Jason Schwarz came to winemaking via a circuitous path. While he grew up surrounded by vines at his parent’s property in Bethany, he initially studied wine marketing at the University of Adelaide.
On completion of his studies he headed overseas visiting Bordeaux, Burgundy, and Napa Valley, working in Stellenbosch and Zell, Germany. It was during his travels that he realised that his calling was winemaking rather than marketing and on his return to the Barossa in 1998 Jason began working in local wineries.
While not holding any formal qualifications in winemaking, Jason’s appetite for the subject was voracious and he was lucky to learn from some of the Barossa’s finest winemakers until finally, after some encouragement from friends he approached his father to discuss buying a small parcel of his fruit from the 2001 vintage.
He agreed and Jason put together his first Nitschke Block Shiraz, making only two hogs head barrels. In 2002 he produced my first Thiele Road Grenache and he’s made both wines every vintage since.
Relationships with some of the Barossa’s finest vignerons have grown over the years and having access to some of the region’s best old-vine fruit allows Jason to take a hands-off, intuitive approach in the winery.
Jason employs a minimal intervention winemaking style enabling him to create small-batch wines that are not mainstream – they are new-age expressions of Barossa classics, designed to allow the fruit to speak for itself and tell a story through the glass.
The fruit for this wine was grown over seven sub regions in the Barossa Valley; from Moppa in the north to Hallett’s Valley in the south with Bethany as the dominant sub region. The fruit was sourced from 13 growers from vineyards in Bethany, Stockwell, Moppa, Marananga, Light Pass & Stonewell.
Grenache 52% Shiraz 42% Mataro 6%
The fruit was harvested dependant on ripeness and flavour with the Grenache and Mataro parcels all hand-picked. All fruit was fermented in small, open top fermenters for approximately 8-15 days with wild yeast (naturally occurring yeast from the vineyard) Pump overs, hand plunging, and foot stomping was carried out as required.
25% of the blend is whole bunch (bunches of grapes added to the fermentation tank without the berries removed from the stalk. This process assists with tannin structure as the stalks break down in the fermentation process) The ferments were then softly pressed and kept separately until final blending late April.
60% of the blend was matured in small tanks, maintaining the freshness and vibrancy of the wine, with the remaining parcels matured in French oak puncheons and hogsheads.
A deep and purposeful nose, opening with cherry liqueur, liquorice and violet with dustings of cocoa powder and a little brambly fruit. Mataro plays a supporting role, injecting a little grunty savouriness that’s in tune with the overall supple nature of this year’s GSM. The palate is all supple tannins, perky fruit flavour and signs off with a little marzipan kiss.