By Andy Young
Calabria Family Wines has launched The Iconic Grand Reserve Barossa Valley Shiraz 2012, the most expensive wine the family has released and a labour of love for owner and winemaker Bill Calabria.
The fruit for the wine comes from vineyards in Nuriootpa in the Barossa and which contained vines that were originally planted in 1914. When the family bought the vineyards in 2010, the vines had been neglected for two years, but Calabria and his family worked on restoring the vines and in 2012 there were enough high-quality grapes for the family to hand-harvest The Iconic's fruit.
“We are honoured and truly excited to share this much-loved Shiraz which represents a new page for our family,” Calabria said.
“Someone was working hard in 1914 when they planted these vines, and we’ve done our very best to maintain their integrity and the fruit they produce. This premium wine represents not only our family’s love and dedication for the craft of winemaking, but also the families before us that worked hard and made sacrifices to develop the vineyard.”
In 1995 and 1996 Robert Parker gave 100 points to wine that was produced using fruit from these vineyards. Calabria said when launching the wine on Monday that there had been no cost cutting in the production of this wine. "This is not just about the Calabria family making good wine," he said. "It is about Australia making good wine."
In 2012 summer temperatures were cooler than average, which resulted in fruit that matured slowly and contained balanced flavours. After being hand-picked and hand-sorted, the fruit was fermented in traditional open vats for seven days before being pressed to barrel. The wine then matured in French oak for 18 months prior to being bottle-matured for a further 12 months.
“The Iconic means a lot to our family, and especially to my father,” sales and marketing manager Andrew Calabria said.
“His goal in restoring the centenarian vineyards was about putting the love back into the vines. They are old, brittle and incredibly fragile, and we all feel privileged to be able to not only touch and care for something that is 100 years old, but to be able to then develop a magnificent wine from them.”
“Dad considers himself somewhat of a custodian to this vineyard and has passed along his great pride in working with and caring for it.”
The Iconic is available now at fine wine retailers nationally, with an RRP of $175. The family produced 3000 litres of the wine, so around 4000 bottles.