Ben Glaetzer’s label turns 25 this year, and these two 2019 flagships are a great way to celebrate this Baron of the Barossa’s mastery of his art.
The Ebenezer sub-region in the valley’s north has a monumental reputation for old-vine excellence that belies its size (just one square mile). And that’s thanks to Ben and those growers, like Adrian Hoffmann, who are spot-on with the quality and character of the fruit.
Cool ferments in 1- and 2-tonne stainless-steel pots tease out fragrance and elegance that marries harmoniously with the sheer intensity and complexity of these wines.
Anaperenna brings together Shiraz (84% of the blend in ’19) from vines aged 30—100 years old with Cabernet Sauvignon (16%) from vines aged 30—130 years old. Yields are a measly 2.5 tonnes per hectare. It has beautifully succulent, creamy cherry and blackberry fruit within a long, linear framework.
The Glaetzer Amon-Ra (vines aged 50—130 years old; yields 2 tonnes per hectare) is a classic, too. Though a little more reticent and brooding at this stage, phenomenal detail emerges with time – red and black fruits with whispers of spice, soy, dried herbs, white pepper, coffee, cola and more. Supremely persistent with supple, melting tannins.
THE 2019 SEASON
It was a dry growing season, with very few rainfall events. This, combined with strong winds and minor frost during October, had an impact on flowering and thus lowered ultimate crop levels. This was followed by a hot and dry January and February. However, our vineyards with their deep root systems thrived in the conditions; canopies remained fresh and the small crop ripened nicely. Vintage commenced later than usual as a result of the flowering impact.
The sheer quality and balanced concentration of the fruit was astounding. The resultant 2019 wines are showing dark and vibrant colour, terrific aromatic lift and freshness with tight yet approachable young tannins. – Ben Glaetzer
2019 Glaetzer Wallace Grenache Shiraz $23
The 2019 Glaetzer Wallace is a blend of 78% Shiraz / 22% Grenache. Exceptional old vine fruit was sourced from the famed Ebenezer sub-district at the northern tip of the Barossa Valley. The Shiraz is from Shiraz 50- to 80-year-old vines and the Grenache from 50— to 100-year-old vines. Yields are 3.5 tonnes per hectare.
Old-vine Barossa Grenache has a liveliness and structure that does not benefit from oak maturation, therefore oak contact was minimised for the Grenache component to preserve the purity and animation of the fruit. The Shiraz was matured for 16 months in 2- to 3-year-old oak hogshead barrels (80% French/20% American).
The wine is vibrant dark red. The nose presents a lifted combination of bright red fruits with fresh spice notes of star anise and cedar. On the palate, bright red-berry fruit, redcurrant and licorice flavours complement the soft and rounded Grenache fruit tannin and the savoury finish of Shiraz. Lovely refreshing acidity provides both lift and depth. This is a wine to enjoy in its youth that will also develop additional complexity for up to 8—10 years of cellaring. – Ben Glaetzer
A pretty typical blend of 78% Shiraz (aged in older oak) and 22% Grenache (matured only in stainless steel), the 2019 Wallace Shiraz-Grenache comes across as a bit tarry on first opening, followed by plummy, blackberry fruit, with more savory tones of black olive and bright blueberries on the medium to full-bodied palate. Not overly rich or extracted, this is a fine, silky offering that can be consumed over the next half-dozen years or so. 89 points. Joe Czerwinski, Wine Advocate September 2021
2019 Glaetzer Bishop Shiraz RRP $60
Glaetzer Bishop is a true expression of Barossa Shiraz that is elegantly structured with a long finish. Exceptional fruit from old vines (35 to 120 years) was sourced from the famed Ebenezer sub-district at the northern tip of the Barossa Valley. Yields were 3 tonnes per hectare.
Fermented in 1- and 2-tonne open fermenters. Extended maceration was employed to enable good tannin development so the wine is soft and approachable early. Matured for 16 months in a mix of 40% new oak and 60% 2- to 3-year-old oak hogshead barrels (90% French/10% American).
In the glass it’s dark purple, almost impenetrable. Black fruits abound on the nose. Dark plums and blackberry notes intermingle with anise and fresh spice. The palate is bright and juicy with a wonderfully rich mid-palate that maintains balance and finishes with texture. Flavours of dried spice and dark berry fruits add freshness and dimension. – Ben Glaetzer
The 2019 Bishop Shiraz is all Shiraz and all from the Ebenezer district of the northern Barossa Valley. Aged almost exclusively in second, third and fourth use oak (mostly French), it features slight herbal overtones to the black cherry and black olive notes. It’s medium to full-bodied on the palate, supple, generous and reasonably concentrated, folding in hints of peppery spice and mocha shadings on the velvety, mouthwatering finish. 91 points. Joe Czerwinski, Wine Advocate September 2021
2019 Glaetzer Anaperenna Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon RRP $60
Exceptional old-vine fruit grown in the famed Ebenezer sub-district at the northern tip of the Barossa Valley. The Shiraz (84% of the blend) is from vines aged 30—100 years old; the Cabernet Sauvignon (16%) is from vines aged 30—130 years old. Yields are 2.5 tonnes per hectare.
The fruit was fermented in one- and two-tonne open fermenters and hand-plunged three times daily. The wine was matured for 16 months in 100% new oak hogshead barrels (92% French and 8% American) and matured on lees to maintain fruit profile and animation. The wine is bottled unfiltered to ensure minimal intervention with the wine’s natural characteristics.
The wine is almost glowing black with deep red hues. The nose offers a heady bouquet of mulberries, blackcurrant, clove, aniseed and nutmeg. A fine white pepper nuance intermingles. Fine Cabernet tannins provide the structural framework for the flesh and fruit-driven nature of the Shiraz. A dense yet savoury palate with depth and boldness also exhibits an elegant restraint. This is a wine that will mature extremely well with long term cellaring through to 2040. – Ben Glaetzer
The 2019 Anaperenna Shiraz-Cabernet Sauvignon is an 84-16 blend, all sourced from the northern end of the Barossa Valley. Bottled in October 2020 and scheduled to be released in October 2021, it features lovely lift and delicate herbal nuances on the nose, plus hints of red and black currants and blackberries. Full-bodied and supple, it’s also crisp, long and velvety on the finish, picking up delicious nuances of vanilla, dark chocolate and bright, fresh fruit. 95 points. Joe Czerwinski, Wine Advocate September 2021
84/16% Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon from Ebenezer; 30–100yo Shiraz; 30–130yo Cabernet Sauvignon. Matured 16 months in new (92% French and 8% American) oak hogsheads; unfiltered. Ben Glaetzer’s superpower is upholding glossy brightness and freshness even in the wake of considerable ripeness, all the more impressive in warm drought seasons in the generous northern Barossa. Anaperenna is a showpiece for the modern great Australian blend, brimming in bountiful red and black fruits, backed generously with dark chocolate and coffee-bean new oak. It holds its proportions and considerable alcohol with astonishing confidence, thanks most of all to a bright flash of pure, fresh acidity. 95 points. Tyson Stelzer, Halliday Wine Companion 2022
2019 Glaetzer Amon-Ra Shiraz RRP $100
Exceptional old-vine Shiraz fruit was sourced from the famed Ebenezer sub-district at the northern tip of the Barossa Valley. Vine age 50—130 years old. Yield 2 tonnes per hectare.
Fermented in one- and two-tonne open fermenters, hand-plunged three times daily. Matured for 16 months in 100% new oak hogshead barrels (95% French and 5% American) and matured on lees to maintain fruit profile and animation. Bottled unfiltered to ensure minimal intervention with the wine’s natural characteristics.
Deep purple in youth, this wine will evolve to a lovely dark red hue with maturation. The nose displays blood plum showing hints of dark cherries and dried garden herbs. The palate is rich and mouthcoating yet with the balance, finesse and elegance that epitomises Amon-Ra. An earthy spice complements the brooding dark fruit flavours. This is a wine that will develop beautifully with long-term cellaring through to 2045. – Ben Glaetzer
The 2019 Amon Ra Shiraz is 100% Shiraz and 100% from the 2019 vintage, as Ben Glaetzer felt it—unlike many previous vintages—didn’t need to be freshened with a small proportion of younger wine. From old vines in the Ebenezer district of the northern Barossa Valley, it offers classic notes of blackberries and spice, framed by hints of cedar and vanilla (it’s aged in 100% new oak hogsheads, mostly French). It’s full-bodied yet crisp, supple but tight and really long. Offering lovely dark fruit, hints of espresso and black olive, it finishes mouthwatering and firm. Give it some time in the cellar and drink it from 2025 – 2040. 96+ points. Joe Czerwinski, Wine Advocate September 2021
From 50–130yo vines in Ebenezer. Matured 16 months in new 95% French and 5% American oak barrels; unfiltered. Gloss and polish of superb black fruits, framed in superfine tannins are Ben Glaetzer’s hallmarks. He continues to hone his talent at sustaining brightness and freshness, even in northern Barossa Shiraz of monumental proportions. This represents one of his finest works yet. Bitter dark chocolate oak holds an enticing finish that ricochets with inky black fruits and licorice. 96 points. Tyson Stelzer, Halliday Wine Companion 2022