Rockford Wines from the Barossa
Rockford Wines come from the Barossa, one of the most well-known Australian wine regions and also one of the country’s oldest, dating back to 1842. Located in the state of South Australia, it’s famous for its powerful, full-bodied red wines that are amongst the most popular Aussie red wines in Hong Kong.
To be honest, I’m not a fan of big Barossa red wines, probably because of my lifestyle and taste preferences. However, I was pleasantly surprised when I recently tasted a few bottles by Rockford Wines.
Rockford’s founder, Robert O’Callaghan, is from Victoria, which has a reputation for relatively cool-climate wine. Yet O’Callaghan prefers full-bodied wine, so he decided to establish himself in Barossa. Apparently, he is also one of those stubborn winemakers who doesn’t like modernisation, and he’s still using some of the original equipment in his wineries. I’m not sure if this is the reason why his wine is more rustic than the majority of Barossa wines.
Basket Press Shiraz is Rockford’s flagship wine. The latest vintage is 2016, which already has seven years of ageing. Black fruits are layered with chocolate, nuts and a hint of smoke; it’s earthy rather than flashy. Craig Hadden, a representative of Rockford Wines, said that owing to consumer preference, there is a trend in Barossa to make less powerfully alcoholic wines, and Rockford is one of them. This Shiraz has 14% alcohol but is not over the top. The nice, ripe tannin and balanced acidity make it a food-friendly wine – think braised lamb and sizzling beef.
The other pleasantly surprising wine is Black Shiraz Sparkling NV. Sparkling Shiraz is uniquely Australian and hugely popular there, but there is no legal definition for it. The bubbles can be carbonated or created by fermentation in the bottle, just like champagne. This Rockford sparkling Shiraz is the latter, and the base wine is a blend of newer-vintage oak-matured Shiraz and an older rolling blend with more than 35 years in the making. The wine has tannin, a touch of sweetness, notes of black fruits and 13.5% alcohol – it’s certainly not your standard sparkling wine. I couldn’t help but think of of honey-glazed BBQ spareribs when I tasted this wine.
Rockford Wines has a strong following in Australia, with most wines sold directly to consumers on allocation. Only 20% of the wine is exported. Hong Kong is one of the lucky markets to showcase Rockford bottles; they are available here from Fine Vintage.
RELATED: Interested in the best of South African wines?
This recent Rockford tasting was jointly organised by Tastiva, a new wine app that aims to revolutionise wine e-commerce. It supports wine influencers with procurement and fulfilment so that they can focus on introducing wine to consumers. At the same time, it acts as a one-stop shop for consumers. Wine lovers should certainly check it out.