Merlot Shiraz wine blended with Cabernet Sauvignon make Dutschke WILLOW BEND 2004 a special Barossa Valley, Australia wine. With 20 months of aging in new and older American & French Hogsheads Barrels, the taste of vibrant plums, red cherries and red currants are balanced with oak and firm tannins. The mouthfeel is silky and delighful. WillowBend is produced from Merlot vines planted in 1980, Cabernet planted in 1978 and Shiraz in 1975. The vines grow on the St. Jakobi family vineyard. The single vineyard blend of these three varieties was chosen by Dutschke back in 1990 and has been a consistent full and flavorsome wine over the years. The idea was always to produce a wine by blending those varieties that perform best in their vineyard. The Merlot (35%) and Shiraz (33%) provide the ripe sweet fruit palate and the Cabernet Sauvignon (32%) gives the firm tannin structure. After years in the bottle the older WillowBend's have also shown great complex characters while still maintaining their fresh fruit flavors. WillowBend single vineyard wine is typically a very good wine to drink now or to lie down for a few years to soften and become more complex. Drink now through 2013.
WillowBend is a blend of Merlot, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. It is produced from the Merlot vines planted in 1980, Cabernet planted in 1978 and Shiraz in 1975. The vines grow on the "St. Jakobi" family vineyard, the property purchased by Oscar Semmler in the 1930s. The blend of these three varieties was chosen for WillowBend because it provides a consistently full and flavorful wine. Dutschke's idea has always been to produce a wine by blending varieties that performs best in their own single vineyard. The Merlot and Shiraz provide the ripe sweet fruit palate and the Cabernet Sauvignon gives the firm tannin structure. After years in the bottle the older WillowBend's have also shown great complex characters while still maintaining their fresh fruit flavors. Willow Bend is typically a very good wine to drink now or to lie down for a few years to soften and become more complex. Around the end of the 19th century, Dutschke's 72 acre patch of real estate included only a few acres of vineyard, with most of the area being dedicated to cropping and dairy cattle. At the start of the 1930's Oscar Semmler bought the block and more vineyard was planted, but it remained primarily a grazing area for dairy purposes. Oscar's Dad referred to the dirt as a "wonder of creation", a fact borne out by the wine now coming from it. The vineyard of that time, while reflecting the fortified market of the day, did not predict the potential to produce the rich varietal flavors found in current production. Oscar's son Ken returned to the Barossa Valley in the early 1970's. In 1975 the transition began with Ken starting the planting of the beloved Shiraz, and it is this first area of Shiraz that provides the precious component of Dutschke Wines. Currently forty five acres are planted with Shiraz making up one third of that area, the balance including Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. Most of the fruit gets passed onto other Barossa winemakers, but the best grapes stay at Dutschke to make their prized wines. It's rather fascinating to note that all varieties have performed well, both in an analytic sense and the all important consumer taste test! In 1990 Dustschke decided to keep some of these grapes for themselves and start producing wine of their own from this vineyard under the brand "WillowBend". Production never intended to be a big time operation, with the bulk of the fruit each year being delivered to the Krondorf and Mildara Blass Winemakers. Then with the 1998 vintage release, interest from the United States led to the name being changed to Dutschke Wines and production for future vintages was revved up to support this market and many others to follow, not to mention an increasing number of thirsty Australians. They are now considered one of the premier wine makers in the Barossa Valley of Australia.
RATINGS: 90 Points - Robert Parker - The Wine Advocate
"One of (Wayne's) most intriguing offerings is the single vineyard blend of Cabernet, Shiraz, and Merlot called Willow Bend. The 2004 is a beautifully made wine that was aged in a combination of American and French wood. Full-bodied and elegant, it offers sweet black raspberry fruit, mocha, and cocoa notes, soft tannin, and low acidity. This delicious, fleshy, exuberant, sexy, dry red should drink well for 5-6 years."
2004 Dutschke Willow Bend Information:
Winemaker: Wayne Dutschke
Vineyard: Ken Semmler's St Jakobi Vineyard
Region: Lyndoch, Barossa Valley, South Australia
Harvest Date: Merlot 18th March, Cabernet Sauvignon 19th March, Shiraz 13th April 2004
Varieties: 35% Merlot, 33% Shiraz, 32% Cabernet Sauvignon.
Oak Maturation: 20 months in New and Older American & French Hogsheads.