Brockenchack Wines, Jack Harrison 2015
I’ve previously written about the genius of Trevor Harch and his winemaking team at Brockenchack, but having recently sampled the Jack Harrison 2015 Shiraz, I felt compelled to “blow” some more of the proverbial “smoke”. Now, to put it in perspective, just before sampling his premium shiraz I had just sipped and quickly tipped out a glass of the “Cat Amongst the Pigeons” Barossa Shiraz (sorry to those who enjoy that particular Woolworths label), so my taste buds may well have appreciated the uptick in quality. But even without the moderating influence of the ordinary precursor, the Brockenchack shiraz is a wine worthy of every accolade.
The Brockenchack label hails from South Australia’s Eden Valley but is owned and managed by a former Sunshine Coast local and business icon, Trevor Harch and his wife Marilyn, who have been investing in the South Australian wine industry since the late 1990s. While Trevor and Marilyn live on the Eden Valley vineyard and are responsible for viticulture, the winemaking is undertaken by Jo Irvine and Shawn Kalleske who are no strangers to the praise of the best wine judges in the country. Nor, for that matter, are they any strangers to the best fruit of the Barossa and Eden Valley regions.
I have previously admitted to not having expected the Brockenchack operation to produce wines worthy of a 95 point rating but I am happy to concede to (once again) being proven wrong. The Eden Valley locale is more elevated than the Barossa Valley vineyards and as a result, their wines tend to be less jammy and more elegant than those from the Valley floor. I do enjoy the Barossa shiraz, but often the (over) ripeness can lead to their wines being jammy and sweet to the point of becoming “fly-blown” (sorry for the uncomfortable analogy). And that’s where the Eden Valley provides the perfect compromise; delightful ripe and juicy fruit but not overdone and smelling more like molasses than an oenological treat.
The 2015 Jack Harrison Shiraz is now four or five years old and in it’s prime. Sure, you could lay it on its side and see what it looks like in five or ten years’ time, but by then, some of its lusciousness might have been replaced by elegant lineal layers of fruit and tannin. Currently there’s a delightfully ruby-esque colour in the glass and both cassis and brooding ripe plums from the first sip. You can’t ignore the influence of French Oak exposure as you sniff the woodiness on the nose and later taste the savoury oak characters through the middle. It’s brambly, savoury yet surprisingly fruit driven. I love the balance and finesse which makes it. At the end of the day, it’s the balance that sets the Jack Harrison apart from those over-ripe Barossa styles. How can they sell this at $55 or so a bottle when the super-premium counterparts are over $100 a bottle? Spicy, silky smooth and graced by layers of fruit and complexity, the Jack Harrison seems destined for greatness. I’d suggest tucking a few away in the cellar and trying again in a couple of years’ time.
The Brockenchack team continue to over deliver on quality and I suspect that it’s only a matter of time before the price of their premium wines heads north. How much room do you have in your cellar?
Winery Website: www.brockenchack.com.au
Travis Schultz is a wine reviewer for the Sunshine Coast Daily and The Grape Hunter extend their thanks to the Sunshine Coast Daily for allowing re-publication of his reviews