Ben Glaetzer loved it from the word go. As was the case with ’16 – another harvest whose class wasn’t trumpeted across Australia but which had Ben smiling like a Cheshire cat from the moment it came of the vine – 2018 felt good, looked super in the cellar and was delightful from the first sip out of the bottle.
The growing season started well with above-average winter rainfall but was followed by well below-average spring and summer rainfall, coupled with warm temperatures. Fortunately the Glaetzer vines were in perfect balance with healthy canopies giving even ripening and development of fruit flavour.
Picking kicked off very early, in late January. Calm Indian summer conditions began in early March which were perfect for finishing off vintage.
“The resulting 2018 wines are of exceptional quality,” says Ben. “They have intense depth of colour and astounding aromatic purity, plus richness and brightness on the palate.”
We love Ben’s judgment. It’s sometimes overlooked how well he knows his fruit and how precisely – and subtly, actually – he gets the best out of it. Balance is balance, and it’s a feat of brilliance to pull it off. Once again, these are intense wines with a happy and glorious marriage of fruit with texture and structure.
2018 Glaetzer Wallace Shiraz Grenache RRP $23
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.
In 2018 the blend is 72% Shiraz (50— to 80-year-old vines) and 28% Grenache (50- to 100-year-old vines). Exceptional old-vine fruit was sourced from the famed Ebenezer sub-district at the northern tip of the Barossa Valley. Yields were 3.5 tonnes per hectare.
Old vine Barossa Grenache has a liveliness and structure that doesn’t benefit from oak maturation. Oak contact was thus 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). Alcohol 14.5%; pH 3.49; TA 6.12g/L.
The wine is dark, vibrant red. The nose shows bright red fruits, masses of cherry and a hint of strawberry freshness. Flavours of plum, cherry and cranberry. Soft, supple tannins from the Grenache provide freshness and the Shiraz gives both weight and length. – Ben Glaetzer
It’s easy to come at and easy to like, no burrs or hassles, just a bundle of sweet, spice-laden fruitiness with a little grip, decent sense of freshness, quilt-like satiny plushness and a modest but appealing finish. The sweetness builds up but doesn’t overbear, but it’s notable, and the counter point in saline, tangy acidity lingering does its best in a counter. It feels like an upmarket BBQ wine and fits the bill well. 91 points. Mike Bennie, The Wine Front July 2020
2018 Glaetzer Bishop Shiraz RRP $37
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). Alcohol 14.5%; pH 3.5; TA 6.38g/L.
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
All Shiraz, all from the Ebenezer section of the northern Barossa, the 2018 Bishop Shiraz is a super value in the context of Barossa, and Australian Shiraz in general. Matured in only 5% new oak hogsheads, it delivers bountiful cherry and raspberry fruit, accented by hints of mocha and cola. It’s medium to full-bodied, plump and juicy, fruity and lush, but reined in by firm, savory tannins on the long, mouthwatering finish. It should drink well for up to a decade. 92 points. Joe Czerwinski, Wine Advocate August 2020
2018 Glaetzer Anaperenna RRP $60
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. In 2018 the blend is 82% Shiraz (vines aged 30 to 100 years) and 18% Cabernet Sauvignon (vines of 30 to 130 years of age). Yield 2.5 tonnes per hectare.
Exceptional old-vine fruit was sourced from the famed Ebenezer sub-district at the northern tip of the Barossa Valley. Fermented in 1- and 2-tonne open fermenters, hand-plunged three times daily. 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. Bottled unfiltered to ensure minimal intervention with the wine’s natural characteristics. Alcohol 14.5%; pH 3.51; TA; 6.35 g/L.
The wine has dark purple hues framing a depth of black. The nose shows complex layers of black fruits with a slight herbal lift and notes of anise spice. On the palate, there are hints of dark cherry and dried spice with seamlessly integrated tannin. – Ben Glaetzer
For the 2018 Anaperenna Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon, Glaetzer blended in 18% Cabernet Sauvignon to give the wine increased fragrance and length. The nose is smoky, slightly herbal and marked by sweet cedar- and vanilla-tinged oak, but it also offers great cassis and blackberry fruit. Full-bodied, rich and concentrated, the flavors are kept nicely in check by fine-grained tannins. This wine has it all: terrific intensity, complexity, length and texture. 97 points. Joe Czerwinski, Wine Advocate August 2020
Very deep, dark glass staining purple colour. The bouquet is chocolaty and richly oaked, concentrated and dense and plummy, the same flavours on the palate, which is rich and opulently lavish. Sweet fruit to burn. A gorgeous Shiraz in the bigger style. 94 points. Huon Hooke, The Real Review July 2020
2018 Glaetzer Amon-Ra Shiraz RRP $100
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. Exceptional Shiraz from old vines (50 to 130 years) was sourced from the famed Ebenezer sub-district at the northern tip of the Barossa Valley. Yields were 2 tonnes per hectare.
Fermented in 1- and 2-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. Alcohol 15%; pH 3.51; TA 6.32 g/L.
The wine is midnight black with inky purple tones. The nose is an enticing combination of blue and black fruits with notes of espresso and dried spice. The palate is rich and deep yet bright and fresh. Multilayered flavours of nutmeg, cloves with brooding dark berry fruit and firm tannins of exceptional length. – Ben Glaetzer
Certainly one of the best vintages of young Amon Ra I’ve ever tasted, the 2018 Amon Ra Shiraz is a stupendous effort. From old vines in the Ebenezer section of the northern Barossa, it starts off with a whirlwind of mocha, blackberry and dried spices, then actually gets more red-fruited as it sits in the glass. Full-bodied, rich and concentrated without being jammy or overdone, the wine finishes long and savory, framed by dusty tannins and mouthwatering black olives. Winemaker Ben Glaetzer compares 2018 to 2004 (which continues to drink well). Expect the 2018 to drink well young, but easily age through 2035, perhaps longer. 98 points. Joe Czerwinski, Wine Advocate August 2020
Deep, dense, glass staining purple/red colour, with a rich dark chocolate and graphite bouquet which is ripe and oak-infused – but not ‘oaky’. The palate is also very rich and ripely fruit-sweet, lush and very lovely. A sumptuous wine that will age long-term but also gives great pleasure now. 96 points. Huon Hooke, The Real Review July 2020
Big Barossa Shiraz comes into its own in winter. Few wines warm the cockles quite the same way, and there’s a special sort of comfort that comes from a glass or two served with hearty winter fare while chill winds blow. Amon-Ra is consistently one of the best in the style, and this latest edition is right in the groove.
Impenetrable blackish-purple in the glass, its nose offers a complex mix of dark fruits, spices, dark cocoa, earth and new leather. A thread of fumey alcohol doesn’t mar it. It’s intense in the mouth, with crushed berry, spicy and chocolatey flavours, and the ripe tannins are an object lesson in how to achieve exact balance without toughening the palate.
It’s still closed up and a bit unyielding, but a few bottles put away for a decade or more should be a great investment for winters yet to come. 95 points. Ralph Kyte-Powell, The Real Review July 2020