Bethany, Barossa Valley
The cycle of life in the Barossa vines has been turning for over 150 years, since the Schrapel family planted their first vineyards in 1852. The family arrived in South Australia from Silesia and made their home in Bethany, the Barossa Valley’s first settlement. Today, with Bethany Wines being run by fifth and sixth generations of the same Schrapel family, the vines life cycle continues in much the same way as it always has, with minimal intervention from others so they can produce the best possible grapes and wines.
The Bethany vineyards contain a wealth of old vine Grenache and it was the contoured vines underneath the winery, originally planted in 1960 that were carefully hand picked to make this wine. Blended with Touriga Nacional to provide a touch spice and earthiness, this rosé is both serious and seriously drinkable.
With a beautifully elegant nose of lifted raspberry, cranberry and ginger snaps, this wine opens up intense and focused. The palate is bone dry but has a wonderfully lush red fruit suppleness from the Grenache whilst the Touriga provides a spicy backbone. The finish is long, clean and balanced with a hint of rose petal and lemongrass.
For us in the Barossa Valley, and more specifically for our little patch of dirt on the Eastern ridge of the Barossa Foothills, the weather conditions this year were just about perfect; warm ripening days, cool nights, a couple of splashes of rain in January and February, and a wonderful Indian summer through March and April allowing long, slow ripening of the grapes. The upshot is that the fruit we harvested was perfectly ripe, with balanced fruit flavours, good natural acidity, lovely purity of expression and balanced sugar levels. All this means one thing – great wines! From our first pick on 19th February (Semillon) to our last pick on 25th April (Mataro) we were over the moon with the results.
The relative lateness of the harvest means the second half of the year is a bit more compressed than usual but we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Grenache and Touriga Nacional were hand-picked when showing the right combination of lifted red fruit character and racy acidity. This fruit was then carefully transported up the hill to the winery where it was destemmed, crushed and chilled into our bag press to sit on skins for 3 hours to pick up colour and some very gentle tannins. Once pressed the juice was left to settle and then racked to stainless steel tanks for a long moderately cool ferment to allow the fruit aromatics to come to the fore whilst building some mouthfeel. Once the ferment was complete the wine was rested on lees prior to being prepared for early bottling to maximise freshness.
The contoured Grenache vineyards planted by Geoff and Robert’s father Lawrence, are a quintessential part of the view at Bethany Wines. It’s entirely appropriate then that the Grenache for this rosé was selected from this block to make our first Grenache based rosé. Hand pruned and hand-picked, these old vines yield small volumes of fruit that displays great perfumed intensity and flavour. The vines sit in a mixture of well drained red brown loam and more sandy soil which is ideal to keep the natural vigour of Grenache under control. Cooling South Easterly gully breezes also ensure that natural acidity is retained which is so crucial to rosé. The Touriga Nacional is grown on the Bethanien block just down the road but in more red brown earth over calcareous sub soil. This soil provides fruit of depth and structure but the youth of the Touriga vines (2017 was their first crop) ensures there is ebullient fruit to the fore.