SCHWARZ WINE COMPANY Nitschke Block Shiraz, Barossa Valley
The Nitschke Block vineyard is on Bethany Road, on the eastern edge of the Barossa Valley floor. It was planted by Jason Schwarz’s parents in 1968 and he made his first wine using grapes from here in 2001. The vineyard is pruned and picked by hand and its soils -- loam over brown and red clays -- produce an opulent wine of concentration and drive that also shows great balance and texture, year in and year out.
The grapes are fermented as whole bunches, using wild yeasts, and the wine is basket pressed and bottled unfiltered after up to 20 months maturation in one to five-year-old French oak barrels. Nitschke Block is a nutty, savoury Shiraz with herbal and spice/pepper notes leading into earth, black cherry, leather, licorice and cocoa with toasty oak in the background. The annual make is 600 dozen or less.
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.