Drunk August 2015 @ home
The Scholz's Australian story began in 1845 when 40 year-old Johann Gottfried joined his neighbours to flee the religious persecution of his Silesian homeland, and emigrate to the Barossa.
He settled at Light Pass, a village which enshrined the work of SA's first Surveyor - Colonel William Light. As well as founding Adelaide, Light had discovered this vital passage through the Mount Lofty Ranges to the River Murray and the Eastern States.
Like the other settlers, Johann established a mixed farm of sheep, cows, crops and fruit trees as well as a few grape vines along the alluvial banks of the North Para River. Johann had also spent most of his early career as a bone-setter in the Prussian Army, a skill much in demand by the settlers of Light Pass.
In 1914, when World War I broke out against Germany, fourth generation Herbert Bernard left for the United States rather than be interned and on his return in 1918, Herbert expanded the hospital he had founded before his departure sold a range of Scholz remedies patented by his brother Albert.
Herbert's son William Herbert, known as "Bert" studied medicine to continue the family tradition and in the late 1960s Bert had been visiting "home" on weekends, turning his attentions from the old hospital which had closed, to the family's commercial vineyard which was planted in 1936.
Unfortunately Bert's enthusiasm about grapegrowing coincided with the industry's worst downturn. In the late 1970s the "red wine boom" became the "red wine glut" and Bert sought a better price for his grapes by transferring his contract from the Kaiser Stuhl Cooperative to Saltram, where an old family friend, Peter Lehmann was chief winemaker.
Not surprisingly, Bert's son Peter took his first winemaking job with Peter Lehmann at Saltram in 1979. Here he entered a dynamic environment, working with Andrew Wigan and Charlie Melton and the Baron himself to produce signature styles of Barossa Shiraz and Cabernet, Riesling and Semillon.
In 1989 the Scholz family opened a cellar door adjacent to the century old hospital and started selling the first wines under The Willows Vineyard label.
First planted in 1936 The Willows Vineyard is located on the banks of the North Para River near the village of Light Pass.
This northern Barossa location is distinguished by its cooling gully breezes during vintage, providing slow ripening and a clearer expression of berry and spice flavours in red wines and lifted varietal fruit characters in whites.
The 100 acre Willows Vineyard ranges from deep alluvial soils, ideal for root development and the vigour of Cabernet and Semillon, to red brown loam over clay and tough sandy soils where old Shiraz vines produce premium quality fruit.
The vines range in age - from the Semillon which is more than 70 years old to the Shiraz, Cabernet and Riesling which were planted in the 1960's and 1970's.
The vines are hand pruned in July and August, establishing a foundation for the controlled yields and quality expected in the following year. Supplementary watering is used to maintain vine health and ensure ripeness and maturity. Watering is restricted to control yield but balanced by the need to avoid stressing the vine too much, as it can be counter-productive to quality.
The Willows philosophy for wine is as follows:
"Our philosophy is that our wines must have generosity of fruit and you can only achieve that if you are in touch with the vineyard."
"Not only are our wines 100% Barossa but they are sourced entirely from our own single vineyard at Light Pass. We don`t have the choice of blending material so what you see is what you get. Everything we do-pruning, supplementary watering, shoot thinning, the time of harvest-is all aimed at achieving ripe tannins and demonstrating the vineyard`s fruit intensity."
"We don`t want big alcoholic, porty reds - We aim for silky ripe tannins rather than grip and want the fruit to shine through in our Shiraz and Cabernet."
"We are also judicious about our use of Oak-we extend the time in barrel to two years but we generally use at least 50% second and third use barrels. We are looking for softness and stability-maturation character not overt oak characters."
100% Barossa Valley Shiraz, Two years maturation in American and French Oak Barrels
This is a classy wine from Australia's Barossa valley with the concentration of fruit you'd expect from the region but with plenty of complexity as well. The 2010 vintage in the Barossa was a good one.
It is deep purple-crimson in the glass, peppery aromas on the nose, with the palette full of berry fruit and a little spice notably cinnamon. It is silky smooth and has a long finish with hints of mocha.