Schwarz Meta Barossa Valley Shiraz 2015
2015 was a tough vintage in the Barossa. I experienced that firsthand as I worked a few weeks of the ’15 Barossa harvest with Marco Cirillo and saw much of what went down (have a squizz at some of my observations here).
The key challenge in ’15 was that the dry year ensured everything ripened at once.
At Cirillo, that meant contract Shiraz and Cabernet coming on on the same day – a situation which (theoretically at least) doesn’t normally happen – and a mad scramble for fermentation space.
While Marco was lucky to have space and flexibility to work it out (after working 12 hour days for a month), many others producers were left in a lurch, with space and time constraints leading to growers leaving fruit out, or not picking at all. In turn, that meant stories of Shiraz coming in at 17% potential alcohol was not unheard of…
That said, the best ’15 Barossan wines, however, are just beastly reds. It’s not a vintage for delicacy, but one for ripe flavours, viscosity and big wines.
This Meta is undoubtedly one of the better releases in that ‘bolder’ vein. Handpicked fruit from Stonewell and Moppa, wild fermented with 22% whole bunches and eventually bottled unfined and unfiltered, this is smart wine from a smart maker.
Immediately this is a wine of volume. The purple fruit flavours are ripe and lifted, with much blue and black berries in a luscious fashion. Contrasting the full fruit flavours comes drying, bitter tannins in a mode that helps balance out the mouthful of fruit. Delicious tannins. My only negative is the alcohol – there’s spirity warmth in the corners, despite the 14% alcohol. It just feels boozy and ripe, in a mode that is like 2008 (if grasping for a benchmark vintage) except without the desiccation. Thankfully the tannins give this the structure to carry it through, but in a lesser framework this wouldn’t necessarily work.
Ultimately a good result for the vintage and a cleverly made wine. Best drinking: Earlier rather than later – 2019-2025. 17.7/20, 92/100. 14%, $35. Would I buy it? A glass would be enough.