JC’s Own is the solo venture of Jaysen Collins. We know Jaysen very well, through his Massena wines that he produces with his friend, Barossa veteran and Vinorium favourite, Dan Standish. It’s fair to say that Jaysen follows a creative style of winemaking, interfering as little as possible and allowing the grapes to do the work for him.
Winemakers Note: I cut my winemaking teeth in the heavy red soils of the north west of the Barossa, where Greenock is the jewel of the crown in my opinion. My winery is here, the pub does a good burger and by chance there’s some pretty good shiraz vineyards knocking about.
A few vintages ago I came across a vineyard just on the north of the Greenock township that hides behind some big gum trees. It runs down a small hill facing east, with lean soils, cooler afternoons, tiny yields, small berries - how asleep had I been to drive past this vineyard for several years? But I’m definitely alert now!
I like shiraz that is big on fruit intensity but is more supple and svelte on the palate, powerful yet velvety, structured but sensual - I could go on but I think I’ve conveyed my point.
So, this is a rare single site treat from my part of the world and a true connection to my beginnings in making wine.
Winemakers Note: I love Grenache, I love its versatility and its drinkability. I was mostly drawn to getting involved with the process and leaning to more textural, structured and savoury versions. Then one day I got to thinking, what about just doing nothing and let the grapes do the work.
So, I chucked a few bins of hand-picked grenache grapes into a tank with a bit of co2, sealed the lid and came back several weeks later. When I lifted the lid, I was hit with a whole lot of gassy funk, but in a really good way. It was wild and feral but mostly intoxicating.
So, for a few weeks after I just jumped on top of these bunches, breaking them up, in real terms to build structure, but mostly to get lost in the ferine like smells that filled the air.
Stuart McCloskey “By far one of my favourite annual releases, as I am fascinated by the wacky blend (Old Vine Chenin Blanc and Crouchen, Angaston; Sauvignon Blanc, Adelaide Hills; Chardonnay, Krondorf; Pinot Gris, Adelaide Hills) and the textural feel too, the wine provides glass after glass of uncompromised satisfaction. The grapes are lovingly hand harvested, foot treaded and left on stalks and skins for 24 hours. JC ages the wine on the lees for 11 months and bottles unfined and unfiltered, hence a little cloudiness. Bring everything together and you are presented with a textural beauty which will gain complexity over the coming 3-5 years, but there is no harm in drinking this wine now as it’s so irresistible. I adore texture and I love wines that do not conform – The caveat being that I am not a fan of daft / wacky wines which are created to disrupt. More often than not, they are produced for social media and rarely succeed. For me, JC is a brilliant winemaker with his natural skill for white wines being his ultimate gift. This man can produce bloody amazing wines which are thrilling, sensuous and just outright delicious. The nose is a riot – I actually find myself unable to put the glass down. There’s a touch of oxidation (perfectly acceptable) along with a savoury mélange of hay, wild grass, a milky chalkiness, perhaps a little bruised apple and sweet spice. The palate feel gets my juices flowing – waxy and grippy - my cheeks puckering a little. Savoury, with that fresh grassy character. This is stunningly explosive on the palate. A riot of… Actually, I am struggling to be succinct as there is so much going on. In short, and following a very long tasting note, this is simply a must have. It’s a joy and will be the only wine to serve in the garden this year. Drink now to 2025. Served using Zalto Universal glassware.”
Winemakers Note: I grew up across the road from a famous old school winemaker who was known to be one of the best blenders of his generation. So, for years I followed this ideal in the wines I was making. For a hands-off winemaker, you actually feel like you are doing something!
One day pondering life, the universe and everything I thought about why I hadn’t challenged this notion. Grenache and friends work well together - I’ll just pick them within a few days of each other, chuck it all in one fermenter and let the ferment rock it in its own way.
So, my theory is that the different varieties bring something complimentary, but they also bring something individual - so equal but opposite reactions in the ferment. I then remembered my high school physics and worked out it’s actually the same way a rocket works. Go figure.
Jaysen Collins (winemaker) - "Vermouth, the name derived from the German 'Wermut' for wormwood, was usually made to cover up some flawed wine. Add some aromatics and a bit of spirit and all is made right again. I wanted to try it on the opposite spectrum, make the best white wine I could, source some premium herbs and spices and have a bash at it. This dry Wermut is made from premium Marsanne, grown on the western ridge in the Barossa Valley. The wine is wild fermented and aged on lees for texture and body.
96+ - 97 Points - Stuart McCloskey “I have little tasting experience with this blend nonetheless, it’s starting to blossom beautifully. The bouquet reveals swathes of black fruits – the sweetness of the blackcurrant contrast wonderfully with the cooling tones of graphite and cedar. This is beautifully focused and structured. I like the freshness - there’s a Burgundian feel which I really enjoy. Similar to Stuart’s Cabernets – this is wonderfully elegant and graceful with fine, filigree tannins. Perhaps a tad more compact, but a lovely wine to contemplate the afternoon with, rather than drink and ignore… It improves with a few hours in the decanter, becoming more expressive whilst retaining a regal elegance. I would like to take a bottle home to acquaint myself fully (I will report back soon). Very drinkable today, but it will continue to develop for a further five years. Decanted for 2-3 hours and served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware.”
97 Points - Stuart McCloskey “And here we are – a wine which aptly displays the difference in drinkability between Stuart’s Queen of the Earth and estate wines. The bouquet is simply glorious with drifts of marine scented citrus and orchard fruits interwoven with fine scents of jasmine. The palate is fresh, incisive and leads with a wonderful streak of mineralité which I adore. This is a serious wine and should be treated with respect. Store carefully, keep out of a cold fridge, decant and serve using your best glassware. Serve blind and you would believe you are consuming Grand Cru Chablis (try it and please let me know). Texturally, this is on point and delivers crashing waves of citrus / mineral tinged fruit. Wonderful acidity, beautifully balanced with a pleasing accent of salinity. A truly ‘wow’ wine for the respectable price tag. I adore the warming ginger and lemon zest on the incredibly long finish. Simply gorgeous. Drink now to 2030. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware.”
98 Points - Stuart McCloskey “I have enjoyed sampling the 2013 and 2014 vintages side-by-side, with the ’13 offering more volume and richness (albeit, restrained). The bouquet is wonderous and conveys warmed oyster shells, cooling graphite, cedar, fresh mint leaf. Black liquorice builds, along with mulberry. You must admire the fruit, tannin and acidity, which are perfectly judged – Orange peel freshness aligning the two wines. Similar to the ’14, this flows with layer upon layer of detailed, effortless complexity. The gentle grip of silky tannins are a delight. I'm left gobsmacked if truth be known. Drink now, as I cannot see how this will improve. Of course, it will age (for a decade or more), but I do not see any benefits post 2025. Decanted for 2-3 hours and served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware.”
98 Points - Stuart McCloskey “This is so suave and effortless, very St Julien if I were to draw a comparison. The bouquet unfurls with such grace, it is rather hypnotic. The palate is fresh and equally graceful – the tannins are ultra-fine. I am sampling this with a beautiful piece of music (Vide Cor Meum – you must try the combination as it’s a wonderful pairing). I suggest finding a quiet corner, a good book and several hours to appreciate the sense of symmetry. The palate gently reveals crème de cassis, liquorice and a little sweet raspberry – superbly ‘classical.’ I detect orange peel developing towards a perfectly dignified finish. With time, the melioration in the glass is breathtaking… A genius bottle of mesmerising Cabernet Sauvignon. Delightful and ready to enjoy now. Decanted for 2-3 hours and served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware.