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.
Difficult season, but it's not a difficult wine. Fans of the label with some already stashed in their cellar can breathe easy. It's fuller in body than the season might have predicted, but more elegant than is usual for this wine. Blackberry, raspberry, coffee grounds, toast and vanilla fill it out, with herbs and peppers whispering through the finish. Tannin is the key: it's ripe, fine, marked by its finesse and yet determined to get its point across. Perhaps not a long-termer, but no doubting either its merit or drinking appeal.
95 points, Wine Companion (October 2014)
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.