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Monday 17 June 2024

Old Bastard delivers Barossa power and precision

If you want a big, bold Barossa shiraz that is full of flavour and personality but also has balance, then Kaesler is a label to have on your radar.

Kaesler recently launched its new vintage icon portfolio, headed by the 2022 vintage of its flagship Old Bastard ($350), alongside the 2021 editions of its ‘Old Vine’ Shiraz and ‘Alte Reben’ Shiraz.

The new releases also include the 2021 ‘Age of Light’ Cabernet Sauvignon and ‘WOMS’ Shiraz Cabernet blend.

Chief winemaker Tim Dolan believes the consecutive vintages of 2020 and 2021 delivered terrific results for Barossa producers.

“This Old Bastard Shiraz is our flagship wine and is released as a four-year-old shiraz," Dolan says.

"The name is fitting, referring to a small number of old gnarly bush vines planted in 1893. These ‘old bastards’ flourished during the 2020 vintage, with dry and warm conditions throughout spring into summer, resulting in significantly reduced yields.

“We believe wine is made in the vineyard, and the mild conditions throughout the harvest period enabled a long, even ripening period. The resultant wine is deep and brooding, like an iron fist wrapped in a velvet glove.”

It is certainly a wine with immense power - and long-term cellaring potential.

For more immediate drinking pleasure, the Old Vine’Shiraz and Alte Reben Shiraz (both $110) are better prospects, but remain wines of concentration and palate weight.

The Kaesler family had a long history in the wine business with the Silesian migrants establishing their vineyards in the 1890s.

The family settled in Barossa in the 1840s and purchased 96 acres in 1891. By 1893, they had planted the entire acreage with shiraz, grenache and mataro vines with much of the fruit still sourced gnarly dry-grown vines.

“Our Icon wines are a true testament to the history, soil, and place of Barossa," says Dolan.

"Access to premium old vine material means we can produce bold estate wines representative of Barossa Valley. In fact, the intensity of the old vine shiraz inspired the production of the Old Bastard.

In 1999, agribusiness entrepreneur Ed Peter, winemaker Reid Bosward, and business partners purchased the property and immediately regenerated the old vines.

The Kaesler team, now led by general manager and viticulturist Nigel Van der Zande, view themselves as the custodians of the ancient vineyards.

“At Kaesler, we strive not only to maintain but rebuild the soils because we want to leave these precious old vines in better condition than we found them," says Van der Zande.

"It’s a process called regenerative farming, as it’s more than sustainability; it is a constantly evolving practice, so we are not just sustaining the environment, we are aiming to improve it.”


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