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.
It’s not a wine of bells and whistles. But it is a well-balanced, medium-bodied, appropriately ripe wine, full of blackberried fruit flavour with extra notes of kirsch, licorice, earth and black pudding. There’s a smidge of cedary, vanillin oak but you really need to go looking for it, and its tannins are sweet and ripe and sure. I like this quite a lot. It’s not beefy; it’s settled and controlled. 93 points, WineFront.
The brown glass, high-shouldered proprietary bottle gives the right message: this is a classic, gently understated Barossa Shiraz that will sail on for decades... Drinking it sooner would not be a capital offence. 95 points, Wine Companion.
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.