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Opulence, complexity and balance all come to mind when thinking about the Clos Otto Shiraz… With vines planted by previous owner Otto Kasper using a cutting from an ageing and secret Shiraz clone, and tended to with almost antique machinery and a well-practiced hand, the Clos Otto vineyard consistently yields super low quantities with ultra rich flavours.
In 2004, an unlikely kinship shared with an elderly German gentleman resulted in the Hentley Farm estate being extended with the purchase of a neighbouring vineyard, which shared the treasured natural amphitheatre of rolling hills that surround Hentley Farm and has resulted in our icon, the Clos Otto Shiraz.
Otto Kasper was a spritely 65 year-old engineer by training, and retired German border guard, when he and wife Gutwin moved to the Barossa Valley to pursue his dream of planting a vineyard in Australia. After getting to know a community of like-minded Deutsch-speaking farmers in the area surrounding his small property in Seppeltsfield, he set about planting his beloved vineyard, with a markedly organic approach. Working from early in the morning til late in the night with a well practiced hand and antique machinery, he planted rootlings from mysterious origins and secret old clones. Whilst his eye may have occasionally been off when aligning the rows, his feel for where to plant what was definitely on
The top section of that elevated easterly aspect vineyard with its unique terroir, is the source of fruit for our Clos Otto Shiraz. Otto’s planting of Shiraz with a north – south orientation in shallow red clay loam overlying red plastic clay, ensure the vines enjoy long days of even sunlight and a micro climate that contribute to soft elegant tannins and a beautiful complex aromatic and flavour profile.
In honour of Otto Kasper who had the foresight and passion to plant this amazing portion of our vineyard we first released the Clos Otto Shiraz in 2005 and a pedigree of excellence was rewarded in 2016 when it was recognised and accepted as one of the finest wine examples in our world renowned region with the awarding of The Barossa Trust Mark which recognises and celebrates excellence in food, wine and tourism offerings from across the Barossa region. It is a sign of authenticity; the mark of a genuine Barossa product or experience… the best of the best. In 2019 we were very proud to have the Clos Otto Shiraz included as a wine of excellence in Langtons classification and the heritage of excellence continues with each vintage.
The current release is a story of both vineyard and vintage with nearly everything about the 2018 vintage happening more slowly than usual, and we have been rewarded with wines that show a perfect mix of power and elegance with vibrant colours and powerful fruit.
The bottle is eye-catching but in the glass the wine stops me in my tracks, the colour is so incredible: it is fathomlessly dark, super inky and almost impenetrable. The smell is luxe and rich, with deep, dark fruits, flashes of violets and lilac and the interior leather of a luxury car, and mouth-wateringly delicious. I’m actually salivating with the heady aromas before I’ve even taken a sip. In the mouth the wine is silken, creamy and intense, rich and ripe, it is mouth-filling and intoxicating. All the components are in balance, the fine tannins, the fruit weight and acidity are like a symphony, but there is something else going on, something ethereal and otherworldly… the wine has power and wisdom, it’s like a Baby Yoda, approachable in youth but still has so far to go. Like a galaxy far, far away… Anyway, it’s delicious and powerful and a great example of iconic Barossa shiraz.
To match the power and weight of this wine, Guillaume’s daube of Wagyu beef with Paris mash immediately springs to mind, intense and rich pairing the intense and rich, the wine still having the acidity and class to cut through the mountains of butter in the dish and the richness of the fall-apart beef cheeks. I think this could well be my ‘death row’ meal! Melissa Moore – Merivale Sommelier