“It’s confession time, and while I hesitate to admit it, the reality is I was wrong. Erroneous, incorrect or just plain mistaken, I was firmly of the view that longtime Sunshine Coast resident, Trevor Harch, had gone stark raving mad when he first told me that he had purchased a vineyard near Keyneton in the Eden Valley and that he planned to move there with wife, Marilyn, to become vinicultural primary producers. Trevor was well known for his passion for the wine industry and South Australia’s Barossa Valley in particular, but to buy a vineyard and move there was surely plain bonkers?
Just over a decade has passed since my initial assessment of Trevor’s mental faculties and I have to admit to my error of judgement. Not only have Trevor and Marilyn expanded and improved the vineyard, but they’ve also demonstrated the ability to make wines of great structure, integrity, poise and balance.
Since late 2018, the Brockenchack property now also boasts its own fancy B&B on site alongside the refurbished cellar door building – a structure that in years gone by has been used as everything from a butcher’s shop to a brothel.
But the true measure of success of any winery is in its wine and the Brockenchack range is remarkable. And that’s not just because their shiraz is up there with some of the best that South Australia has to offer, but because the entire range rates as better than drinkable – and that’s no mean feat for a winery that offers more than 10 different styles on its cellar list.
The riesling vines on the property include some that were planted in the 1890s making them amongst the oldest in Australia; so it’s not surprising that the Mackenzie William 1896 Riesling is such a stellar drop.
While the Brockenchack Jack Harrison and William Frederick Shiraz are consistently winning medals and impressing good judges, I’m guessing that it could be their little-known stablemate, the Miss Bronte Cabernet Sauvignon which upsets the applecarts of its better-performed siblings if the initial 2016 vintage is anything to go by.
This was the very first attempt by the Brockenchack team to introduce a cabernet to the team, and winemaker Jo Irvine has crafted a wine of elegance beyond its years. The fruit used for this juvenile wine was sourced from a single vineyard in the Eden Valley – a region not normally considered by the self-appointed experts as being ideal for cabernet production.
The 2016 Miss Bronte shows earthy blackcurrant and subtle cassis flavours upfront but once on the mid-palate, savoury tobacco and bramble characters emerge from the firm grip of French oak and moderate tannins and weave their way through a nicely balanced conclusion.
You can’t compare the Miss Bronte to an old vine cabernet from regions like the Coonawarra, but neither should you at only a $28 price point. For a first vintage wine, the Miss Bronte certainly exceeded my expectations; but I guess that’s no surprise given that it was the brainchild of the man with the Midas touch!”
Article by wine enthusiast Travis Schultz, published in The Sunshine Coast Daily Weekend Magazine and on Travis’ Blog page on the 20th of April 2019.