The recently opened Watkins Family Wine cellar door in the Adelaide Hills.
Bondar Wines, Lino Ramble and Sherrah Wines.
Knappstein Wines in the Clare Valley.
Daughter in Law's Jessi Singh and Sacha Imrie.

SA’s New Openings

It’s been a busy couple of months in South Australia. The Adelaide Hills and McLaren Vale have both welcomed new cellar doors, while over in the Clare Valley Knappstein have opened the doors on their new renovated tasting space – all this just in time for the busy festive season.

In McLaren Vale, local favourites Bondar Wines, Lino Ramble and Sherrah Wines have opened a joint cellar door. The three wineries host their own separate tasting rooms in the venue, which makes it the ideal one-stop-shop to taste your way through the next generation of McLaren Vale producers. Check out each website for up-to-date information on their individual opening hours: bondarwines.com.au; linoramble.com.au; sherrahwines.com.au

In the Adelaide Hills, Watkins Family Wine have opened their cellar door in Chandler Hills. The winery offers tastings and tours, alongside coffee from local favourites Dawn Patrol and food trucks on the weekends. For more info visit watkins.wine

In the Clare Valley, Knappstein have revealed their renovated cellar door which now features a larger tasting and wine sales space. It also comes with the announcement of a new Wine Lounge, and the public opening of the venue’s prestigious Underground Cellar at the end of the year. Visit knappstein.com.au for more information.
Seville Kitchen Head Chef Soren Thogersen.

Chenin Blanc Challenge

Australian chenin blanc has been pushed into the spotlight with the launch of the Swan Valley Winemakers Association’s Chenin Blanc Challenge. Held at Mandoon Estate, more than 60 wines from across Australia were submitted for judging. The wines were judged by the challenge’s panel chaired by Cath Oates of Oates Ends, and included State Building’s Emma Farrelly, La Vigna’s Ann Marie Tamburri, and wine writer and GT WINE contributor Erin Larkin.

The 2015 John Kosovich Reserve Chenin Blanc took out the top spot, picking up the Best Chenin Blanc of Australia along with Best Chenin Blanc of Swan District. The Best Young Chenin Blanc of Australia and Best Chenin Blanc of Margaret River was awarded to the 2020 Voyager Estate Chenin Blanc.
Phoenix Kamsteeg is the manager at Tamburlaine’s new cellar door.

Old Expressions

A wine that is pleasing on the palate and has a good story behind it is always an attractive proposition. Château Tanunda, which celebrated 130 years of winemaking in the Barossa, has a couple of contenders that fit the bill. Their 150 Year Old Vines Semillon (A$60) is made from what are believed to be some of the oldest ungrafted semillon vines in the world. This delicious lively, fresh and quite seamless wine will happily cellar for more than a decade. Equally intriguing is the 2016 150 Year Old Vine 1858 Field Blend (A$500) made from grenache, mourvèdre and malbec sourced from dry-grown classified Ancestor vines from a small block in Springton in the Eden Valley. There’s plenty of dark berry fruit and dry herbs with fine tannins and length. Only tiny quantities of both wines are made, so lay your hands on them if you can.

Visit chateautanunda.com

Wines of Tasmania

Five of Tasmania’s leading wineries have come together to launch the Wines of Tasmania online wine store. The platform offers monthly subscription boxes featuring premium Tasmanian wines, which have been blind-tasted and chosen by industry experts to feature on the site.

The initiative was founded and is led by Katrina Myburgh, and includes Fran Austin and Shane Holloway from Delamere Vineyards, Bec and Tim Duffy from Holm Oak, Linda Morice (wife of the late Vaughn Dell) from Sinapius, and Fiona Weller and Julian Allport from Moores Hill.

Myburgh says the idea came as a response to Covid-19 and a desire to push Tasmanian wine further. “I saw an opportunity to build a quality umbrella brand that would select the finest wines ... and share them with someone who has not had much exposure to Tasmanian wine, knowing that they would be blown away by every single bottle.”

Find out more at winesoftasmania.com.au
Seville Kitchen Head Chef Soren Thogersen.

