The Caravan of Dreams, early days at Tatiarra (image copyright Tatiarra)
Australian wines have come a long way since the Monty Python team ridiculed them as wines “to be laid down and avoided!” For the last 25 years much of Australia’s wine industry has become best known for routinely making technically-correct, mass-market, branded wines meeting popular price points – however there has also been a growing movement of smaller, high-quality producers crafting fine wines that reflect their Australian heritage and their origins in the country’s traditional quality growing areas. Renowned regions like the Barossa, Mclaren Vale, the Clarendon Hills, Langhorne Creek, Padthaway and Heathcote are home to numerous producers lovingly tending low yielding old vines and using traditional techniques to produce concentrated Shirazes and Cabernets with a stylistic generosity rarely found elsewhere.
At Coe Vintners we have managed to secure a large parcel of mature (mostly from the 2002-2006 vintages) Australian classic reds. We are now offering them at prices we are confident are very sharp.
Below you will find a list of the wines available, I would draw your attention to the right hand column detailing the points out of 100 given to the wines by leading American wine critic Robert Parker. Identifying stand-out wines from this glittering line up is nigh on impossible so a brief background to the regions and the wineries follows in its place!
Located 60 km northeast of Adelaide, the Barossa Valley is one of Australia’s oldest fine wine regions. The region’s high sunshine hours and dry climate make it ideal for the production of rich, ripe, full-bodied reds form varieties such as Shiraz and Grenache.
Glen Eldon is a family owned and operated winery established by Mary and Richard Sheedy in 1997. Previously Richard had been Winemaker at Elderton having worked at St Hallett before that. Glen Eldon is a premium winery specialising in regional wines typical of the Barossa region.
Kaesler The Kaesler family settled in the Barossa Valley in the 1840’s, planting vines in Nuriootpa in 1893. In the last half of the twentieth century the Kaesler vineyards were divided between the family and sold off, however its current owners have gradually reassembled the property. Today Kaesler remains privately owned and produces wines from their own ancient, dry grown-vineyards, including several acres of Shiraz from those original plantings.
Rolf Binder Formerly the Veritas Winery it was renamed in 2005 to honour Rolf Binder, its former owner and the winemaker for half a century. Rolf’s son and daughter now make the wines but are determined to maintain its boutique nature and “hands-on” approach to winemaking.
Torbreck is arguably the doyen of Barossa Shiraz producers. This stellar winery owes its rise to stardom to the skill of founder Dave Powell who demonstrated an almost magical ability to source fruit from ancient vineyards and then to restrain its power, crafting it into elegant, concentrated wines with tremendous ageing potential. The Runrig, the Factor and the Descendant on the attached list are all starting to drink now, but have good long futures ahead of them. Please note the large format bottles available.
Viking Wines is a tiny (approximately 2000 cases a year) boutique winery making classic Barossa Valley Reds. Swedish owner Thord Soderstrom and his wife Charmaine start with superb dry-farmed, old-vine fruit and apply traditional winemaking practices to produce brilliant-value examples of typical Barossa Reds.
Click here to see the Barossa wines available - will take time to load as there are many!
Ten kilometres northeast of McLaren Vale and 250 metres higher above sea level, Clarendon enjoys longer, milder and slightly more consistent ripening conditions. Growers here pick 2 to 3 weeks after those in the McLaren Vale and, producing wines with slightly more elegance and structure.
Clarendon Hills is the archetypal Australian boutique winery. Founded in 1990 by self-taught winemaker Roman Bratasiuk. Roman employs ancient, low yielding vines to produce high class, single vineyard wines to convey both place and varietal expression. Clarendon and its surrounding districts provide him with both varied soils and locations, and plentiful marvellous old vineyards.
Click here to see the Clarendon wines available
The McLaren Vale wine region, in the north-west of the Fleurieu Peninsula, is approximately 35 kilometres south of Adelaide. Here high sunshine hours allow rich, full-bodied styles of wine to be made, but cooling sea breezes allow the wines to retain good structure and elegance.
Fox Creek grew from a small vineyard planted by a group of doctors and their families. Current owners Jim and Helen Watts bought the 32 hectare property in 1984, ignoring advice not to plant in the property’s black clay soils, they applied modern viticultural techniques and were soon producing high quality fruit and award winning wines.
Kay Brothers The oldest family-owned winery in McLaren Vale, Kay Brothers are still producing traditional red wines in the same location where in 1891 by Fred and Herbert Kay first planted 12 acres of Shiraz vines.
Click here to see the McLaren Vale wines available
The historic Langhorne Creek lies a couple of hours drive south of Adelaide. The region produces elegant Cabernets and well-structured Shiraz with a characteristic earthy undertone. The region has its own approach to irrigation, with the locals annually encouraging the river Bremer to flood the vineyards. Its fruit lies at the heart of many classic Australian blends.
Killibinbin is a brand owned by Guy and Liz Adams who produce the wine from fruit grown on their Metala Vineyard. The highly renowned Metala Vineyard was first planted in 1891. Today there are 750 acres of vines, some of which are up to 120 years old.
Click here to see the Langhorne Creek wines available
Padthaway lies in the heart of the Limestone Coast Region in the South East of South Australia. The valley has a Mediterranean climate with warm, dry summers with cool nights that assist flavour ripening. Winters are reasonably cold and normally fairly wet. Vineyards were first established here in 1963 and many of the major Australian wine companies source much of their fruit from the region.
Henry’s Drive the Longbottom family planted vines here in 1992. Proprietor Kim Longbottom, a New Zealander from Marlborough, established the winery with husband Mark, making their first wine in 1998. Tragically Mark died ten years later and today Kim continues building the business in line with the principles they shared – that the wines should reflect Padthaway’s regionality and the individual character of each vineyard. Click here to see the Henry’s Drive wines currently available
Heathcote’s ancient, deep, red, friable Cambrian soils are for producing Shiraz. These excellent soils combine with a climate that is lightly cooled by altitude allowing fruit to attain an attractive balance even with relatively high alcohol levels.
Tatiarra is a specialist, niche producer making wines solely from Shiraz, in the premium Heathcote region in Central Victoria. Winemaker Ben Riggs has made these wines with the intention of them having the ability to age for up to 20 years!
Click here to see the Tatiarra wines currently available