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Rockford Basket Press Shiraz 1996


New Zealand having vanquished Australia in the Rugby World Cup semi-final this past Sunday, it would have been appropriate to open something Kiwi to go with our braai, but there was only Aussie wine to hand, specifically a bottle of Basket Press Shiraz 1996 from boutique Barossa producer Rockford.

A wine of considerable power but whereas most of the example from this region I have encountered seem ungainly, this remained balanced. Great flavour intensity including both red and black fruit as well as spice, in particular cinnamon. Beautifully structured with concentrated fruit playing off against  tannins just starting to soften and snappy acidity.

A fellow drinking companion described it as “singular” in a pejorative sense; I thought this was precisely what made it memorable – impossible to imagine a local example of the same age that would’ve come close. Score: 17/20.


  1. Australian Ben Radford, ex Slaley, Longridge and Radford Dale is consultant winemaker at Rockford, as well as making his own wines in Eden Valley. Ben is married to Gill, who is South African.

  2. Comment about Ben noted Chris. But fairly sure he had nothing to do with Rockford when I visited and collected the 96 though on a work trip. Funnily enough I first met Ben ages ago on a longhaul flight to Singapore when he was stretched out over three seats. A few years later bumped into him in the Cape making wine, and then dating Gill.

  3. 96 was a great vintage. Pretty sure it was around this time that Chris Ringland, later to find fame with his Three Rivers brand, started at Rockford as assistant winemaker. 


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