J & J Vineyards comes from a 15 acre block beside Victor Harbor Road that was purchased by the current owners in 1980. The use of the land at this time was for Ostrich farming, and there is a few small pens still on the property. In the late 1980’s the bottom fell out of the Ostrich market and the prices demanded by growers was increasing – so grapes it was, and in 1998 the property was planted to Shiraz. The grapes were sold until 2005 when a proportion of the grapes were made into wine. The proportion of wine produced has increased as the grape price has decreased. Currently the wine is made at Serafino’s facility under the direction of a contract winemaker.
The vineyard terroir ranges from sandy red loam over yellow clay, to light brown loam over limestone. This allows some flexibility in variations of grape ripening and taste profiles from within their vineyard. This has progressed to the point that in 2010 vintage there was a number of pickings to ensure optimum flavor from these different vineyard areas. They are in the process of getting an Organic Certification. No chemicals have been used since 2008 (only natural products used) and if the process is continued will be certified in 2012 as an organic producer.
To date the wine produced under the J & J Vineyards label have been estate grown Shiraz. To increase their exposure J & J Wines will be releasing a 2009 Premium Shiraz (the best individual barrels have been selected by the winemaker to have the best qualities and will have extended oak treatment) a Shiraz Cabernet and Sauvignon Blanc Semillon blend which will fit into their business model of opening a cellar door outlet.
Now about the wines:-
2008 J & J Vineyards Limestone Block McLaren Vale Shiraz (A$19.90)
This dark coloured wine has aromas of stewed plums, with hints of vanilla & cedar from the oak (though not overpowering) chocolate and licorice. The flavors continue with the plum theme with some extra dark fruits (blackcurrent, blackberry and a little cherry). The tannins and acids are soft and do not attack the palate.
The wine screams steak.
2009 J & J Vineyards Limestone Block McLaren Vale Shiraz (to be released)
The wine has purple tinges and the aromas plus the flavors are dominated by cherries. The flavors are bitter cherries and fresh plums combined with very soft tannins leading to a mid length palate. As this is a lighter wine than above, I would consume this with pork
First thing here was wow – how different is this wine compared to the 2008 wine. The cherry range of flavors tend to indicate less ripe fruit when compared to berries and plum characters. After the 2008 vintage heat conditions, I suspect that when heat wave conditions were forecast in 2009 the fruit was picked at the start or before the heat wave conditions started, instead of optimum fruit flavor. I stress that this I do not know this but it is something that I suspect.
I would also like to thank Troy from J & J Vineyards for providing the photos of the vineyard.