Rolf Binder

Rolf Binder
From its inception in 1955, Veritas Winery produced mostly fortified wines as well as the famous 'Bull’s Blood', a blend of Shiraz and century-old Mataro. Now many years later, second generation winemakers Rolf Binder, and his sister Christa Deans, are leading Veritas winery into the future under the Rolf Binder brand. Together they are producing exceptional wines using only the best Barossa fruit.

Rolf Heinrich Binder and his wife, Franziska, arrived in Australia (from Austria and Hungary respectively) in 1950 as part of the large influx of post war immigration to Australia. As payment for the government assistance, they worked with the South Australian railways for three years. During that time they met Elmore Schulz, a train driver and grape grower in the Barossa Valley, and namesake to neighbouring Barossa Valley Estate's E&E Shiraz. While picking grapes in the Barossa in 1953, the couple met Langmeil Road winemakers, Chris Vohrer and Wilhelm Abel. This meeting proved to set their future. In 1954 they worked a vintage in this winery and subsequently purchased the business in 1955, renaming it 'Veritas', taken from the Latin quote "In Vino Veritas" - in wine there is truth. The business name was changed from Veritas to Rolf Binder in 2005 to honour the late Rolf Heinrich Binder who passed away in 2003.

In the 1960s and 70s came the realization of the great riches of the Barossa Valley in old vine Shiraz, Mataro and Grenache. Experiments at Veritas and a number of other, mostly small Barossa wineries followed throughout the 1980s and this led to the release of many exciting old vine varietal blends. Semillon is considered the premium white variety of the Barossa and winemaker, Christa Deans, holds an esteemed position as the producer of benchmark Barossa Semillons. Riesling is also considered superior in the Australian wine industry and the style from the neighbouring Eden Valley is softer and more floral than the seriously steely Rieslings from Europe.

Veritas wines quickly gained recognition with some noteworthy awards including:
1996 - 'Best Small Producer' and 'Best Barossa Shiraz at the Barossa Wine Show
1997 - 'Best Small Producer' at the Barossa Wine Show and 'Best Barossa Shiraz at the Barossa Wine Show
2002 - 'Best Small Producer' at the Barossa Wine Show
2002 - 'Best Semillon' at the Barossa Wine Show. Exhibited the top three pointed semillons at this Show, including the gold medal and trophy winning wine.
2003 - 'Best Semillon' at the Barossa Wine Show
2005 - 'Winemakers of the Year' awarded to Rolf Binder and Christa Deans by the Barons of the Barossa.
2006 - 'Winemaker of the Year' finalist awarded to Rolf Binder by Gourmet Traveller - Kemenys

Winemaker Christa Deans crafts white wines from fruit sourced from the Barossa and Eden Valleys. Varieties used include Riesling, Chardonnay, Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Vermentino, Gewurtztraminer, Frontignac and Viognier.

Winemaker Rolf Binder produces premium red wines made from varieties grown in the Barossa region. Varieties include Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Mataro, Malbec, Petit Syrah, Merlot and Grenache.

The Hanisch Shiraz is the flagship wine from Rolf Binder. Comprising 100% Shiraz grown in the Veritas Estate Chri Ro Vineyard the “Hanisch” is named after the original owner of the vineyard, “Punch’ Hanisch. This special vineyard was purchased in 1968, planted to vines in 1972 and by the mid 1980’s a 1.6 hectare section was recognised for intensely expressive Shiraz of intense aromas, deep colour and flavour. The first Shiraz bottled from this vineyard was in 1988, though it was not called Hanisch, but ‘Long Rows’. The first 'Hanisch' was produced in 1991 and production is always low at only 250 - 500 cases.

The fruit for the Hanisch is sourced from the Chri Ro vineyard on the western slope of the Barossa Valley. The vineyard is on a steep slope and the soils vary markedly as they progress up the slope from Bay of Biscay soil at the bottom to shallow weathered soil with an abundance of ironstone. The fruit is picked for the Hanisch across all of these different soil types giving it an interesting flavour profile due to the impact of the different soil types.

 

The fruit ripens mid season and is picked on flavour ripeness. The fruit is consistently very dark with intense flavours. In the winery the pump-over method is used and each day a small amount of fruit is extracted and fermented in new oak then pumped back in. It is chilled down and then drawn off again. The second pump-over later each day therefore has a higher skin to juice ratio. The grapes are pressed at a Baume of 2 ie fermentation not yet complete and fermentation is completed in oak.


The wine is aged partly in new American oak and a smaller amount in new French oak which has been matured in the Barossa Valley for two years before being made into barrels.

 

The best 70-90% of barrels are chosen to be bottled as Hanisch Shiraz.

The Hanisch has been included in Langton's Classification of the top 101 wines in the country. You need to have produced 10 vintages to be included and they only began making Hanisch in 1991 and did not make a 2000.

The accolades for the Hanisch Shiraz go on and on. A wine where absolutely no compromise is made - in fruit quality, in oak quality, and in viticultural practices. The winemaking remains as always testament to this great wine. Barossa is, of course, famous for Shiraz and Hanisch Shiraz stands out among the classic wines from this region. Complex flavours abound in this full-bodied wine with soft gentle tannins, and a long lingering finish. Given a near perfect score of 99/100 by America's highly respected wine critic, Robert Parker, this wine is ageing in the cellars of some of the most discerning people in Australia and hotly auctioned in the world wine market, the fame of this wine will continue to grow as the years go by.

The Hanisch has also been the only wine to have won back-to-back 1st Prize Trophies in the Barossa Wine Show (in 1993 and 1994). It has its own unique style with hugely intense flavours, full-bodied and well-balanced due to a unique patch of vineyard.

Robert Parker Scores for Recent Hanisch Vintages:

1996 - 97 pts

1997 -- 97 pts

1998 - 99 pts

1999 - 91 pts

2000 - not produced

2001 - 92 pts

2002 - 98 pts

2003 - 97 pts

2004 - 94 pts

2005 - 98 pts

2006 - 97 pts

2009 - 94 pts

2010 - 95 pts

The Hanisch philosophy is to make the best possible wine from that vineyard every year and to be the best wine in the Rolf Binder collection. This is an outstanding premium wine - very special and somewhat rare and I feel privileged and grateful to be able to offer it to Barossa Reserve customers.


Michael Williams
Michael Williams

Author

Michael has lived in the Barossa Valley for 10-years. He was a co-founder of the Barossa based wine appreciation group. Having had such long associations with the Barossa Valley, Michael is inevitably called upon by his friends and business colleagues to help them buy good wines or select the wine whenever eating out. As founder of Barossa Reserve, Michael brings a virtual Wine Region tour and Cellar Door experience to lovers of outstanding premium Barossa wines to those who cant get there themselves.