A Touch of Eden
I was wrong. There it is. My wife will chime in that it “certainly isn’t the first time”, and she’s right – and it won’t be the last. But when I first heard that the Buderim based Founding Director of the Coast’s largest construction company Evans Harch was uprooting to move with his wife to a vineyard at Keyneton in South Australia, I told anyone that would listen that Trevor Harch was “a stubby short of a six pack” and that “he won’t last a year”. It’s been over a decade since they bought the place and now five years since Trevor and Marilyn moved permanently to their vineyard home near Eden Valley and it seems their foray into viticulture is going from strength to strength. Now rated as a 5-star Halliday winery perhaps it’s time that I accept my misjudgement and apologise to my good friends.
Trevor and Marilyn’s patch of dirt has grown to around 40 acres under vines and includes some of Australia’s oldest Riesling vines planted in 1986 and some rows of gnarly old Shiraz vines planted in 1927. With such old rootstock at their disposal, it probably shouldn’t have surprised me that within a decade of their first vintage, they’d produce a wine like their 2012 William Frederick Shiraz that would find itself rated in that rare air of 97 Points from Halliday. These days, their “Garden of Eden” includes an impressive cellar door building, on site B & B accommodation and their very own flying fox!
While it’s the Shiraz and Riesling from the site that grabs the headlines, the Brockenchack range now also includes Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Cabernet Sauvignon and pinot noir. There’s no doubting the importance of family to the vigneron, as each wine is named after members of the Harch family spanning four generations and the Brockenchack moniker is itself an amalgam of the names of Trevor and Marilyn’s 4 grand-kids Christian names.
Trevor’s genius in vineyard selection was a masterstroke as the site he chose back in 2007 is perfectly positioned at around 400m above sea level high – nicely elevated above the continental climate of the Barossa Valley floor but with its own distinctive topography and terroir. The “Garden of Grapes and Gums” (as it is known by locals) is considered to be a cool climate and the slower ripening conditions allow a more elegant and sophisticated style of wine to be crafted from its abundant fruit.
Brockenchack Zipline Shiraz
While I’m respectful of the quality of the Brockenchack Chardonnay and Riesling, it’s their Shiraz that deserves the accolades. Where the Barossa Valley icon is typically fruit forward, jammy and even over-ripe at times, the neighbouring highlands near Keyneton can spawn wines like the Brockenchack Zipline Shiraz which show the rich red berries and dark chocolate characters that we love in a Barossa shiraz, but with a suave silkiness to its spicy mocha conclusion. It’s remarkable value at the $24 ask.
Jack Harrison Shiraz
If you’re wanting to step it up a notch, there’s the rather “plummy” Jack Harrison Shiraz at a $58 price point. It’s unsurprising that the fruit is even darker in the glass than the Zipline, and while similar in character, is complex, elegant and shows hints of aniseed and liquorice around the edges. The finish is sublime, with perfect poise and balance of the gentle acids and slightly sweet tannins. Yum! I could pour this on my cornflakes!