Rockford Sparkling Black Shiraz (Disgorged 2017) NV
Rockford-Sparkling-Black-Shiraz-Disgorged-2017-NV

Rockford Sparkling Black Shiraz (Disgorged 2017) NV

Sale price$165.00
Barossa Valley, South Australia, Australia

Style: Sparkling Red

Variety: Shiraz

Closure: Cork

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Usually ready in 2-4 days

Rockford Sparkling Black Shiraz (Disgorged 2017) NV

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, usually ready in 2-4 days

Burke Road
Camberwell VIC 3124
Australia

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Producer: Rockford

Country: Australia

Region: Barossa Valley

Vintage: Non Vintage

Critic Score: 96

Alcohol: 13.5%

Size: 750 ml

Drink by: 2030


This release is magically fresh and light on its feet. It's a national treasure - James Halliday

"Rockford can only be described as an icon, no matter how overused that word may be."  James Halliday

The wine is made up of two components: the base wine and the vintage selection. The base wine is a solera of Barossa shiraz held in big old casks. The initial base material was from 500 cases of old Barossa shiraz offered to Robert O'Callaghan in the early 1980's. Each subsequent vintage after 1984, the best quality shiraz was added to the solera – until 1988, when the first vintage of Black Shiraz was disgorged. The vintage selection, on the other hand, is essentially Rockford Basket Press Shiraz that has been aged in oak for 3 years. Those barrels deemed suitable for Black Shiraz are blended with an equal amount of wine from the solera. Half of the blend is returned to the solera (thus ensuring its continuation) and the other half seeded with yeast and sugar to induce fermentation, and bottled. The wine is disgorged some months later (now sparkling) and topped up with super-ripe Barossa shiraz. This means that each new release of Black Shiraz is roughly a 50/50 blend of three-year-old Barossa shiraz and the solera wine that has been going since the early 1980's – it is no ordinary wine.

"This has such a tarry nose with a wealth of fresh and attractive blackberries and dark plums on offer, and delivers a smooth, creamy, dark chocolate infused finish. There’s a very balanced core in play here. Disgorged in 2017. Delicious to drink now, but this really ages well. Try with 10-plus years aging on cork."  James Suckling

Rockford Winery
Rockford Winery (click on image to play video)

Expert reviews

"Disgorged Aug '17. The price of the wine is irrelevant, the challenge is to find a bottle(s) for sale - it disappears into starless black nights the moment it's released (on strict allocation). Liqueur plums and cherries for openers, then Swiss chocolate with the highest cacao content to provide a momentary flavour balance, then a cupboard full of spices, rose petals and biscotti. This release is magically fresh and light on its feet. It's a national treasure. Drink by 2025."  James Halliday, Halliday Wine Companion - 96 points

"Spending between 9-12 months on tirage, this is based on a mother blend that dates back to 1978 and is one-third bottled each year and topped up with the current vintage. The Rockford VP forms the basis of the dosage liqueur. This has such a tarry nose with a wealth of fresh and attractive blackberries and dark plums on offer, and delivers a smooth, creamy, dark chocolate infused finish. There’s a very balanced core in play here. Disgorged in 2017. Delicious to drink now, but this really ages well. Try with 10-plus years aging on cork."  James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com - 94 points 

About the winery

Rockford WineryRockford Wines is a small boutique wine producer based in South Australia's Barossa Valley. They produce high quality traditional wines made from some of the best old Barossa vineyards. Rockford is best known for their Basket Press Shiraz and Sparkling Black Shiraz, which are produced in limited quantities.

Founder and winemaker, Robert O'Callaghan, purchased an 1850s stone settler’s cottage and outbuildings on five acres of land in the village of Krondorf in 1971. He then gradually built a courtyard shaped winery in the same style and from the same materials as the original buildings. O'Callaghan starting making wine in 1984 and Rockford was born.

"During the twenty years prior to establishing Rockford, I worked for several Barossa winemakers. This allowed me access to many of the finest Barossa growers, so by the time I started Rockford, I knew exactly the kind of wine I wanted to make and precisely which vineyard would give me the grapes I needed. It also allowed me to continue the established tradition of winemakers building long-term partnerships with growers rather than owning their own vineyards.

Many of the growers have vines that were planted on their own roots, sixty to one hundred years ago. The partnership not only gives Rockford access to exceptional grapes from ancient vines but also provides consistency and reliability that is not possible from a single vineyard.

The vintage shed is equipped with plant from the pioneer era – I collected these valuable pieces when other Australian wineries discarded them as they modernised. This allows Rockford to carry on the traditional Australian winemaking techniques, but more importantly, the winery is the same scale, age and pace as our growers’ vineyards.

I have always lived in and feel most comfortable with the warm Mediterranean climate of the Barossa where grapes ripen easily. My preference is to make the wine by hand with traditional methods, attitude, and equipment to produce rich, earthy, soft, generous wines that will age; the kind that I drank in my youth.

My grandparents on both sides and my parents were grape growers, so my childhood was spent in their vineyards. My parents moved to North Eastern Victoria where my Father managed a vineyard for Australia’s then-largest family winemaker, Seppelts. In 1965 I followed a natural path and started as a trainee winemaker at Seppelt’s Rutherglen winery.

It was a wonderful apprenticeship in the old, ordered, slow and gentle Australian wine trade. The wines I drank, the winemakers from previous generations with whom I associated and everything I absorbed in that period had a major influence on the way Rockford is today. Although I’ve spent all my life in vineyards and wineries, the pleasure I derive from walking through rows of vines or casks filled with wine has not diminished."  Robert O'Callaghan

Robert O'Callaghan belongs to a genre of visionary winemakers that include Max Schubert, Peter Lehmann, Jeffrey Grosset, Brian Croser and David Hohnen. His protégés include Chris Ringland and Dave Powell.

Rockford Wines has had a profound influence on winemaking philosophy and wine style in the Barossa. Providing the inspiration for a whole generation of winemakers 'the Rockford school' embraces the inherent qualities of old vine Shiraz: the physicality of winemaking where muscle and personal touch transform the process into an art-form; the traditional tools of trade (basket press, open fermenter) and the complementary nuances of American and French oak maturation.  

Wine region map of South Australia

South Australia

South Australian is responsible for more than half the production of all Australian wine. It is home to more than 900 wineries across 18 wine regions. The regions are Adelaide Hills, Adelaide Plains, Barossa Valley, Clare Valley, Coonawarra, Currency Creek, Eden Valley, Kangaroo Island, Langhorne Creek, McLaren Vale, Mount Benson, Mount Gambier, Padthaway, Riverland, Robe, Southern Fleurieu, Southern Flinders Ranges and Wrattonbully.

Many of the well-known names in the South Australian wine industry established their first vineyards in the late 1830s and early 1840s. The first vines in McLaren Vale were planted at Reynella in 1839 and Penfold's established Magill Estate on the outskirts of Adelaide in 1844.

South Australia has a vast diversity in geography and climate which allows the State to be able to produce a range of grape varieties - from cool climate Riesling in the Clare and Eden Vallies to the big, full bodied Shiraz wines of the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale. Two of Australia's best-known wines, Penfolds Grange and Henschke Hill of Grace, are produced here. There is much to discover in South Australia for the wine lover.