Patrick of Coonawarra

Coonawarra is known for its respect for tradition, especially when it comes to cabernet sauvignon, but Patrick of Coonawarra – one of the region’s most enterprising estates – is pushing the envelope with their new Méthode Range. Patrick is renowned for their riesling, one of a few producers working with the variety in Coonawarra, as well as their age-worthy cabernet. The two new wines include the 2020 Skinny Riesling, a full-bodied, textural, skin-contact version of their classic riesling, and the 2020 Cabernet Nouveau, a fresh-fruited, approachable style of the region’s hero inspired by Beaujolais Nouveau.

The Méthode Wines (RRP: A$32) are available from patrickofcoonawarra.com
Phoenix Kamsteeg is the manager at Tamburlaine’s new cellar door.

What a Lark

Lark Distillery and Wolf of the Willows Brewing Co have been working in collaboration since 2018, when it was decided that empty Lark whisky casks would be sent to the Victoria- based brewery to be filled with Wolf of the Willows Imperial Johnny Smoke Porter. Once having helped to add the required nuances to the brew, the casks are returned to Lark and filled with single malt whisky. The Lark Wolf Release 2020 (A$239), which is limited to 1,830 bottles, shows roasted malt and liquorice characters on the palate, with punchy tropical notes and a pleasing smoky oak finish.

larkdistillery.com
Brisbane's City Winery is opening a second cellar door on Edward Street.

What would you do with an Eighth Day?

That’s what Queensland’s Witches Falls Winery are asking you with the launch of their new cider range Eighth Day Cider. The idea was born from chief winemaker Jon Heslop’s desire to create a premium cider that truly showcases the quality of Queensland fruit through minimal-intervention processes. The range encompasses an ethos of slowing down and appreciating the little things – particularly relevant for infamous 2020 isn’t it?

The range features four products: The Eighth Day Ginger Cider ($30 per 4 pack), Granny Smith Cider ($27 per 4 pack), Pink Lady Cider ($27 per 4 pack) and Rosé Cider ($30 per 4 pack). The products are all a hard apple cider base, sourced from 100% fresh Granite Belt apples and spices with the Rosé also featuring a splash of Witches Falls shiraz.

The range is currently available in selected bottle shops across south-east Queensland and northern New South Wales, as well as online via witchesfalls.com.au
Seville Kitchen Head Chef Soren Thogersen.

Orlando Reblooms

South Australia's historic and beloved Orlando wine brand, which is owned by Pernod Ricard, recently relaunched in Australia. With a revamped, retro-inspired image, the relaunch celebrates the brand's history while simultaneously raising a glass to the future of stalwart regions such as the Barossa and Coonawarra.

The range of distinctively regional but thoroughly approachable wines, including the renowned Steingarten Riesling (which had previously been marketed under the Jacob's Creek label).

Our top picks include the 2019 Hilary Chardonnay (A$35), a taut and vibrant expression of Adelaide Hills fruit and the juicy, textural 2019 Cellar 13 Barossa Valley Grenache (A$35), as well as the 2015 Lawson's Padthaway Shiraz (A$75), a structured, cellar-worthy red typical of the Limestone Coast region of Padthaway.

For more information visit orlandowines.com
Phoenix Kamsteeg is the manager at Tamburlaine’s new cellar door.

Cabernet Collaboration

For 27 years Coonawarra's winemakers have banded together and hit the road, promoting and pouring wines for consumers around Australia as part of the Coonawarra Roadshow.

This year's Roadshow was cancelled but the region's savvy producers haven't let that get in the way of a good time, with the launch of shop.coonawarra.org, a new website allowing consumers around the country to purchase exclusive mixed wine packs from Coonawarra's most sought-after wineries.

All packs have been curated by regional body Coonawarra Vignerons and are designed to showcase the best of the region.
Seville Kitchen Head Chef Soren Thogersen.

