As the Senior Red Winemaker for Penfolds, Peter had spent lots of time in this small sub-region of the Barossa sourcing fruit for Grange. He knew this vineyard too - it had a long pedigree of award winning wines.
When we bought the vineyard the locals called it a fruit salad block, which is why the big companies overlooked it when everyone was clamouring for Barossa vineyard in the 1990s. "Fruit salad" means there were eight different varieties – most were unsuited to the climate in this part of the Barossa. The traditional idea was that prices can't be bad for everything every year - a sort of each way bet. The old Silesians were pretty sharp. We kept the old Shiraz, Cabernet Franc and Merlot vines and over the years have replaced with the other varieties - Cabernet Sauvignon, Mataro and Tempranillo.
The earliest recorded owner of what is now known as Hare’s Chase was Wilhelm Stoll and his wife, Katerine (1961).
Wilhelm was forced out of Palestine and used his repatriation grant to purchase the vineyard/orchard. The photo shows Wilhelm with two younger members of the clan at the north east corner of the property. In the background can be seen a large thatched barn in the exact spot where our Hare’s Chase house now stands.
Cabernet Sauvignon and Mataro are popular French blending varieties. Balancing the combination of different varieties to achieve the structure, backbone and tannin length we require is an exciting art. Mataro is often blended with Shiraz or Tempranillo and can be a great single varietal wine in good years. Tempranillo comes from Spain and its Mediterranean heritage seems ideally suited to the warm dry summers in the Barossa. It's different to Shiraz and Grenache - a little lighter in style but with good acid and length, which makes it a great food wine.
When a vine is more than 25 years old its roots are very deep in the subsoil and they drag up moisture and special minerals, which give the wine a unique flavour. It's a privilege to be the custodians of a vineyard that has been in existence since the early 20th Century.
Wilhelm's son, Ted has visited us at Hare’s Chase and it was fascinating to chat to him about the early years of our vineyard. One of his earliest memories was following the pruners in the vineyard and throwing the pruned canes into a horse-drawn incinerator!
We discovered Ted as a result of meeting his son, Stephen (Wilhelm's grandson!), who runs a vineyard maintenance business with his wife, Anette. Stephen and Anette now look after our vineyard. Wilhelm would be happy about that!
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.