June 10, 2011 Kalleske Wines
Kalleske Wines Greenock Shiraz
I’ve been planning to profile Kalleske from the beginning days of this blog. I very much enjoyed the story behind the winery — a pair of seventh-generation brothers deciding to redirect the family’s vineyard operation from the long tradition of growing grapes for sale, to the beginning of a brand new tradition, the start-up of their very own Kalleske winery. All with amazingly positive results.
The first generation of the Kalleske family sailed from Prussia to South Australia in the mid-1800s. They settled on farmland in the Barossa Valley, near the village of Greenock. From the beginning growing grapes was part of the farming enterprise, something which continued with each succeeding generation. Nobody, it seems, had taken much interest in commercial winemaking until Troy Kalleske came along. His stellar university years studying oenology were followed by stints at various Australian wineries (including Penfolds), as well as time in Somona, California.
In 2002 Troy (right) teamed up with his older brother Tony (then established in a successful business career) to start Kalleske Wines. Today there are about 50 hectares under vine, in 30 individual blocks, one of the higher vineyard elevations in the Barossa. The only vineyard not adjacent to the core farm property is the Greenock vineyard where the grapes for this Greenock shiraz are grown. The 4.5 hectares are made up of a shallow layer of sandy loam atop red clay and limestone.
Kalleske Wines remains very much a family operation. The parents manage the vineyards. Tony looks after the business side of things. Other family members are in charge of various other aspects of the operation. Troy, still only in his early 30s, continues to gather a great deal of attention with his wines, now all under organic or biodynamic production. In 2008 he was named Barossa Winemaker of the Year. Beside the dozen different bottlings from Kalleske’s own vineyards, he is also the man behind Pirathon, a multi-award-winning shiraz made from his blend of grapes from eight different growers in north-western Barossa.
Kalleske Wines Greenock Shiraz 2004
It is everything I like about the best shiraz – deep, rich and approachable. It immediately speaks of Australia, but in the best possible way. It is not over the top in extraction, but feels made by someone who rates subtle complexity over raw power. It is rich yes – black fruit, cassis, spice – with considerable body, but entirely balanced. More than anything it is flavourful, a down-to-earth, very well made wine that makes me wish I had more in my cellar. Alas, the experience is not likely to be repeated. I will just have to move on to other Kalleske offerings. Not a problem.