Deep in the heart of the Barossa Valley in South Australia lies the winery of Rolf Binder who, along with his sister Christa, make a captivating range of wines. Rolf’s father, Rolf Snr, was a Hungarian immigrant in 1950 who arrived in Oz with his Austrian wife Franziska. Initially they worked on the railways but soon befriended a couple of vineyard owners and by 1955 they’d bought the winery and renamed it Veritas. Their daughter Christa joined the family business in 1981 and young Rolf follwed in 1982 making wine in what they named the “shed”. In 1999 a new winery was built and the old press made the journey. It’s still in use today.
It’s the red varieties that tend to perform best in the heat of the Barossa Valley, and Rolf Binder has extensive and old plantings of Shiraz and Mataro (aka Mourvedre) as well as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Grenache. While the Barossa Valley is renowned for its very full bodied, sometimes somewhat unsubtle, reds of great weight and considerable alcohol, Rolf Binder looks for a more refined style with a degree of elegance and balance. They’re still big wines mind you; big but balanced.
Rolf Binder’s 2009 Highness Riesling actually comes from the Eden Valley which borders the edge of the Barossa Valley, and is mouth watering and outstandingly fresh. Its nose of fragrant lime citrus with a hint of tropicality and steely dry palate makes Highness the prefect match for fish, seafood and oriental cooking. In our opinion Highness Riesling is as fine an example of southern hemisphere Riesling as you will find anywhere.
Rolf Binder has many reds to choose from but the two that really float our boat are the Halcyon Cabernet Sauvignon & Merlot blend and the Heinrich Shiraz, Mataro & Grenache blend.
The Halcyon 2008 is a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot which has a super ripe nose of berry fruit with tremendous depth. The Halcyon is a smooth rich wine that shows notes of blueberry in the mouth, fully-flavoured without being overpowering; an excellent demonstration of Rolf Binder’s ability to maintain restraint and balance from the power of Barossa Valley fruit. Halcyon would be perfect with a roast leg of lamb, studded with garlic and scattered with rosemary. Mmmm.
Heinrich is a blend of Shiraz, Mataro and Grenache. The 2006 Heinrich has these in the proportions 50% Shiraz, 35% Mataro and 15% Grenache. Heinrich is made from selected parcels of old vines and is a fascinating and complex glass of red; spice and depth from the Shiraz, structure and richness from the Mataro, and a whack of big ripe fruit from the Grenache. The resulting marriage is wonderfully harmonious and rich, with a pleasing silky texture, and a prime example of a Barossa Valley Shiraz blend. Heinrich would be perfect with a Fred Flintsone sized rib of beef and an empty afternoon! It would also be hard to think of a better glass of red to enjoy with a selection of fine cheeses than Heinrich.
Rolf and Christa make several other wines, all of which reach their extraordinary high standard. Watch out for these wherever you are. Sadly, we cannot list them all, much as we’d love to!