fine Burgundies.

50-60 dozen made. Doesn't necessarily carry the spice and funk of a whole bunch PN. Instead, here, we see macerated strawberries, rhubarb; has a Pinot-esque feel to the body. Stems are more evident in the palate with spice, coupled with silken strands through the wine - the polymerisation of tannin lending elegance. Bigger spice on the finish. Excellent quality 93

2012 Stonehorse Shiraz $25 14.5%
Oak, cassis, touches of chocolate. Touch closed. Clean, simple - lacks depth, straightforward - a good glugger. 89

2012 The Bogan Shiraz $60 14%
Continuation of a lighter touch, picked a little earlier, alcohol down a half a degree -or so. Fruit comes from two blocks: Marananga (8 acres 1889 plantings, gentle slope with alluvial plain that represents about 75% of production of Bogan) & Cellar Block (behind CD, contributes about 25% of total production). Spends 15 months in oak - 90% French - of which 25% is new - the balance American third fill. 

Deep, intense aromas - 'Barossan', you might say - but oak is in the background. Black fruit primarily. Elegant, not a 'slap-you-round-the-face' style; composed. Perfume carries in the palate. Delightful. You want to drink that. The most inappropriately named wine. 94

Old Vine Shiraz 2012 $80 14.5%
100% Nuriootpa fruit, propagated from cuttings off of the Old Bastard block in 1960. Itself sited adjacent to the OB. 100% French oak, 30% new - the balance second and third fills. 

Deeper, oak seems a touch more evident (comparatively), a frame to the wine. Blueberry, black fruit, a little pastille. Lithe, supple, touch more body and depth apparent here. 92

The Old Bastard 2012 $200 14.5%
1893 plantings, cellar block. Twenty-one months in oak, 33% new and the balance is second fill. Clay soils, pretty flat. About 10 rows, low cropped. 

Oak, vanillin glaze sitting atop some fruit. Voluptuous, oak giving that silken feel to a wine in balance. Spice of the souk peeking through the back palate. It's a wine of substance, depth, length and character. Grippy, structured, without stripping your palate of life. 95

Tasted on: Saturday 7th February, 
Source: In-store Tasting, Cru Bar+Cellar
Price: $Free, Wines: prices as stated

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