The Darkie Old Vine Shiraz which is a wonderful example of a classic Barossa Shiraz, and is the jewel in the crown at Liebichwein even amongst the many fabulous table wines and fortified wines on offer. The Darkie is a single vineyard flagship wine dedicated to Ron’s uncle Clarence Walter Liebich (1920-1988) who himself loved a good Barossa shiraz and regularly encouraged Ron’s winemaking abilities. He also planted the old 40 acre block of Shiraz grapes back in 1969 from which we source all the fruit for winemaking.
But why the name? A Barossa Shiraz is red – so why is it called ‘The Darkie’? Well…
Clarence Walter ‘Darkie’ Liebich was the second of three sons to Benno Liebich, who founded Rovalley Wines in 1919 at Rowland Flat. Rovalley Wines, and then Liebichwein which came after it, were known for their range of table wines and fortified wine including many port style Tawnys. In 1941, oldest son Leslie Alwyn ‘Lofty’ Liebich took over winemaking duties, and was succeeded as chief winemaker in 1953 by Clarence, his brother. Clarence Walter Liebich (or ‘Darkie’, as he was locally known due to his full head of dark black hair) was always a big fan of local Barossa Shiraz and other rich, hearty reds, and enjoyed sharing his passions in winemaking with nephew Ron. When Ron established his own boutique winery, it was only natural to create a big bold Shiraz in honour of Uncle Darkie who had inspired him along the way – and so in 1996, the Darkie Shiraz was born.
Vineyard: A lot goes in to making a high quality Barossa Shiraz. Initially the vines receive minimal attention and we allow nature to do the work. Dead arm affliction reduces yield but enhances flavour as does the use of hand-pruning and minimal irrigation. The vines grow on heavy black biscay soil at Rowland Flat on the eastern foothills of the Barossa. Vintages are very consistent in terms of quality and low yield averaging 2 tonne per acre, producing concentrated table wines and vintage fortified wine too.
Winemaking: Traditional techniques of hand plunging, basket-pressing with no fining or filtration were employed for fuller flavour. The Darkie is a unique Barossa shiraz that has been maturing for over five years in various aged American and French hogshead barrels, producing a multi-layered wine that showcases an enticingly rich nose, balanced intense flavours and subtle oak characters.
Taste Notes: The Darkie Shiraz nose typically exhibits black cherries, vanilla, chocolate with hints of sweet anise. A showcase of everything that makes Barossa shiraz so enjoyable, The Darkie Shiraz boasts amazingly complex concentrated flavours that fill the whole mouth, lingering long after the first sip. All this is perfectly balanced with the subtle oak maturation and super silky tannins. We recommend drinking at any age, but patiently cellaring for another 10-20 years will reward any wine connoisseur. Each vintage is unique and will have an initial impact that changes with each mouthful.
Vintage 2009 – a refined elegant wine with aromatic perfume, ripe plums, cherries and hints of savoury note like black olive, soft and complex
Vintage 2010 – exhibits more intense fruit characters balanced by the soft oak, dark brooding nose full of black cherries, chocolate mingled with sweet spiced vanilla
Vintage 2012 – a classic fruit-driven wine displaying ripe cherries, vanilla, chocolate and sweet spice with a seductively smooth, lingering finish
Out of all of the table wines and fortified wine on offer at Liebichwein, The Darkie Old Vine Shiraz is in a category of excellence all of its’ own. Special museum stock is currently available from vintage 2009, 2010 and 2012 but in strictly limited quantities. Like any good Barossa shiraz, it sells out very soon after it becomes available – something Uncle Darkie would be glad to hear!
This quick and versatile sauce is more like a savoury compote. Excellent condiment for using figs, especially when you have had enough of sweet fig-based desserts. Serve as a sauce with roast lamb, baked fish, on pizza bases or like a relish. It’s just as good made with a full bodied red wine or Port style wine.
Prep 10 mins Cook 25 mins
2 tbsp olive oil
500g brown onions, sliced thinly
1 cup fresh figs or 1 cup dried figs
1/4 cup wine (Liebichwein red wine or Tawny Port)
1 cup stock (chicken or vegetable)
1 tbsp Liebichwein Muscat Vinegar (balsamic vinegar can be substituted)
1 tbsp chopped rosemary or thyme (fresh or dried)
Salt & Pepper to taste
Prepare sliced onions and cut figs into quarters if using fresh figs.
Heat olive oil in large frying pan. Add onions and sprinkle some salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until onions are golden, about 20 minutes.
Stir in figs, wine, stock, vinegar and herbs. Increase heat to high and simmer until sauce thickens, about 5 minutes.
Add salt and pepper taste.
Store in a sealed container in the fridge for 2-3 weeks. Alternatively, freeze in small portions until ready to use.
Liebich Lofty Cabernet Sauvignon is wine of great quality and character dedicated to Ron’s father, “Lofty” (Lesley Alwyn) Liebich (1916-1953) who was a man with high ideals. Produced in special vintages since 1992 when the cellar door was established.
Single vineyard wine sourced from the old 40 acre block, planted by Clarence Walter “Darkie” Liebich in 1969. Dead arm affliction reduces yield but enhances flavour as does the use of hand-pruning and minimal irrigation. The vines grow on heavy black biscay soil at Rowland Flat on the eastern foothills of the Barossa.
Special museum stock is released as it becomes available. The last vintage 2006 (now sold out) was a very good growing season resulting in an extremely low yield of 1 tonne per acre. Traditional techniques of hand plunging, basket-pressing with no fining or filtration were employed for fuller flavour.
A typical Liebichwein Cabernet Sauvignon is a rich and enticing wine exhibiting violet and spiced blackberry fruit nuances perfectly balanced with the subtle oak after maturation for over five years in various aged French oak barrels. Super concentrated flavours and ultra silky tannins. This style of Barossa Cabernet Sauvignon will always be good drinking and will reward patience with bottle maturation for at least 15-20 years, especially under screw cap.
We’re absolutely thrilled with results from the Barossa Wine Show 2018. Ron has outdone himself picking up a Trophy for Museum Fortified for the second year in a row. Rare Tawny was crowned Best Museum Red Fortified. Last year saw Rare Semillon get a similar honour in the Best Museum White Fortified Class.
All entries from around the Barossa region were such high calibre, we’re proud to be among the same company. Congratulations to all other medal and trophy winners.
Other Liebichwein medal winners:
Rare Frontignac = SILVER (yet to be released)
2018 Vintage Fortified Petit Verdot (baby VP – yet to be released) = BRONZE
Vintage 2018 for Liebichwein has been another solid season for quality with yields slightly lower overall.
There was an even mild growing ripening season with some bursts of heat early in Summer that made us a little nervous about quality. Grapes started ripening almost two weeks earlier than usual and we commenced picking in the first week of March. Some of the varieties used for fortified like Frontignac and Semillon don?t hold up so well in the heat, so these got picked earlier than usual. A long extended dry period into April allowed Grenache to hang on until we could pick at full-flavour and colour, though the crop was down a little.
On the whole, fortified wine stocks are in good supply and now maturing slowly in barrels. A few reds are maturing in barrel and there were no white wines made this year. As an aside, the table grapes we grow for personal use were of excellent quality providing us with fruit from January to May.