Swift Releases

It’s been 10 years since Orange’s Printhie Wines launched their Swift Sparkling range. To celebrate, they've released their fifth product in the series: the 2016 Swift Blanc de Noirs (A$65). It’s their first pinot noir dominant blend, making for a rich, powerful and elegant wine – perfect to pair with salmon or trout. They’ve also released the latest disgorgement of their Swift NV Rosé Brut (A$40), which has already been awarded 2020 Sparkling Wine of the Year at the NSW Wine Awards.

See the full Swift Sparkling range at printhiewines.com.au
Phoenix Kamsteeg is the manager at Tamburlaine’s new cellar door.

Tellurian Tranter

The latest shiraz releases from Heathcote’s Tellurian are worth seeking out, if not for their expressive and complex conveyance of Heathcote’s ancient soils, then for their excellent value, and sheer approachability now. The 2016 Block 3 TLR Shiraz, and 2016 Block 3 SR Shiraz (both A$42) offer fascinating insights into the higher and lower parts of the Tellurian vineyard respectively, while the flagship 2017 Tranter Shiraz (A$40) brings the site together in a finely balanced, medium-bodied, dark-fruited wine from an “idyllic” vintage – one for now or the cellar.

tellurianwines.com.au  

Voyager Estate

Margaret River’s Voyager Estate is well on the way to organic certification and as a consequence, the wines are looking better than ever. The latest chardonnay releases are a lesson in vitality and balance, but for those seeking a fresh and unique expression of Margaret River cabernet, be sure to check out the 2020 Project Nouveau Rouge (A$25), a joven style, early drinking cabernet best served with a light chill, and the 2018 The Modern Cabernet Sauvignon (A$45), a stylish, mid-weighted red offering a little more berried fruit plushness than the classic
powerful, savoury and tannic wines the region’s known for.

Visit voyagerestate.com.au for more info.
Voyager Estate is close to organic certification.
Commune Wine Store has opened in Maylands, WA.

Back to Nature in Perth

Natural wine fans are in for a treat with the opening of Commune Wine Store in Perth’s Maylands area. The store is the project of the wine-loving trio Peter Baker, Chris Ford and Paul Heatley.

You’ll find a range of minimal-intervention natural wines from local producers, along with some internationals you probably haven’t seen before, such as wines from Japan and Slovakia. “Seeing the passion and the talent of the winemakers in Western Australia helped inspire Commune Wine Store to open,” says Baker. “We love the natural wine scene that is emerging here at the moment, and are excited to be able to feature the best of the state’s lo-fi and natty wines side by side with examples from around the world.”

Commune Wine Store is open from Tuesday to Sunday for takeaway sales. Meanwhile, keep an eye on their website and social media for in-store producer tastings.

For more info visit commune.wine
Daughter in Law's Jessi Singh and Sacha Imrie.

Little Prince Wine

First launched at the start of the second Victorian lockdown, the Prince Hotel’s latest wine bar – Little Prince Wine – has opened the doors again. After operating during lockdown as a grocer, bottle shop and coffee hotspot, the team are excited to welcome guests to their quaint, European-inspired wine bar. The Prince Hotel’s sommelier Laurent Rospars is in charge of the wine list, which features more than 4,000 bottles from across Australia and around the globe.

“We want Little Prince Wine to become the kind of place you pop into for a quick drink, but then find yourself cosily ensconced in the corner till the wee hours, caught up in conversation with your date or new found friend,” says the Prince Hotel’s managing director Andrew Ryan.

Little Prince Wine also offers an European small-plates menu, featuring all your favourites like cured meats, antipasti and cheese.

Find out more at theprince.com.au

New Generation for Coriole

McLaren Vale icons Coriole Vineyards have announced the appointment of Peter Lloyd as the new General Manager. Taking over from his father Mark Lloyd, Peter is the third-generation family member to run Coriole Vineyards.

Peter joined the Coriole team in 2014 in sales and marketing, but before that worked with Melbourne’s Fine Wine Partners which he believes was a valuable experience to bring back home with him. “I feel the perspective is important and places us in a good position to embrace opportunities and tackle challenges that may come our way”, says Peter. “We’ll continue to strive to produce high quality wines, whilst innovating and adapting. It’s important for us to be agile enough to find opportunities. I also hope for us to become a leader in sustainable practices as we continue with our renewable energy program, recycled water and organic vineyard practices.”

