Friday, September 2, 2011

Kaesler Wines

Kaesler is one of those traditional family companies in the Barossa, based on an old vineyard and with a focus on Rhone variety wines. Somehow, I have never tasted their wines. Well, yesterday I had the opportunity. I sometimes defend the Barossa against the current popular criticism of making overly big and ripe wines, but here it would be truly justified. This was not a great experience.

The first wine was the 2008 Kaesler Avignon, a GSM blend. The wine is full bodied, with quite concentrated fruit, a bit harsh and alcoholic, rather than elegant.

Score: 87/--

The 2008 Kaesler Alte Reben Mataro was a wine I was looking for, as not many old straight Mataros are made in Australia. It tasted of sweet raspberry, was very ripe and actually difficult to digest.

Score: 88/--

The 2008 Kaesler Old Vine Shiraz comes predominantly from 50 to 60 year old vines, I think. The flavour is straight forward plum, almost brandy like with its 15.5% alcohol. There is no subtlety in this wine. Fruit from old vines should taste much more measured and elegant.

Score: 85/---

The 2009 Kaesler Old Bastard Shiraz was the wine I was particularly looking forward to. The fruit comes from the oldest block of the vineyard (100 years +) and it was a better vintage. This is a better wine, but again, the fruit flavour of plum and black cherry does not show a lot of complexity. The wine is more measured at 14% alcohol, and the fine tannins lead to a lasting finish.

Score: 90/-

Overall, my view is that a lack of winemaking skills is applied to these wines. This is particularly so if it is true that the 2008 fruit was harvested before the big heatwave hit (as they all claim - this spin is getting on my nerves: a gold medal to the one who comes forward and says 'the fruit we got in was real crap this year, but look what we turned out'. Wait for the 2011 announcements!) I am afraid I will restrict my Kaesler experience to last night only.

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