Seville Estate’s private dining experience includes hand-picked wines.
Brisbane's City Winery is opening a second cellar door on Edward Street.
Brisbane's City Winery is opening a second cellar door on Edward Street.

Covid Doldrums Not a Problem

There seems to be no stopping City Winery (citywinery.com.au) in Brisbane, which has opened a second cellar door in the CBD. In a move that defies the current Covid-19 hospitality doldrums, the new venture is a 50-seat bar in the high end on fashionable Edward Street. Chatting to co-founder Adam Penberthy, he doesn’t seem too concerned about opening a new city venue in the current climate.

“We have always wanted to do something in the CBD,” Penberthy says. “If anything, Covid-19 has given us the opportunity to be quite bullish and look at how we can grow.

“We believe this wine experience centre, with proximity to more markets, including corporate and tourism – when they start to come back on – is a sound strategy.” The room features high ceilings, landscape artwork painted by Gerler Wines’ Kris Cush (Gerler is City Winery’s brand), and grapevines hanging on chains with painted roots to help illustrate how different soils affect the vines.

Visit citywinery.com.au

JOSH MARTIN

Dr Beak

Martinborough, New Zealand is one of the New World’s great producers of pinot noir but over recent years gin has also made its mark, with some of the country’s most exciting versions coming out of the North Island region. Dr Beak (inspired by the medieval ‘plague doctors’) is the latest gin label from Martinborough, established by wife and husband duo Lacey and Tim Bourne. Tim also happens to be the winemaker at Martinborough’s famed Escarpment Vineyard.  

Lacey was always passionate about “making, creating, repurposing and growing” and came across the idea to make gin while studying horticulture. When she realised all the botanicals could be grown in New Zealand, she chanced upon it. Dr Beak is comprised of a range of botanicals, including chamomile, wild horopito, orris root and kelp. The Bournes are currently raising juniper seedlings, with the intention of creating one of the first commercial juniper plantings in the country; the aim is to produce a single site gin from botanicals grown in the Bourne’s home block.  

For now, enjoy Dr Beak in a G&T: Fever-Tree Mediterranean Tonic and a wedge of lime. A great precursor to a flight of great Martinborough wines.

Visit instagram.com/drbeak.nz
Seville Kitchen Head Chef Soren Thogersen.

Jeté Stars

The latest releases of Howard Park’s Jeté label, crafted with grapes from the cooler climes of Great Southern, prove that WA is seriously capable of producing fine and elegant traditional method sparkling. The suite is comprised of Grand Jeté (A$50), a roughly equal blend of chardonnay and pinot noir; Jeté Brut Blanc (A$38), incorporating 86% pinot noir and the remainder chardonnay, and the always great value Petit Jeté (A$32), made from 100% chardonnay. A worthy addition to any outdoor occasion this summer.

howardparkwines.com.au
Phoenix Kamsteeg is the manager at Tamburlaine’s new cellar door.

Auld is New

The Auld family is as synonymous with Australian wine as the Barossa is with shiraz, representing six generations of winemaking in SA and NSW. Patrick Auld arrived in Adelaide in 1842. But it wasn’t until 2019 that the name was finally put on a label, with the launch of Auld Family Wines, headed by brothers Jock and Sam. The 2016 William Patrick Shiraz (A$50) pays homage to their pioneering ancestor in the form of a classically brooding, full-bodied Barossa shiraz.

Visit auldfamilywines.com for more info.

Leading Ladies

Balnaves of Coonawarra and Western Australia’s Houghton Wines have both welcomed new senior winemakers. At Balnaves, Jacinta Jenkins has taken over from the recently retired Peter Bissell. Jenkins grew up in the Coonawarra, undertaking a post-graduate diploma of viticulture and oenology at the University of Adelaide before completing vintages in the US, Australia and New Zealand. She’s been assistant winemaker at Balnaves of Coonawarra since 2018, and has worked closely with Bissell throughout that time. Read more on Jenkins here.

Over in the west, Houghton Wines has announced Courtney Treacher has replaced Ross Pamment as senior winemaker. Treacher started at Houghton Wines as a cellar hand in 2004, before taking on responsibility of the brand’s Moondah Brook range. Later she was manager and winemaker for the Houghton Nannup Winery and Brookland Valley Wines. In her new role, Treacher will oversee all the winemaking for Houghton Wines and Brookland Valley Wines. Her appointment coincides with the announcement that Brookland
Valley’s Margaret River cellar door will be the public space for both the brands moving forward.
Courtney Treacher is senior winemaker at Houghton Wines.

