Fine tuned, minimally handled wines from enviable old vine sources
Find great fruit. Handle minimally to allow full expression of vintage and place. A dececeptively simple philosophy to raising some phenomenal wines.
Schwarz Wine Co has for some time been at the forefront of contemporary Barossa winemaking, crafting site and vintage transparent wines of perfume, structure, and finely etched detail. The family vineyards provide the backbone of the label, though Jason Schwarz’s relationships with talented growers are paramount to an enviable cache of old vine fruit sources. Touch the fruit lightly, don't pick too late, keep oak use in check - the house style here is pure and vibrant.
SCHWARZ CHENIN BLANC 2016
The lone white of the stable, very much in keeping with Jason's approach of freshness and drinkability, weighing in at a most modest 12.1% alcohol. Gentle, crisp and refreshing, it leads with pear, honeysuckle, paw paw and hay. In the mouth it has crunch, with mineral salt and lees character reminiscent of aged cheddar. Pear remains the dominant fruit character through the pulpy finish.
SCHWARZ ROSÉ 2017
Rosé – yes please! A blend of Mataro and Grenache, with a Provençal salmon shade and similar level of dryness. This gives our Provence wines a run for the money, one of Australia's best examples of the style. Zippy up front, it's got strawberries and raspberries, a watermelony juiciness, and a zestiness to its acid. It's got further complexity from it mineral component which lengthens the finish and evokes limestone and chalk. Firmly pushes back on the luscious, fruit sweet reputation of Barossa rosés of old - serious + refreshing = serious refreshment.
SCHWARZ GSM 2015
A vibrant nose of floral perfume, with some sappy and earthy notes. A medium bodied style, bright, juicy and sloshy in the mouth, this is an easy drinking wine which maintains concentration of fruit. Blackcurrants and black cherry are complexed by licorice, rosemary and a touch of spice, with tannins fresh and fine. A moreish glass to glasser.
"You have to admire the way this wine presents. It’s earthen and spicy, with redcurrant running through, and yet it’s pure silk in terms of mouthfeel. Ultra modern in many ways and yet the fruit and earth does all the talking; it’s just as apt to call it ultra traditional. Tannin curls freely through the back half of the wine. Graphite and clove notes makes cameo appearances. It’s all so very well done." 92 points, Campbell Mattinson, www.winefront.com.au
SCHWARZ SHIRAZ 2015
A fresh and perfumed nose, violets the leading impression over musk and blue fruit. The palate is rounded with great shape and feel in the mouth, and while the acid profile adds freshness and a precision to the flavours, the wine is by no means austere or lacking generosity. Flavour-wise it’s pretty classic Barossa Shiraz, full of black fruits, dried herbs and earth. Works as a young drinker or will certainly reward a few years down.
"It’s smooth as silk. It’s substantial and yet not at all overdone; it sits at the upper end of medium-weight. It offers dark, roasted, blackberry-earth-coffee flavours but it remains fresh. There’s a coal-like, clovey character to the nose and then a juicy run of berried flavour on the palate. It suggested at a graphite-like savouriness but generally holds true to berried fruit, aided by a slip of licorice. It’s a modern expression of the Barossa without getting too high falutin’ about it. It’s very nicely done." 92 points, Campbell Mattinson, www.winefront.com.au
SCHWARZ META GRENACHE 2017
Hand picked, wild yeast, 91% whole bunch, unfined and unfiltered, 13.8% alcohol. 220 dozen produced.
Here’s where things start to get a bit more serious. Drop whatever pre-conceptions you may have about Barossa Grenache – this variety is perhaps the best showcase of Schwarz’s precise and fine tuned style. The paler colour gives hint to the whole bunch make, with stemmy impressions weaving through the lifted nose of red berries, rhubarb, cherry and spice. Deserves comparisons to Pinot Noir as an aromatic, crisp and textured food wine.
