Brothers-in-law Daniel Chaffey-Hartwig and Theo Engela are the latest generation of the Chaffey family to ply their vinous trade in Australia. The original Chaffey brothers (Canadian hydro engineers) were true iconoclasts. They arrived in Australia in 1886 and proceeded (along with a number of their descendants) to make an indelible mark on the Australian wine landscape.
Their handmade minimal intervention wines come from individual parcels of low yielding vineyards, spread throughout the Barossa and Eden valleys. Drawing on true old vines and complex soils, they see themselves as part parfumier - discovering delicate aromatics; part historian - preserving the purity of pristine fruit; and part mad scientist - revelling in the lost art of small batch blending.
Old vines of Eden Valley Riesling and Barossa valley Grenache and Shiraz are their building blocks... Their pillars.
From the revered Fechner Bros. vineyard in the Northern Eden Valley (the higher altitude sub-region of the Barossa). The Fechner Bros. have the only Kerner vineyard in Australia after they encountered the Riesling cross-breed during a visit to Germany in 2003. This vineyard is adjacent to a Limestone quarry. These vines are all growing through a layer of clay into Limestone bedrock, which underpins the aromatic impact. The small triangle of Kerner is planted on an ideal east-facing slope. A prevailing breeze here keeps the vineyard dry, which allows for a light-handed approach to disease control.
The Kerner is hand picked and whole-bunch pressed to allow for gentle skin contact only. Fermentation occurs on gross solids in a temperature controlled stainless steel fermenter using a combination of indigenous and selected yeasts to develop and protect delicate aromas. As a stylistic choice, we do not use any fining throughout the winemaking process and only minimal SO2 is added prior to chilling, with 7.1g/L of the natural grape sugar allowed to remain in the wine to emphasise the textural nature of this variety.
Citrus rind, grapefruit with spicy complexity. On the palate there's a surprising length and power with a hint of pleasing bitterness and chalky minerality.
Pair with chicken with lemon, Pad Thai or cod fillet with fennel.