Straight From The Vault

McLaren Vale’s Aphelion have added new wines to their portfolio with the launch of their Welkin range. Taking its name from the old English term meaning ‘vault of the sky’, the range features a 2020 Chenin Blanc and 2020 Grenache with a nero d’Avola and sagrantino mataro due to be released in December. These wines will be joined by a 2020 Malbec, sourced from Langhorne Creek as part of the region’s Project 5255.

Aphelion is run by husband and wife duo Rob and Louise Mack, and it’s a winery to keep your eye on with compelling wines that possess a sense of place and passion.

“The new Welkin range is made to be immediately accessible in their youth, showing vibrancy and clarity but also some complexity and depth,” says Rob Mack. “I use a strong technical winemaking base to produce crisp and clean wines but also let my creative side go a little wild to add flair and interest to the wines.”

To see the full range, visit aphelionwine.com.au

Pyment Processing

Could Sydney’s Inner West have its own terroir? Project B is the mead label from winemaker and wholesaler Brendan Hilferty of Sparrow & Vine, who also specialises in fermenting honey from his own backyard bees in Newtown.

The latest releases incorporate portions of grapes – smoke-tainted shiraz from Ravensworth, Canberra District, and cabernet from Vinifera, Mudgee – fermented with honey. The result is two deliciously dry, textural and downright intriguing grape-honey ferments known as ‘pyment’.

The Project B Mead Pyment Batch 007 (A$24) and Pyment Batch 008 (A$24) are available from sparrowandvine.com.au (stocks limited).
The Barossa's El Estanco is reopening in Greenock.
Daughter in Law's Jessi Singh and Sacha Imrie.

Barossan Favourites Are Back

It’s music to the ears of Barossans that local restaurant El Estanco has relocated and reopened its premises in Greenock. For the past nine months, owners and chefs Abby Osborne and Julian Velasquez have been busy renovating an 1890s property not far from the restaurant’s original site and it is finally ready. El Estanco is known for its hearty, soulful South American cuisine, where the core focus is wholesome, sustainable and ethically sourced produce.

“The new site will offer the same intimate settings and unique style that our customers know and love,” says Osborne. “But we’re also able to include an artisan bakery, coffee roaster, market garden, kids’ nature play area, wood-fired pizza oven and an area for larger events and gatherings.”

Visit elestanco.com.au for opening times and more information.
Cassegrain Wines will lead a study into the effects of smoke taint.

Smoke Taint Project

Wineries across Australia have experienced severe smoke taint in their vineyards as a result of the devastating 2019/2020 bushfires. Now, a $2.3 million industry research project has been launched to investigate how wineries can manage smoke taint in their grapes. The project, which received $950,000 in funding from the Federal Government, will be led by University of Adelaide’s Professor Kerry Wilkinson and Cassegrain Wines in New South Wales. Professor Wilkinson is a world leader in smoke taint research. She believes the study will not only support Australian wineries but produce results of international significance.  

The project will involve the trials of both existing and new technologies, to see how they work with managing and mitigating the impact of smoke taint in wines. The project will also see involvement from international tech company Ligar, the Australian Wine Research Institute, VA Filtration, and Dr Megan O’Connor from De Beaurepaire Wines.
Seville Kitchen Head Chef Soren Thogersen.

Tasmania by Sky

There’s no doubt Tasmania is home to some of the country’s most incredible scenery – but have you ever experienced it from up among the clouds? Clover Hill Winery and Unique Charters Tasmania have joined forces to offer heli-charter experiences, showcasing the region’s landscape, wine, produce and people.

The adventures include the Vineyard Trifecta experience, which will take you to several Northern Tasmanian cellar doors, or the Flinders Island Crayfish Lunch, during which you will enjoy a Clover Hill Winery tasting before setting flight for a local feast.

Clover Hill Winery CEO Adam Torpy says the collaboration will support Tasmanian tourism.“We want to offer a new, luxurious way to experience the region – for locals who have always lived in Tasmania or the virgin Tasmanian tourists coming to the region,” says Torpy. “It was a natural evolution to partner with Unique Charters to create experiences that encapsulate the unique propositions our beautiful region has to offer.”

Visit cloverhillwines.com.au for more info.

Vale Colin Gramp

The GT WINE team was saddened to hear of the passing of Barossa Valley legend Colin Gramp AM in August at the age of 98. Gramp was a shining figure in the region and highly regarded for his innovative work at his family winery, Gramps Orlando, which later morphed into Jacob’s Creek and St Hugo.

Gramp began his winemaking career when he joined Gramps Orlando in 1940 as apprentice winemaker, before becoming technical director in 1947. He is known for his role in shifting the Gramps Orlando production from predominantly fortified wines to what we now know as table wines. He also developed the famous Steingarten Riesling, as well as played an important role during the 1950s, launching the classic Barossa Pearl. Gramp was an original member of the Barons of Barossa, sat on the founding board of the Barossa Vintage Festival and spent time as chairman of the Adelaide Wine Show Committee.
Chris Siktars is behind Brisbane’s latest wine bar.
Daughter in Law's Jessi Singh and Sacha Imrie.

