Working in the wine industry is nothing short of a dream, but that’s not to say there aren’t nightmares along the way. Like any profession, it’s as much about the people with whom you work, as it is about the work you actually do. Lucky then, for people like the Kalleske family – sixth generation winemakers from the Barossa Valley who not only make jaw-dropping wine, but do so with an innate kindness and passion that is as organic as the grapes they grow.
In the heart of South Australia’s super premium Barossa Valley, the Kalleske family has been farming and growing grapes since way back in 1853. The deal is, the older the vines, the lower the yield each vine produces. That means that the vine is forced to pack all its fabulous flavours into fewer grapes, leading to a depth, concentration and weight that’s only found in the very finest bottles.
Renowned as one of the region’s most talented grape-growing families, consistently producing immaculate bottles of wine has become second nature for the Kalleskes. Brothers Tony and Troy oversee an expansive 120-acre property that encapsulates the region’s premier varieties including Shiraz, Grenache, Cabernet and Chenin Blanc (just to name a few)… needless to say, Kalleske Wines has a bottle for everyone.
I have been lucky enough to work in close proximity to these sustainable grape growers from the South, and every minute has been an absolute pleasure. Each of their wines tells a story which, when it’s all said and done, is exactly what a quality wine should do.
Here’s my pick from their sensational selection…
Merchant Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 ($28)
The owner of a distinct purple and red hue in the glass, the Merchant’s nose abounds with ripe red cherry, plum, currant and a lingering of tobacco. Barossa Valley Cabernet through and through, the Merchant has excellent cellaring potential but is drinking wonderfully now. Rich, decadent and proudly displaying excellent balance, keep your eye out for dashes of vanilla and oak that ties things together nicely.
Old Vine Grenache 2010 ($45)
One of the best versions of Grenache in the country, this old vine style is bright in varietal characters that include raspberry, blackcurrant and spice. The hugely rich palate is not overbearing and gives way to a fine, velvety tannin structure that is more than appealing and suited to cellaring. Varietally flawless and offering a distinct purity of fruit, this wine allows even the most recreational wine drinker to pick through an abundance of well known, much loved flavours.
Eduard Shiraz 2009 ($85)
One of the finest wines in the Kalleske range, Eduard is a big and brash in both the nose and mouth. Succulent, mouth-coating aromas of chocolate, fruitcake and plum dominate, yet still offer a superb approachability in it’s youth. A wine of absolute perfection, Eduard is warming and matched perfectly to the current temperatures. As far as premium Australian reds go, this is as good as it gets.
It is often said that the wine game is littered with self-righteous, deprecating individuals who work hard to ensure that the industry remains unapproachable. Thankfully there are people like Tony Kalleske and his team, who move mountains to ensure not only his wines and packaging are of quality, but also his brand. If you are ever in the Barossa Valley I implore you drop in and say hello. The team there will look after you (as they have me) like you’re family and you’ll taste some of the country’s greatest wines in the process.
Feature Image Credit: Andy Ellis
Other Images: Kalleske Blog