There is another side to the Barossa.
A side that sits beyond big brands, the cellar doors, the marketing budgets and the volume. A world where producers are small, the wines are handmade (in the literal sense of the world), and the interest is high. Think producers like Sami-Odi, Yelland & Papps or Michael Hall.
Add Rock of Wisdom to that list too.
Made by Pete (Rock) & Sofi (Wisdom) Hiscock, these are fun, authentic, well-priced, substantial wines worth tracking down.
The first releases from the brand was just a few years back (with the 2014), and these 2016 reds are again smart and interesting wines – particularly the Mataro.
Rock of Wisdom Mataro 2016
Easily the pick of the range, this is authentic Barossa Mataro all the way. Wild ferment, 12 months in old oak. Meaty, leathery and drying, it’s firm but not hard, with this enthralling dark, dried blackberry flavour that hooks you in. Such depth! It’s a dark fruit tunnel that could almost swallow you up. Lots of appeal here, though needs more time to be genuinely drinkable. Best drinking: 2020-2034. 18/20, 93/100+. 14.2%, $28. Would I buy it? Yes.
Rock of Wisdom Shiraz Viognier 2016
‘Bringing sexy back’ says the bottle. Deep, inky oh-so-purple colour. Has picked up some of the fragrance of the Viognier on the nose, but the palate is all licoricey Shiraz, purple and juicy. The Viognier softens the edges, but doesn’t add sweetness as this is a dry and savoury red. Maybe a bit too alcoholic to finish? Lots of generous appeal though. Winning style in so many ways. Best drinking: 2017-2028. 17.8/20, 92/100. 14.4%, $28. Would I buy it? A glass or two.
Rock of Wisdom Grenache 2016
Good modern Grenache. Despite the alcohol this feels tangy and light – indeed there’s a suggestion of whole bunches in there, the tangy, faintly gamey palate a chorus of red fruit and meaty edges. The alcohol is a bitter stamp on the finish, but not enough to hinder the fun. Nice contemporary Grenache, if just a little warm. Should fill out in bottle too. Best drinking: 2018-2028. 17.7/20, 92/100. 14.4%, $28. Would I buy it? I’d share a bottle.