Mark Lloyd will continue to be involved with Coriole, taking on an advisory role and spending more time among the vines with the viticultural team.

Visit coriole.com
Mark Lloyd and Peter Lloyd.
Sommelier Mark Crawford.
Daughter in Law's Jessi Singh and Sacha Imrie.

Taste of Mexico in Sydney

While we can’t travel to Mexico, the team behind Paddington favourite Tequila Mockingbird have brought it to us with the launch of tequila and mezcal bar Esteban. Located in Sydney’s CBD, Esteban is a split-level venue with an upstairs dining room and downstairs bar, perfect for those after work drinks. The dining room menu is an offering of Mexican favourites with an Aussie twist – expect plenty of charcoal-grilled meats and vegetables, ceviche, tacos and more. Downstairs at the bar, you can catch a range of Mexican street-food inspired snacks along with the largest tequila and mezcal offering in the country by sommelier Mark Crawford. Wine wise, you’ll also be spoilt for choice with sommelier Chesterton Cook’s list an offering of small producers from here in Australia and across the globe – many of which Cook has visited himself.

Visit estebanrestaurant.com.au for opening hours and more info.

Les Cinq Filles’ Yvonne Seier Christensen.

Old Meets New

Champagne producer Les Cinq Filles is restoring its heritage winery in the village of Le Mesnil-sur-Oger. The 1879 stone house and winery will feature a 100-year-old basket press to be used in the 2021 vintage. It will feature old gravity-driven and handmade methods of production, in line with owner Yvonne Seier Christensen’s focus on sustainability. Les Cinq Filles is also set to release its cuvées in early 2021.

Visit lescinqfilles.com  
Cassegrain Wines will lead a study into the effects of smoke taint.

Grainshaker Vodka

Grainshaker Vodka is the new kid on the spirits block, with the launch of their hand-made spirits utilising Australian wheat, rye and corn. The Victorian label was developed by distiller and industry star Sebastian Reaburn, known for his work at The Craft & Co and Anther Gin along with Melbourne venues 1806 and Heartbreaker Bar.

“Vodka, for me, has always been the greatest expression of the art of distillation,” says Reaburn. “Our philosophy is to distil every part of the grain character, without the harshness. We have a custom-made twelve plate pot still where we manage every minute of distillation to achieve the sweet spot between flavour and smoothness.”

The Grainshaker range features the Grainshaker Wheat, Grainshaker Corn and Grainshaker Rye which are all available for purchase online for $64.95 each for a 750ml bottle.

Visit grainshaker.com.au  
Seville Kitchen Head Chef Soren Thogersen.

Champagne Pommery

Celebrated Champagne house Maison Pommery have added to their World Collection range with the release of their 2020 WAX series. So far, the World Collection has featured series of wines inspired by Australia, Japan, South America and India. For 2020, the World Collection has taken inspiration from Africa, with the 2020 WAX series featuring eye-catching labels and packaging influenced by the colours, fabrics and culture of African wax prints.

The series features a NV Pommery Brut Royal ($69.99), NV Pommery Brut Rosé ($89.99) and NV Pommery Apanage Blanc de Blancs ($109).

See more at champagnepommery.com

12 Wines of Christmas

After something a little more festive than chocolate? The 12 Wines of Christmas advent calendar offers a dozen vinous surprises from across Australia and New Zealand, for the days (or nights) leading up to 25 December, all in convenient single pour bottles.

Available from Dan Murphy’s and BWS.

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Perfect Prose

In our last issue, we invited subscribers to tell us why they love Penfolds Wines to go into the running to win wines from the 2020 Collection. We couldn’t go past some creative alliteration from Peter Reaich, a farm manager in Melrose Park, SA, who said:

“Pen down Penfolds as the Penultimate Pinnacle of Priceless Australian Wine, Popular, Proud and ever so Pleasant, Presently needed to Please me.”

See this edition's subscription prize here.