MOPPA HILL VINEYARD
BLOCK 4 – SHIRAZ – 4 ACRES
One of the most unique single vineyards in the Barossa, with its high altitude and east-facing slope producing exceptionally high-quality fruit boasting an intensity and complexity of flavours.
Moppa Hill is located in the Moppa district, a small sub-region on the north-western side of the Barossa Valley. Block 4 is the highest altitude vineyard on Moppa Hill at almost 400m and is the highest vineyard on the western side of the Barossa Valley. This site was originally planted with apricot trees in the early 1900s. They were pulled out in the early 1980s. Block 4 Shiraz was planted in 2003 by Ian, Nathan, Shawn and Damon Kalleske. About 20 tonnes of large stones were removed by hand to make the planting easier, but lots of these back-breaking stones remain.
In the late 1800s the Moppa district was the site of many gold diggings. In 1893 a mini gold rush in the district saw many shafts dug into Moppa Hill and surrounding areas. It is said that a possible yield of 530 ounces was mined from the Moppa district during the late 1800s and early 1900s.
Block 4 is planted on shallow rocky red-brown earth over deep friable dark red/orange clay loam. This is the rockiest of all our vineyards with the surface rock continuing down to the entire clay loam profile. There is also a layer of buckshot ironstone just below the surface which allows for good drainage of moisture into the clay during the winter months. The vine roots can extend deeply into the broken clay base in search of this water during the generally dry summer months in the Barossa Valley.
Block 4 is the most unique of all our vineyards. Planted with 526 vines per acre on the steep eastern slope of Moppa Hill, the vineyard lies between 370m to 390m above sea level. This altitude is approximately 115m above townships of Nuriootpa and Tanunda on the Valley floor. The high altitude and eastern slope plays an important role in the growing of grapes as the vineyard is exposed to the cooler morning sun. As the sun sets in the west, the vineyard misses the late hot afternoon sun. The higher altitude keeps the grapes cooler at night.
The 4 acre vineyard is planted solely to clone 1654 on its own roots. The entire vineyard is pruned with the traditional “rod and spur” method. Just two fruiting canes are tied on per vine which keeps the vine very open. The grapes are a little more exposed to the sun than that of the spur pruned method. A catch wire is still used to help hold the canopy up but the extra sun exposure does contribute to more colour and skin tannin. The mid-row consists of volunteer grasses that are kept under control by sheep grazing during the winter months and mowed in the summer months. The area under the vine is weeded in summer with a mechanical weeder blade know as a dodger.
This is one of the most unique single vineyards in the Barossa and although it is moderately young, produces exceptional high quality fruit. It’s generally one of the last Shiraz blocks to be picked for Laughing Jack which gives the grapes a long time to develop intense flavours and tannin. The grapes from this vineyard produce very long lived wines with a complexity of flavours and impeccable structure. Distinctive aromas include ripe plum, dark cherry, blackberry and mulberry. There is also added complexity of pepper, mixed spices, herbs, cocoa, liquorice and aniseed.