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Greenock Creek Casey's Block Shiraz 2014 750ml, Barossa Valley


Considering the chaos humanity had imposed on this vineyard site, Casey's Block is a miracle. Seems miracles never cease round these parts. It also seems par-for-the-course that each new addition to the Greenock Creek range has its own peculiar drama.

Geologists are agreeing that we now live in The Anthropocene, the first epoch of geological time in which the Earth's geology and ecosystems have been influenced by human activity. If, millions of years hence, something like us is still here and somebody digs into this site they'll find the beautiful water-retentive 700 million years old Tapley Hill Siltstone at the bottom, then much more recent alluvial sand, loam and clay, then the pig farm layer, then the arrival of the industrial chicken farm with all those thousands of tonnes of concrete and iron and then the indications of Michael and Annabelle's purchase of that property: their painstaking demolition of the chook farm and removal of all that concrete and pollution and trash, and then the gradual rebuilding of a respectful agricultural soil profile before the planting of the vines ... Now there's an epoch for you.

This second vintage has already pushed the first one aside. Alice's did the same. Even the Seven Acre, with all its stone, surprised everybody with its second crop. Such early profligacy is rare: many second crops, especially in ordinary industrial grapeyards, are disappointing. The vine seems to blow all its energy in the first fruiting year and then takes a few more vintages to get its breath and composure back. Not in these vineyards: however tricky the geology, they seem to improve from that first surge on. Like this brash, sassy beauty, striding so confidently into the light and the might after only two vintages. But while this bright blackberry and fresh juniper berry, aniseed and even a hint of peat are brash and sassy, the wine already seems to know what's expected of it: it's glinty soul will soon turn on the luxury. The rich fruitcake, leather and walnut will eventually emerge. This Alice's/Casey's/Mataro side of the creek is now a sacred site whose lush - I'm not quite joking - terroir somehow balances the arid hardrock austerity of the Seven Acre on the other sidePhilip White, 2016

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