Wines - Chookshed
- Current Release
- First Vintage
- $49.00 per bottle
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I vividly remember my cousin introducing me to Zinfandel and thinking, “wow, what a grape variety!” About a year later I stumbled across a couple of short rows which had been planted on one of our neighbour’s vineyards in the early seventies. After offering to prune the vines in exchange for a few cuttings, Mum, Dad and I grafted an old dry grown block of Trebbiano next to the chook shed, over to Zinfandel, putting them amongst the oldest Zinfandel vines around. Apart from its year in year out consistency, the biggest kick I get out of making the Zin every year is the look of surprise, and the wide eyed grins that follow on the faces of many of our loyal mailing list customers.
A sensory overload of aniseed, mum’s dried fruits, black currant, cedar, ash and raisin, followed by a tsunami of layered fruit and spice with incredible richness and density. For any Zin lover, this is one for the ages. Earlier this year a well known wine writer said that this wine epitomised Rusden with its Muhammed Ali “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” style. I think he hit the nail on the head in describing our “house style.” Wines full of power and precision that dance so gracefully across the canvas at the same time. 2015 gave us another warm, dry growing season with little rain providing ideal conditions for the mighty Zin. The added bonus of tiny yields has combined to complete the trifecta of what I consider to be three great vintages of Zinfandel in a row.
Everything went right for the Chookshed in 2014. Picked in the second week of April, it ripened late and ripened well. The almost 60 year old vines have delivered an epic 100% Zinfandel. Big and bold, it’s a warchest of raspberry and black fruits, spice, raisin, leather, vanilla and gunpowder. Barossa Zin - super seductive goodness!
2013 was an ultra-low yielding vintage, the result of a very dry growing season. From low yields, and great quality fruit, comes this densely packed, layered Zinfandel, reminiscent of the very best single vineyard Californian examples. It’s spent 18 months in 50% French and 50% American barriques- half of the barrels were new oak and it’s soaked that up with ease. Put simply, it’s a massive wine that I’m very proud of this year. A rich blend of Morello cherries, five spice and raisins leads to a full throttle palate with rich, dark fruits that give way to fine tannin and a clean, persistent finish.
The 2010 takes me back to the fantastic and monstrous 2002. It cropped low, raisined perfectly on the vine and delivered incredibly dense, dark bunches of grapes. This wine is brimming with fruit, acid and juicy raciness. And the extra time in bottle sees the 2010 all-together long, mellow, complex, aromatic, spicy and…yes…huge!
The Zinfandel on the other hand is back to monster-truck madness. Have no fear here. If you want to blow away every other wine your mates bring along to dinner, this is the wine for you.
This is trademark Rusden Zinfandel on the nose– spicy with ripe raspberries and smoky oak. This one’s got that big, black, rich underbelly and a finish a half a mile long. It’s a classic, and it really kicks.
Well, I’ve always wanted to hold this one back in barrel for another year, and I made the decision that the 06, being more refined and complex, needed another year to come together. The wine is all the better for it. For me it’s still got the rich fruit and spice intensity, but has taken on the rum cigar finish from the extra time in the cellar.
We knew we were in trouble when we released this wine last year and it was destined to sell out before Christmas. I’ve watched this wine closely since I started making it in 1999, and have been trying to release it a year later to bring it into line with our other “big” reds.
From the feedback we have received from the top sommeliers around Australia and America, this is a world class example of the variety, so an extra year in the bottle will do it justice, and give it the kudos it deserves.