Siktars’ Cellars Success

Next time you’re visiting Brisbane’s Graceville, be sure to drop by the recently opened Honour Avenue Cellars. The wine bar and cellar is owned and run by up-and-coming chef Chris Siktars, who is undertaking the esteemed Court of Masters Sommeliers certification program.

Inspiration for the venue comes from the hidden, hole-in-the-wall bars of Europe with walls of wines and great snacks on offer. The wine list features 2,800 bottles from more than 100 labels, including one from his family’s homeland in Hungary. “Having a European heritage and family who are winemakers in Eastern Europe, we will have a focus on the undiscovered. Think Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia,” says Siktars.

Visit honouravecellars.com.au for more information.

A Taste Atak

Adelaide Hills winery Unico Zelo is embracing the sense of adventure in their winemaking with the launch of UZ Funkworks. The diffusion brand will feature innovative, small-batch wines crafted with lesser-known grape varieties and techniques.

The first wine of the project is the Txak Atak (A$27). Taking its name from the Spanish wine style txakoli, it’s a high-acidity white wine with a light sparkle, and palate of steely notes, floral jasmine and stone fruits.The project is a chance for owners Brendan and Laura Carter to push the boundaries of their winemaking to produce the more unusual wines their customers are often drawn to.

Find out more at unicozelo.com.au

Brewery Tours

The Hunter Valley has welcomed Newcastle’s FogHorn Brewery to the region as they take residence at the local Potters Hotel. Transforming the existing Hunter Beer Co space, the FogHorn Brewery includes a working brewery that is open for tours. The venue also has a bar for beer tastings and on-site drinks, along with takeaway growlers and squealers of any beer on tap. In line with the opening, Potters Hotel will also be announcing a new chef and menu at their restaurant.

But don’t worry, the team will still be serving all your Hunter Beer Co favourites along with the FogHorn Brewery range, making for a beer-lover’s dream destination.

Visit foghornbrewhouse.com.au

Cabernet Challenge Winners

Traditionally, the Australian Cabernet Challenge is open to cabernet from all over Australia and is organised by the Margaret River Wine Association in conjunction with the Langton’s Margaret River Wine Show. In 2020, for the first time ever, the challenge was judged simultaneously in two regions: Margaret River and Coonawarra. The initial plan also included a judging panel from the Yarra Valley, but the curse of 2020 struck again.

This year the challenge received entries from over 20 different Australian wine regions, with all the wines tasted blind. All cabernets scoring above 95 points (gold-medal standard) had the opportunity to be regional winners. This year there were five regional winning wines: 2018 K1 By Geoff Hardy Cabernet; 2018 Peter Lehmann Masters Mentor Cabernet; 2018 Brand’s Laira 1968 Vines Cabernet; 2018 Xanadu Cabernet; and 2018 Boat O’Craigo Braveheart Cabernet.

All 10 judges across the two regions tasted the wines and concluded that the 2018 Xanadu Cabernet was the overall winner. Interestingly the 2016 Xanadu Cabernet won the coveted Jimmy Watson Trophy. All this from a wine that retails for around A$35. It seems great cabernet doesn’t cost the earth!

FERGAL GLEESON


New Wine Masters

The Institute of Masters of Wine announced 16 new MWs in late August, bringing the number of MWs around the world to over 400. Two Australians were among this year's announcement – Annette Lacey, Group Beverage Manager for Solotel, and Duane Coates of SA's Coates Wines.

Additionally Neil Hadley MW, General Manager Export for Taylors Wines, was also elected as the new chair of the Institute of Masters of Wine in September.

Congratulations, Annette, Duane and Neil!

Reader Survey: Tell us what you think

We are always keen to hear what our valuable readers think of GT WINE Magazine. Your feedback is important to us so that we can continue to curate the very best content to suit you in 2021. Please take a spare moment to fill in our Reader Survey you can find here. Plus, by completing the survey and creatively answering a question, you will go in the running to win a $300 voucher for the newly launched GT WINE Store.

(Note: the competition is only open to those aged 18 and over)

Special Cellaring

In the June/July edition of Gourmet Traveller WINE, we invited subscribers to tell us why they would like to win two limited-release wines, The Visionary and The Pioneer from Taylors, in the Clare Valley.

Our winner is Mark McKay from Millswood, SA, who wrote: “I may not be a visionary or a pioneer, but to cellar these wines would be special, from the vintage of my daughter’s birth year.”

Visit our Subscriptions Page to see this edition's prize.