Deck the halls & meet our winemakers

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Vintage Cellars
December 12, 2018
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Count down to Christmas with our vinous advent calendar of 24 wines to discover and savour, and meet the men and women behind these superb wines.

Rosé

Why not make this on-trend style a highlight of your festivities with wines selected from these top rosé producers?


Shingleback

John Davey adheres to the adage that "Great wine begins in the vineyard" but few winemakers claim John's enviable position — the standpoint of overseeing winemaking from vine to bottle, an advantage that John believes gives the Shingleback wines a competitive edge. This modern, dry-style rosé is a blend of pinot noir, shiraz, grenache and mourvèdre.

 

Bird In Hand

Perched in the cooler clime of the Adelaide Hills, Bird in Hand is a family business established by the Nugent family in 1997. Master of Wine Kym Milne leads the winemaking team and while he also has a penchant for Italian varieties, pinot noir is the star in this particular rosé. The acidity, flavours and tannin of this cool climate variety give it a lively, refreshing kick-along.

 

FRANÇOIS DULAC

We love Provence, for its cheery dry rosé, which is by far its most important and popular style. In the

Côtes de Provence AOC (appellation d'origine contrôlée) region, which comprises 20,100 hectares

of vines, 90%is made into rosé! The main varieties are grenache, mourvèdre, syrah, cinsault and tibouren.

This one, made by Vincent Euzet, is a stellar example.

 

DOMAINE DE TRIENNES

In 1989, two Burgundians, Jacques Seysses and Aubert de Villaine, and a Parisian friend, Michel Macaux, went in search of new vineyards. Their attention turned to a hill near Aix-en-Provence, some 30km from the Mediterranean. Today, Domaine de Triennes is led by Winemaker Remy Laugier, who crafts rosés like this, featuring syrah, cinsault, merlot and grenache.
  

Shiraz

Uncover some of Australia’s most iconic red wines in these impressive offerings from shiraz winemakers.

 

LANGMEIL

There’s a moment when all the effort, barrel time and blending comes together with the first taste of a new wine. Langmeil’s Winemaker Paul Lindner finds this the best part of winemaking. Langmeil's prestigious history dates back to 1842. It has access to some of the best fruit in the Barossa. Reflective of its terroir, this shiraz is a great expression of the fantastic growing conditions. It's rich and full, velvety and seamless, with bright fruit, plum, mulberry and raspberry, all layering the rich palate.

 

Mollydooker

Sarah Marquis has been making big, densely fruited reds to great acclaim since Mollydooker’s inception in 2006. In 2017, Sarah parted ways with co-founder and co-owner Sparky Marquis to become the sole owner, declaring that the new role was “part of the ongoing growth and evolution of the brand". According to Marquis, the commitment to producing consistently world-class wines "hasn’t — and won’t — change”. The Boxer Shiraz is the epitome of the full-bodied Mollydooker style.

 

RK by Giaconda

The initials “RK” are those f one of Australia’s great winemakers, Rick Kinzbrunner, of Giaconda in Victoria's Beechworth, whose name brings great cachet. The RK range is a collaboration between Rick and Vintage Cellars that began with the 2008 vintage. Exclusive to Vintage Cellars, RK Shiraz began as an homage to the cooler Northern Rhône wines of Crozes-Hermitage and Cornas, but morphed into its own distinctive Beechworth style, with pure spice, plum and mulberry flavours.

 

Clonakilla

Noted champion of the shiraz-viognier style is Clonakilla’s Tim Kirk. He was one of the first Australians to marry the two when, for the 1992 vintage, he blended shiraz with viognier. There has been much fine-tuning since, but what sets this wine apart is its restraint and a structure that's more medium bodied. It’s a beautifully balanced wine with fine, detailed tannins and that lovely spicy-floral note that viognier brings to the blend. The critics loved it: James Halliday awarded it 98 points; Nick Stock, 99.

 

Cabernets & Blends

Colour your Christmas table red with these luscious drops from some of our most respected winemakers.

 

Evans & Tate

Evans & Tate has played a major part in Margaret River’s vinous history since 1974. Headed by Matt Byrne, the winemaking team crafts a diverse range of wines, from the Evans & Tate Cabernet Sauvignon flagship to its well-priced, drink-now E&T range, whose fruit is sourced from various WA regions. Fermented and aged in stainless steel, with 10% matured in French oak barrels, the wine is blended just before bottling, with the vintage determining the final blend. The current ratio is 56% cabernet sauvignon, 41% merlot and 3% shiraz.

 

Some Young Punks

Jen Gardner, Col McBryde and Nic Bourke are the winemakers behind Some Young Punks, a company kick-started in 2006 with look-at-me labels like Passion Has Red Lips, reminiscent of popular 20th-century pulp fiction covers. It’s all about  having fun, but with good winemaking. The fruit is hand-picked, not overly extracted, fermented using wild yeast and bottled unfiltered. Simple. Respectful. A little cheeky.

 

Leeuwin Estate

The top tier in Leeuwin Estate’s range of excellent wines, the Art Series is so named because commissions from leading Australian artists adorn the labels. These labels are compelling pieces of art, and just as compelling is the wine, which represents the estate’s most opulent and age-worthy. Senior Winemaker Tim Lovett credits the terroir of Margaret River, especially its maritime climate, for producing outstanding cabernet sauvignon.

 

Moss Wood

Since its inception in 1969, Moss Wood has established itself as one of Australia's leading wine producers, with a name that's become synonymous with high-end cabernet sauvignon from the unofficial subregion of Wilyabrup. This pioneer of the Margaret River wine scene is owned and run by Clare and Keith Mugford, who make distinctive cabernet sauvignon, bolstered by splashes of cabernet franc and petit

verdot in the final blend. It’s beautiful and powerful in its youth, yet built to age.

