Robert O'Callaghan's Rockford Basket Press Shiraz is one of the Barossa Valley's most important wines. It entered Langton's Classification of Australian Wine in 2000 and was promoted to the highest – 'Exceptional' – category in 2005.
It is sold almost exclusively to Rockford's own mailing list customers and is rarely made available to the retail market.
Basket Press manages to combine the concentration and power of the traditional Barossa Shiraz style of the 1950s and '60s with the supple freshness of contemporary winemaking.
It has achieved its high status in a relatively short time: the first vintage was 1984.
Rockford’s squat, high–shouldered brown bottle - reminiscent of 1940s red wine packaging - is instantly recognisable.
A complete Barossa traditional Shiraz; moderate alcohol, oak and tannins, yet full of flavour and character. Has taken full advantage of a very good vintage. In its own-branded, high-shouldered brown bottle. 96 points, Wine Companion.
Aromas of plum, raspberry, Turkish Delight, milk chocolate and leather with a tasteful application of vanilla oak. Medium to full bodied palate. Not a blockbuster by any means. There are flavours of berry, plum, milk chocolate and leather. Smooth fine tannins and a beautiful supple texture. Long berry and leather finish. Right up there with my two favourite BP vintages – ’99 and ’96. No shame in opening one now either, although a third of a bottle hardly moved when left overnight.
96 points, The Wine Front (November 2006)
We have a beautiful wine on our hands here. It is the best Basket Press Shiraz since 1999. I’m one of those people who loves the pants off Rockford in the Barossa Valley, but who also feels as if the standard hasn’t quite been what it once was over the past four or five years. It’s been good, but not the superstar we all know it to be – it hasn’t dropped, it’s just taken a bit of a buffering, to my taste. The 2004 takes that bad attitude of mine and puts a cork in it. It’s got a beautiful nose, a beautiful palate, a beautiful frame of tannin, and succulent, smoochy length. I could kiss this darling all night long, and God how I wish that I could – every night. Barossa shiraz – you know the flavours. Low oak, black fruit, coal and earth. Once you finish each mouthful, it still feels like it’s got a firm, mesmerising grip on you. One sip, and there really is no escape.
96 points, The Wine Front (October 2006)
Colonel William Light, the South Australian colony’s Surveyor-General, named the Barossa in 1837 after the site of an English victory over the French in the Spanish Peninsular War. In the mid-1800’s Silesian and English immigrants settled in the area. The Barossa itself comprises two distinct sub-regions: Eden Valley and the warmer Barossa Valley floor at 270m.The Barossa Valley enjoys a warm Mediterranean climate characterised by hot dry summers and relatively low rainfall. Cool sea breezes from the Gulf of St Vincent modify the temperature, however hot northerly winds can occasionally dominate creating considerable vine stress. Many older established vineyards are dry-grown, but supplementary irrigation is also extensively used. The valley is comprised of rich brown soils and alluvial sands. A long history of uninterrupted viticulture in the area means the Barossa valley is home to Australia’s largest concentration of old-vine Shiraz, Grenache and Mourvedre with many over 100 years old. Although most famous for Shiraz, the Barossa can also produce fragrant and deliciously fruity Grenache blends and beautifully rich, chocolatey Cabernet Sauvignons.