Game On, Hares
It started out with a near heart attack - walking through the vineyard and being startled by the bolting, feral hares. Unlike rabbits they live above the ground in little scrapes (or forms) and when you scare them they take off like rockets. The dogs love the chase.
We made our first trial wine in 1996 but had to get serious when we purchased our 40 acre vineyard near Marananga in 1997. It's a beautiful stretch of country with stunning views of the Barossa Hills. The hares came with the vineyard - no extra charge.
Hares are classed as vertebrate pests. They were introduced by the English settlers in Victoria in the 1860s for hunting and well, they literally bred like rabbits. We are farmers and we don't appreciate them nibbling at the new vines...but they also add character. There's something about a hare which is more noble than a rabbit. Ancient cultures used to worship them.
They taste good too.
We love any type of game - venison, quail, rabbit, pheasant - and hare is one of the truly wild meats in Australia. It is very lean and does not have an overtly strong flavour if it is hung with the skin on for a week or two. The most popular dish we make is jugged hare which is a slow cooked braise using lots of local herbs, Schultz's bacon from Angaston, redcurrant jam and of course plenty of red wine - in the cast iron crueset...and the chef's glass.
Every so often our Marananga vineyard is blessed with a season where the winemaking stars align.
A year for perfect fruit maturation, the Lepus is the pick of the crop from the outstanding 2013 vintage.
The 2013 Ironscraper is a wine that suits its name. Deep crimson in colour its special personality is its length and grip – helped along with an almost imperceptible touch of Barossa Cabernet.
A complex and elegant Marananga Shiraz, finessed with a touch of American Oak.
With the concentration and fruit definition to complement robust red meats - even hare if you’re game!
Layered Mediterranean freshness and fruit flavours - quinces and pomegranates and cherries.
A stylish, medium bodied red, brilliant with succulent charcoal grilled quail or a lazy afternoon Tapas.