Friday, October 5, 2018

Ben Schild Reserve Barossa Valley Shiraz

Ben Schild Reserve Barossa Valley Shiraz

Schild Estate Ben Schild Reserve Barossa Valley Shiraz (Syrah) 2008

Winding down from a grueling week traveling cross country to three cities, we settled in on Friday evening for spaghetti dinner and this hearty big bold wine, Ben Schild Reserve Barossa Valley Shiraz.

There was a reason I picked up a case of this wine upon release and its profile and suitability for this type of drinking was it. While we enjoy big bold concentrated forward fruit, many such Syrahs (aka Shiraz) also have tones of metallic graphite or camphor. While I find this is not my preference, the body weight and big fruit matched with meat, cheese or chocolate is one of my favorite wine tasting experiences.

Consistent with earlier tasting notes. The colour of the Reserve was deep dark Ruby Red and inky purple. Huge aromas of black and blue fruits and violets give way to bright vibrant concentrated tongue coating flavors bursting with blueberry, black raspberry, ripe plum and chocolate, with tones of cedar, camphor, black pepper, spice, a bit of graphite, turning to nicely integrated oak on a long lingering tannin finish.

I would rate this higher were it not for that somewhat obtuse layer of non-fruit graphite, cedar and camphor.
RM 91 points.

As I have written earlier in this bog, when writing about this wine, I feel compelled to digress to talk about the producer and some of his past marketing practices.

This wine is dedicated to the producer patriarch Ben Schild who has been farming the Schild Estate Three Springs property in Rowland Flat Barossa since 1952. Today the property is farmed by second and third generation Schilds. Fruit for this wine is sourced from a single vineyard in the Hills overlooking Lyndoch where the elevated location and cooling winds helped temper the effects of a warm year resulting in earlier ripening thereby avoiding a late season heat wave that afflicted other growers in the Southern Barossa.

The remarkable interesting side note about Schild; this is not the same wine but it is the same producer and vintage as the Schild Barossa Shiraz that after receiving high reviews, 94 points, and placing in Wine Spectator’s Top 10 Wines of the Year in 2010, naturally subsequently quickly sold out. Schild then proceeded to purchase, blend and bottle additional wine from other producers, but still market such under the 'same' label. Extraordinary, unethical, deceptive, conniving, creative, but legal, none-the-less.

(Imagine buying a new Ford but finding out Ford ran low on engines and purchased and provided alternative replacement engines from some other supplier. (See Bait and Switch?; Schild Estate: Questionable Bottling Practices in 2008 Shiraz; What Makes a Wine a Wine?).

Only after being challenged by reporters did the winery affix an extra label to the secondary bottlings identifying them as a second blend.