Sevenhill Cellars was established in the Clare Valley in 1851, and since its foundation there have only been seven winemakers among the Jesuit brothers’ community. To create a label that commemorates an inheritance as venerable as this takes courage, patience and considerable ambition.
The starting point was to determine where the wine would sit within the Sevenhill range, and appropriately the Seven Brothers’ label was designated to the pinnacle of the portfolio.
Accordingly, the wine is sourced from the revered Schreiner block of Shiraz – prized vines that were planted more than 150 years ago, and which typically yield a small quantity for each Seven Brothers’ vintage release.
The design inspiration references the great ecclesiastical tradition of ‘illuminating’ manuscripts – the centuries-old practice of crafting ornate detail from the gothic lettering of early handmade printing.
In fact, the label’s striking gold icon is of particular significance to Sevenhill as it borrows from the handcrafted typography of the Missal Romanum, produced by the renowned European art printer Henry Reiss in 1872. The book, gifted to Sevenhill’s Jesuit community, is displayed in the Sevenhill College.
Sevenhill’s Seven Brothers Old-Vine Shiraz – like the manuscript that inspired the label’s design – is an honoured testament to the hands, hearts and labour of those who have gone before us.
The flagship wine’s first vintage was created when fruit from Sevenhill’s historic Schreiner Shiraz block was set aside from the 2006 harvest. With just 17 rows that were planted in the early 1860s, this vineyard is considered a notable site on the Sevenhill estate, regularly producing low yields of intensely flavoured fruit.
When the decision was made to devote this fruit solely to a super-premium label of exceptional providence, it was considered appropriate that it should recognise the Jesuit winemakers’ contribution to Sevenhill’s foundation and development of Sevenhill’s winemaking heritage, starting with planting of the first vines in September 1851 and making of the first wine in 1856. These first vines were established to provide altar wine when the supplies that the Jesuits brought with them from Austria were depleted.
The Shiraz vines of Sevenhill’s Schreiner block grow on greyish-brown, massive sandy loam over a reddish-brown light sandy clay loam, with their roots reaching 140 centimetres to the weathered, quartzitic silt stone below. The treasured, deep-rooted vines are nurtured by hand pruning and picking, ensuring these old warriors continue to produce their prized fruit.
This small batch of Shiraz is crafted to preserve its site-specific character through fermentation in open slate vats and gentle basket pressing. After time in French oak and further bottle ageing, the result is a superb expression of varietal character. Typically, the wine shows formidable berry flavours, soft tannins and just a note of traditional pepper.
On average, only 50 dozen bottles of this esteemed wine are made for each vintage of the Seven Brothers’ Old-Vine Shiraz, which is released as an exclusive offering to members of Sevenhill’s premium wine club, The Slate Cellar.
The character and provenance of the wine is reflected in the stylish packaging, developed by Tucker Creative.