Ben Glaetzer’s follow-up foursome to the outstanding 2016s are the fruit of another cooler vintage in the Barossa. There was a good dose of rain through the winter and freshening rains fell intermittently through the ripening season, where a cooler-than-average spring was followed by a later-than-normal harvest.
It’s a recipe for another round of brilliant Barossa reds, with lift, layers and freshness marrying the succulent fruit in that typical Glaetzer way. “The 2017 wines are of excellent quality exhibiting purity and lift with firm tannins and exceptional length,” says Ben.
Those who get the wines find that balance remarkable every time. The reviews are yet to roll in on the ’17s, but the comments on their immediate predecessors bear this out. “Juicy and plush… in a harmonious mix,” was Wine Advocate’s take on the ’16 Wallace. “The essence of balance and pleasure results,” was Tony Love’s conclusion from the same-vintage Bishop, while Huon Hooke declared the Anaperenna “a tour de force”. And top of the tree, the ’16 Amon-Ra was for Mike Bennie “beautiful”, “a wine of outstanding refinement” as far as Matthew Jukes was concerned, and had “lovely richness and volume with persistence” according to Andrew Caillard
And so to ’17, then, and Mr Glaetzer has once again coaxed a winning line-up from that succulent, old-vine fruit from Ebenezer.
A wet winter and spring coupled with cooler than average spring temperatures resulted in slower yet balanced canopy development and healthy flowering and fruit set. A mild summer with regular rainfall events followed allowing the fruit to be in no rush to mature, perfect for consistent ripening. Harvest commenced a few weeks later than recent years.– Ben Glaetzer
2017 Glaetzer Wallace Shiraz Grenache RRP $23
A blend of 72% Shiraz and 28% Grenache from 50- to 80-year-old Shiraz vines and Grenache plantings of between 50 and 100 years of age. Yields of 3.5 tonnes per hectare. The liveliness and structure of old-vine Barossa Grenache doesn’t benefit from oak maturation, so oak contact was minimised to preserve the purity and character of the fruit. The Shiraz was matured for 16 months in 2- and 3-year-old oak hogshead barrels (80% French and 20% American).
Glaetzer Wallace takes on the traditional Barossa Valley blend of Shiraz and Grenache in a modern way. The Shiraz brings backbone, flesh and body to the wine with the Grenache adding a soft, vibrant juiciness. The 2017 is vibrant purple with bright red hues. The nose shows wild cherries with a hint of blueberry and rose petal. In the mouth, upfront red berry fruit marries with midpalate richness and brightness from the Grenache. Finishes fresh and long. A wine to enjoy in its youth that will also develop additional complexity over six to eight years of cellaring. Alcohol 14.5%; pH 3.47; total acidity 6.23g/L. – Ben Glaetzer
Blackberry, raspberry, roast beef, flowers and mint. Medium-bodied, a little earthy, spearmint and chocolate, tart acidity buried in ripe fruit, grainy tannin, decent length. Solid. 90 points. Gary Walsh, The Wine Front April 2019
2017 Glaetzer Bishop Shiraz RRP $37
100% Shiraz, cropped at 3 tonnes per hectare. Vines aged 35-120 years old. Fermented in 1- and 2-tonne open fermenters, hand-plunged two to three times daily. Extended maceration was employed to enable good tannin development, so the wine is soft and approachable early. Maturation on lees for 16 months in new (40%) and 2- to 3-year-old oak hogsheads (90% French, 10% American).
Glaetzer Bishop is a true expression of Barossa Shiraz that is elegantly structured with a long finish. In the glass it’s dark red with garnet edges, giving aromas of black cherries, dried spice and blackcurrant. The palate is plush yet focussed, with ripe tannins providing structure to the flavours of blackberry and plum. Great drinking now but this wine will also benefit from 10—12 years of careful cellaring. Alcohol 14.5%; pH 3.46; total acidity 6.68 g/L. – Ben Glaetzer
2017 Glaetzer Anaperenna RRP $60
82% Shiraz and 18% Cabernet Sauvignon. The Shiraz vines are between 30 and 100 years old, the Cabernet between 30 and 130. Yields are 2.5 tonnes per hectare. Fermented in 1- and 2-tonne open fermenters, hand-plunged 3 times daily. Matured for 16 months in 100% new oak hogshead barrels (92% French and 8% American, on lees to maintain fruit profile and animation. Bottled unfiltered to ensure minimal interference with the wine’s natural characteristics.
Glaetzer Anaperenna is a seamless fusion of the two varieties Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. Voluptuous, opulent and yet refined, with a very long and satisfying finish. To the eye it’s impenetrable black with a hint of purple. The nose shows a spectrum of spicy yet plummy fruit, intense notes of liquorice and mixed herbs. In the mouth it displays dense dark flavours yet with freshness and drive. It’s a wine that will mature extremely well with long term cellaring up to 20 years. Alcohol 15%; pH 3.47; total acidity 6.54g/L. – Ben Glaetzer
Stylish packaging. Kahlua, black fruit, mint, sage and vanilla. Full-bodied, sweet tannin, good length, the flavours packed with chocolate, salted beef and herb. Plush. No prisoners. 93 points. Gary Walsh, The Wine Front April 2019
2017 Glaetzer Shiraz Amon-Ra RRP $100
Exceptional old vine 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 1-and 2-tonne open fermenters, hand-plunged 3 times daily. Matured for 16 months in 100% new oak hogshead barrels (95% French and 5% American). Matured on lees and bottled unfiltered.
Amon-Ra Shiraz is an iconic wine that epitomises my passion to create wines that are full-flavoured, multi-layered and intense but still elegant, stylish and finely balanced. In the glass it’s a brooding, vibrant black with bright purple hues. The nose has absolute purity, with black fruit aromas complemented by notes of fragrant spice. The palate is seamless, rich and full-bodied with black plum flavours intermingling with dried spice and finely balanced supple tannin. Impressive yet restrained. This is a wine that will develop beautifully with long term cellaring over decades. Alcohol 15%; pH 3.5; total acidity 6.6g/L. – Ben Glaetzer