 

Pinot Gris & Grigio

Why not put one of these "new whites on the winemaking block" in the spotlight at your Christmas drink festivities.

 

Jules Taylor

When Jules Taylor made her first wines in 2001 under her own label, just riesling and pinot gris featured.

Since then, she's added other varieties and styles, including the ubiquitous Marlborough sauvignon blanc (which she loves). Recent plantings of two better pinot gris clones have resulted in smaller berries with more concentrated fruit flavours. The portion of hand-picked fruit undergoes wild fermentation in older

oak barrels with some lees stirring, all of which contributes to the creamy texture and rich flavor of this wondrous wine.

 

Wolfberger

Established in 1902, the wine co-operative Wolfberger, led by Head Winemaker Jérôme Keller,

is based in the historic city of Eguisheim, Alsace, where oenologists are considered "taster, technician and

magician". Wolfberger sources fruit from 420 growers working across 1200 hectares of vines. It's one of our favourite producers in Alsace, not least for the Wolfberger Black Pinot Gris, which is beautifully restrained and allows the purity of the fruit to shine through. It's rich and balanced on the palate.

 

Frogmore Creek

Frogmore Creek, based in the Coal River Valley just outside Hobart, produces several labels, including

42 Degrees South. Senior Winemaker Alain Rousseau trained as a winemaker in the Loire Valley. He crafts

wines that are generally fruit-driven and fresh, aiming to highlight the cool-climate Tasmanian sites where the varieties grow, notably pinot grigio (he opts for the Italian nomenclature rather than the French pinot gris). He calls his approach "lazy winemaking — we want the fruit to do the work".

 

Peregrine

The family-owned Peregrine winery, based in Gibbston, is one of the success stories of Central Otago,

NZ. Let us count the ways: commitment to organic farming; varieties that excel in the region; and meticulous winemaking, led by Nadine Cross, who has worked in California, France’s Loire Valley and

Marlborough. Pinot gris is suited to this cool climate and Peregrine makes two, the fruit sourced largely

from two very disparate areas — Bendigo and Pisa.

 

Sauvignon Blanc

It would surely be unAustralian not to serve sauvignon blanc at your Christmas table, so consider these fine examples.

 

Forester Estate

Forester Estate, based in Yallingup in northern Margaret River, is a family business with owner Kevin

McKay (above) at the helm. Todd Payne is charged with the day-to-day winemaking, and his experience working in New Zealand in the late 2000s has led to an affinity with sauvignon blanc. At

Forester Estate, the variety reveals wild-nettle and pine-needle characters offset by complexity and texture, thanks to wild-yeast fermentation. A large portion is aged for three months in new and seasoned French barriques.

 

Dandelion Vineyards

While red wines form the heart of Dandelion Vineyards' portfolio of styles, winemaker Elena Brooks also sources fruit from the Eden Valley for her rieslings, then moves to the Adelaide Hills for chardonnay and sauvignon blanc. There’s something special about sauvignon blanc from the Adelaide Hills — the way it

can capture the zest and freshness of the variety, yet add a lemon-grapefruit pith texture to the palate.

 

Saint Clair

There are no signs that the appeal of Marlborough sauvignon blanc is abating. Wine lovers appreciate its unique herbal-tropical fruit flavours, freshness and zing. Saint Clair has been a trailblazer, thanks to owners/viticulturists Judy and Neal Ibbotson, who have been growing grapes for 40 years. Block 3 in New Zealand's lower Wairau region is a mere three metres above sea level. One of the cooler vineyards, its fruit ripens more slowly, resulting in crushed-herb flavours and a mouth-watering acidity.

 

Florian Mollet

Vigneron Florian Mollet comes from a long line of Loire grape growers whose history spans generations.

He took over Domaine Mollet-Maudry in 2000, the family estate comprising more than 10 hectares, including prized vineyard Clos du Roc de l’Abbaye in Sancerre. This is a beautiful, hilly wine region that has earned an international reputation for its leading grape — sauvignon blanc.  Florian Mollet's is a name to remember, as he produces deliciously mineral Sancerre.

 

Chardonnay

Bring chardonnay to light with these local and international expressions from iconic names in winemaking.

 

Wente

Pioneers of the American wine scene, the Wente family is celebrating its 135th anniversary this year, making it the country’s oldest continuously run family winery. It’s also touted as California’s first family of chardonnay, thanks to the sourcing of cuttings from France’s vine nursery at Montpellier University in the early 20th century. Today, more than 80% of California’s chardonnay can be traced back to those vines, now dubbed the Wente clone.

 

William Fèvre

William Fèvre is often hailed as the godfather of traditional Chablis. In the late 1950s, he bought up abandoned vineyards in Chablis and set about reimagining chardonnay. Today, the domaine's Grand Cru wines are a benchmark of the variety. Cellar Master Didier Séguier recently received the International Wine Challenge White Winemaker of the Year 2018 award. Cool-climate chardonnay planted over limestone clay gives the wine a green tinge, flavours of minerals and stones, and the ability to age nicely.


Deep Woods

Deep Woods Estate’s Chief Winemaker, Julian Langworthy, creates some of the most sought-after wines in the country, winning trophy after trophy for a range of wines, from rosé and cabernet sauvignon to chardonnay. One of the keys to his success is ensuring the wines are regionally distinctive, and there’s no question Julian's chardonnay is the essence of Margaret River. Julian was recently anointed James Halliday Winemaker of the Year 2019.