Recommended Australian wine producers

australia-min

Australian wine producers – Looks can be deceiving, the old adage goes. It’s true: The outside is not a very reliable indicator of our inward nature. Sometimes the outward is the opposite the inward. But that doesn’t stop us from being a people who are strongly influenced by what we see.

Lets apply this saying on a wine perspective. For many years, I had a general prejudice against Australian wine. I was under the impression that many of the wines were designed to give you hair on your chest.

However Australia is all about cool-climate, boutique vineyards, diverse terroirs and elegant wines?. Are we really in Australia?

Here are some producers to get you started on your discovery of Australian wines:

 

Penfolds St-Henri Shiraz South Australia 2014

( SAQ # 13822038, $120.25. Expected arrival in November)

Penfolds is without a doubt one of the most, if not the most famous and iconic Australian producer. It has a established worldwide reputation not only from its range of wine ranges and continued history of winemaking in Australia.

 

St Henri is a nEuropean expression of shiraz, and an intriguing counterpoint to Grange. It is rare among high quality Australian red wines as it does not rely on any new oak. Released for the first time by Penfolds in the early 1950s (first commercial vintage 1957), it gained fame in the 1990s as its quality and distinctive style became better known.

 

A beautiful nose more Rhone alike than Australian displaying nuances of licorices, confit violets. Minty with an animal edge. The best of the old and new world.

 

Penfolds Bin 138 GSM Barossa 2014

( Private Import, $53.75/Case of 6, Mark Anthony Wine and Spirits)

 Bin 138 is modelled after the wines of Southern Rhône, where Shiraz, Grenache and Mourvedre are blended to create an amazing wine. Every year the fruit for Bin 138 is sourced from old Barossa Valley vines (100 years old++) and aged for 12 to 15 months in large oak barrels to allow the unique expression of each varietal. The first vintage release of this varietal blend was the 1992, then called ‘Old Vine Barossa Valley’ – it was then promoted to Bin status for the 1998 vintage.

Complex nose reminiscent of menthol, dark blue fruits with an spicy and herbal edge. On the palate, spicy with fine tannins and a very elegant finale.

 

Vasse Felix Filius Chardonnay 2016 ( SAQ # 13738485, $27.00)

 Vasse Felix (established in 1967) was the first winery in the Margaret River region and remains a reference in the region. Vasse Felix specialises in chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon but they also make Sauvignon Blanc, Shiraz and Semillon

A beautiful Chardonnay crafted in a Burgundian model. Classic textbook varietal notes such as bartlett pear, lemon confit and almond cream. On the palate, medium body with a vibrant acidity and redolent of roasted herbs and pineapple. Creamy finale with a lingering oaky aftertaste

 Producer focus: Peter Lehmann wines

Nigel Westblade, chief winemaker of Peter Lehmann

The famous Barossa wine region is about an hour away north of Adelaide, South Australia’s capital and it is here that the Peter Lehmann Wines winery was built in 1979. The first vintage was made in 1980 and in 1982 the winery was formally named Peter Lehmann Wines. From then on, the wines have been marketed under the Peter Lehmann Wines label.

Famous in Australia as the Baron of the Barossa, Lehmann was loved by local grape growers as the hero who rescued their industry and lifestyle.Some 140 growers committed their fruit to his winery and his weighbridge became the spot where the local farmers would gather around every harvest time to swap stories over bottles of wine and platters of pickles, cheese and slices of mettwurst.

Lehmann’s contribution to the industry was acknowledged in 2009 with an International Wine Challenge Lifetime Achievement Award and he became the first Australian wine industry figure to be appointed to the Order of Australia.

Not long ago, I recently had a chance to meet its chief winemaker Nigel Westblade. A quirky winemaker with a profound knowledge of Australian wine. Together we tasted several wines of Peter Lehmann such as the Portrait 2013, Barossa Shiraz 2016 and Stonewell Shiraz 2013. The invitation was a courtesy of its Canadian Importer Galleon.

 

Portrait 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon. SAQ # 13393173, $21.00

 Sourced from multiple sites of the Barossa Valley, taking full advantage of the variety’s multiple characteristics. Aged in a blend of American and French oak. A quite elegant and balanced Barossa Cabernet with classic varietal aromas of cassis and blackberry. Racy in the palate with a lingering finish. 

Barossan Shiraz 2016 . SAQ # 13525535 $19.95

 A high quality Shiraz crafted from selected parcels in the Barossa Valley. Fermented and macerated on skins for up to two weeks, with partial fermentation. Afterwards the wine matures in a mix of French and American oak for 12 months prior to bottling.

Deep and penetrating aromas of jammy black fruit, spices and eucalyptus. Structured and balanced yet very complex in the finale with a silky finish.

Stonewell Shiraz 2013. SAQ #10517265 $76.25

 The name Stonewell was chosen in recognition of the high quality shiraz grapes being grown around Stonewell Road in the Marananga district of the Barossa. The fruit of this Shiraz comes from four fabled vineyards: The Obbiettivo Home Block, Bethany Unit Trust Keil Block, Wayne Falkenberg Home and Roesler Home.

Smoky with complex animal notes. Very Northern Rhone alike with a singular note of black olive tapenade. Fresh with a polished mouthfeel and lingering finale.

Marco Giovanetti – [email protected]

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