"That’s a whole lot of whole bunch. It shows in the wine. It hits you with smoky, nutty, spicy flavour, challengingly so, though it then backs it with Turkish delight and pure plum flavours. It yells at you but then lets you off easy. It does though remain grabby and light. It looks a little murky in the glass, which I don’t mind at all. This is grenache as food. Pulpy, savoury, smoked. You wouldn’t think it’s to everyone’s taste but who cares. It works." 92+ points, Campbell Mattinson, www.winefront.com.au
SCHWARZ META MATARO 2016
Hand picked, wild yeast, 15% whole bunch, unfined and unfiltered. 13.7% alc. 112 dozen produced.
Big time aromatics here, varietal black cherry over pepper and some alluring meaty/bacon character. An array of black fruits on the palate, a sweet and saline interplay, brambly even but ultra fresh. Maintains fineness of persona over so much fruit power, with a fresh acid driven finish over fine ripe tannin and stony mineral. Wines such as this show just what an exciting and pleasurable variety this can be.
" Saucy spices, cinch of stalk and smoke, blackberry and boysenberry. Medium bodied, grainy and stalky, but with nutty and plump bramble fruit, cool acidity and a pleasant spray of amaro herbs in the aftertaste. Lovely wine. Good now, likely better later." 92+ points, Gary Walsh, www.winefront.com.au
SCHWARZ META SHIRAZ 2015
Hand picked, wild yeast, 24% whole bunch, unfined and unfiltered. 14.2% alcohol. 112 dozen produced.
Lucid is the theme for this release - structured, perfumed, a lovely line of fruit. Plums, blue and black berries on the nose which continue to the palate, over coffee and a definite violet floral note. Tannins are fine and ripe which keep things fresh and moreish, not a palate overwhelming style by any means. Power and freshness here, as is this house’s theme.
"A touch of coffee-like flavour but it’s essentially fruit-driven and bold, its heart of blackberry wrapped in chicory and liquorice. Mouth-filling but mannered. Supple tannin draws the strings in a casual manner. Fruit really is to the fore from start to finish. The door isn’t closed; Barossa shiraz is open for viewing, and on clear display." 92 points, Campbell Mattinson, www.winefront.com.au
SCHWARZ THIELE ROAD GRENACHE 2014
Thiele Road Grenache has been produced since vintage 2002, a foundation wine of Schwarz, and a vineyard owned by the family. The gnarled old vines were planted in 1941, with the vineyard in the Bethany sub region.
Stylistically, this continues the theme of outside the normal box Grenache, its lines more sharply drawn, though with a little more meat on the bones than Meta. An interesting take on this wine from Campbell Mattinson:
"Grenache for those who really wish they were drinking nebbiolo. Light in colour and flavour but stern with tannin and prettied up with aroma. You can go either way on this. You can decry the slight flavour profile. Or you can look at the notes of liquorice root, earth and raspberry and the tie of tannin/acid and think: happy days." 91 points, Campbell Mattinson, www.winefront.com.au
SCHWARZ NITSCHKE BLOCK SHIRAZ 2014
The wine where it all began - Jason approached his father to buy some of his Nitschke Block fruit in 2001, producing two hogsheads. This dry grown vineyard produces intense and clear flavours, maximized here by smart winemaking and a restrained use of oak.
"This is a purposeful red, sturdy, earthen, savoury and yet flooded with deep blackberry and tar, almost into molasses. There’s more than a little floral lift, viognier-esque, with roasted/toasty characters playing in harmony with the darkness of the fruit. Everything here is in a good, firm, neat, flavour-rich place. Very good/excellent." 93 points, Campbell Mattinson, www.winefront.com.au
SCHWARZ THE SCHILLER SHIRAZ 2014
Jason stumbled on this plot of 400 Shiraz vines planted by Carl August Otto Schiller, dated to around 1881. Earmarked for bulldozing, Jason's offer to buy the fruit would see these ancient vines remain in the ground.
Too often, winemakers throttle their 'reserve' or flagship wine with excessive oak or extraction - not here. The nose throws up pure aromas of turned earth and hay, just hinting to the fruit lurking within. In the mouth, the body is sloshy rather than thick, it oddly dances between intense concentration yet feels nimble. It's an array of black fruits - berries and plums, with a lick of coffee/mocha and further earthen flavours revealing through a finish of magnificent proportions. Purity of fruit remains paramount throughout, the full flight of concentration that only ancient vines can muster. Barossa Shiraz in all its glory.