The Shiraz “1885” Barossa Valley Peter Lehmann Very Special Vineyard was fermented and macerated on the skins for 14 days. Following gentle basket pressing and settling in tank, the wine was matured in French Oak hogsheads (30% of which were new, 70% of which were 3rd or 4th use) for 18 months prior to bottling.
Ebenezer, in the north-west of the Barossa, is home to Ralph and Angela Schrapel who are sixth generation guardians of a very special patch of Shiraz planted by their forebears in 1885. Planted on its own roots on red brown earth soils, at over 300m above sea level, this four acre block is home to extremely low-yielding, gnarled and twisted Shiraz vines which produce top-quality grapes with great intensity of flavour.
Peter Lehmann started his own winery in 1979, partly as a means of helping with the glut of grapes then afflicting the Barossa. “I’ll take your grapes and turn them into wine,” he told the desperate growers, many of them conservative farmers of Silesian descent who regarded their old vines as part of their patrimony. “But I’ll only be able to pay you when I sell the wine.” They gratefully accepted. Without this deal, it is widely thought that the Barossa would have lost a large swathe of its old vines. The crisis passed, in large part thanks to Peter’s energy and vision, and the Lehmann winery became one of the Barossa’s – and Australia’s – outstanding wineries.