The 2018 Helbig 1915 Shiraz is the new release of the wine previously just named Fifteen – our remarkable and oldest single vineyard wine from our family owned vineyard in Greenock. Faced with some confusion, the Ashmead family decided to extrapolate the name to Helbig 1915, honouring the family that planted this vineyard on the north eastern corner of Greenock in 1915.
There has already been much written and said about the quality of the 2018 vintage and the winemakers of the Barossa are right to be excited by it. Good rains in winter were followed by a pleasant spring and a lovely Indian summer where the usual spikes in heat never really came. This allowed the harvest to come in gently, and the fruit, Shiraz in particular, looked superb.
Survival of a vineyard
This vineyard is truly a remarkable site. Planted 105 years ago, the vineyard has probably only survived due to sitting at the bottom of a small basin up in the Western Ridge of the Barossa Valley. This basin has allowed any free draining water to fill the sandy loam soils with moisture through the winter months allowing good root and shoot growth, and keeping the vineyard in relatively good health through each growing season as the temperatures rise and the rain dries up.
Whilst these vines are almost as old as the Command vines in Nuriootpa (1915 v 1894), it is easy to see that the Centenarian vines in Greenock have done things pretty tough. The age of these vines only becomes evident when you get up close to them to witness the intricacy and complexity that only age gives to vines – as they certainly aren’t as thick and robust as the Command vines which simply have a commanding presence.
These vines are looked after lovingly by Peter and Conrad (our Viticulturists), with hand pruning and full attention through the growing cycle, crop thinning and then careful attention at picking – ensuring that only the best fruit off this vineyard would find its way into the bottle.
In the winery
We ferment this very small parcel of grapes in large 1500 litre French oak barrels, where they sit on skins for about 5 – 6 weeks, and then get pressed into the best French oak that we can find.
This is truly a magnificent wine and stands apart from all the other wines that we make in size and matching structure.
We really think it is something special and the wine will reward some very patient cellaring. If drinking young, decanting is a must, and should probably be done a day in advance to get the most out of it!
From the Winemakers
Production 1127 bottles
Palate Rich and structured, brooding with spicy plums and ripe fruit. A firm, long tannin structure underpins and carries the fruit through the palate.
Cellaring Up to a couple of decades from vintage, given good cellaring conditions.
We hope you enjoy this magnificent wine from a truly beautiful Barossa vintage.
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Please visit the product page for more details about the wine.
A note of thanks to our good friends Troy and Tony Kalleske for allowing us to also use the Helbig name, which they have trademarked at Kalleske Wines.
Story from our newsletter, the Elderton Buzz – October 2020 edition