Old Vines, what’s the big deal?
The 180-year-old grape-growing and winemaking culture brings Barossa's rich tapestry to life. Along with this remarkable legacy, the region is home to some of the oldest vines on the planet.
So what makes these ancient and gnarly vines so unique? To follow are the thoughts of several old vine wine aficionados.
'The Barossa has a lot of diverse soil types, both across the geography of the sub-regions and down, deep through the soil profile. They can get their toes deep into a lot of unique soil specific to the region that sets them apart. They reflect the true potential of a site, not just the superficial surface of two metres. At 100 years plus and counting, no region can claim such a deep and thorough expression of their soil and terroir as the Barossa. At depth, there is a feast of minerals and trace elements that only exist here; once metabolised by the vine, they create a signature in their tannin and fruit like nowhere else.'
'Old vines add an extra dimension you don't get from younger vines. Wines from old vines are not necessarily bigger, but they have an additional wow factor. I see a beautiful savoury element and a textural richness you only get from old vines, making them inherently more complex and better balanced.'
'Although they may not have the colour profile of more recent clones, the fruit weight and intensity these wines possess is superior to other blocks even when "on the same dirt". This weight and mouthfeel make the wines incredibly rich.'
'Old vines demonstrate a tenacious audacity for survival through various climatic vintage conditions. The fruit gives wines with intensity, power, great structure, perfume, and finesse.'
And as for the world wine media….
James Halliday – The Australian Magazine
“Old Vines produce grapes with an inherent physical and chemical balance, enabling these grapes to produce wines that speak eloquently of place, variety and time”
Jancis Robinson – Jancis Robinson.com - UK
“The world of wine has one irreplaceable resource; I refer to seriously old vines, which, in the right hands, can produce wines of incomparable concentration and complexity”
Matt Kramer – Wine Spectator – USA
“Yes, old vines can make a difference. Everyone knows that nothing is more important than what the Italians evocatively call la materia prima, the foundation ingredient. If you’ve got a good site and good winemaking—which are hardly incidental—then old vines can make a discernible impact. Does all this matter to you as a wine buyer? It does to me. All other things being equal (which they rarely are, I know), I’ll buy an old-vine wine every time. It’s a kind of insurance policy, wouldn’t you say?”
"The world of wine has one irreplaceable resource; I refer to seriously old vines, which, in the right hands, can produce wines of incomparable concentration and complexity."
"The great asset of ancient vines is the rare quality of the fruit they produce, being less a statement about an intense concentration of power and more about achieving an effortless balance of integrated flavours and tannins."