A fabulous collection from the greats
of the Barossa
Excluding the second tranche of Utopos wines and the unveiling of the Standish 2019 collection, we have not featured Barossa Valley this year despite the region being (and by some distance) the strongest seller in our portfolio generating 58% of all Australian wine sales in the first quarter of 2021. It’s an impressive figure given the breadth of our portfolio, which also emphasises the outstanding following that Barossa Valley wines have in the UK. So, and to amend the absence, we thought we would unveil the new collection from Artisans of Barossa.
I caught up with Howard, the Chief Officer for the Artisans of Barossa and we were pleased to hear that life is largely back to normal for our SA friends. The excitement surrounding the 2020 vintage is mounting as producers begin to release their new wines (everyone is over the moon with their 2021s). Howard described the 2020 vintage as “the smallest since 1969, following on from the 2019 vintage of 50,000 tonnes which was half of an average crop. Quality across both vintages is broadly speaking outstanding.”
The Grenache Project is the first 2020 red vintage available in our portfolio and they are a dream – we will report on these separately as they deserve more limelight. For now, I thought I would provide a little background. The project began in 2017 with a fascinating concept. Six wines are produced by six winemakers who make up the Artisans collective. Each producer is well-known in their own right and provide a different style to each wine produced – it’s such a lovely way to produce a six pack from the same vintage, specific vineyard, and varietal. Most importantly, this collection showcases the individual skills and style of each winemaker, which is fascinating. The 2020 collection originates from the Light Pass District: famously, home to Wolf Blass and Elderton.
Unfortunately, and due to the extremely low yields in 2019 and 2020 (Artisans saw a 50% and 70% drop respectively compared to 2018). Consequently, there is no Six Origins Shiraz, but we do have 5 cases left of the 2018.
We are also excited to launch three, new wines – their 'Rare Batch' Eden Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 and two ‘Small Batch’ wines, Shiraz and Graciano, a first showing for us. The Cabernet is made by Phil Lehmann and it is the inaugural wine in a Rare Batch series planned by the Artisans.
The project also welcomed Phil Lehmann (pictured above) as a special guest winemaker.
Phil is the son of the late, great Peter Lehmann and carved his own successful career away from home, in Stellenbosch and Burgundy, before he returned to Australia to work at Yalumba and with our very own Kym Teusner. Today, Phil is the senior winemaker at WD Wines (a group including the famed Coonawarra estate; Parker) and together with his wife Sarah, they own and manage Boongarrie Vineyard in Eden Valley, which produces Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz of exceptional quality. This dry-grown patch of 20 year old vines yields small crops of intensely flavoured fruit and at 460 metres above sea level, cooling breezes temper the heat of the day to produce superb Cabernet wines of exceptional character and texture. This is the origin for their ‘Rare Batch’ Eden Valley Cabernet Sauvignon crafted by Phil, exclusively for the Artisans. Only 200 dozen were produced and when our small allocation for The Vinorium boarded the vessel, the remainder sold-out domestically.
Last, but by no means least, we unveil the new 2018 and 2019 Barrel Blend Shiraz following a hugely successful 2017 release. For us, this must be one of the best value Shiraz wines money can buy. The Barrel Blend Shiraz is quite literally a blend of barrels selected by the Artisans from each of their cellars. Every parcel is selected for its rich and generous character, deep black fruit, spice and smooth texture - the hallmarks of top class Barossa Shiraz. John Duval, Hobbs, Purple Hands and Spinifex show off their wines splendidly…
Enjoy and I do wish you a great weekend.
Artisans of Barossa
Grenache Project 2020 (Case 6x75cl)
The Project continues in 2020, exploring a 45 year old vineyard site at Light Pass to the east of the Barossa Valley floor, and welcoming a new winemaker – Craig Stansborough from Purple Hands. Craig together with Greg and Allison Hobbs, Pete Schell, Tim and John Duval, Corey Ryan and Jason Schwarz make up the six winemakers who push the boundaries in the art of small batch Barossa wine.
Tim and John Duval – John Duval Wines
Jason Schwarz – Schwarz Wine Co
Greg Hobbs – Hobbs of Barossa Ranges
Craig Stansborough - Purple Hands
Peter Schell - Spinifex
Corey Ryan - Sons of Eden
Artisans of Barossa Rare Batch Cabernet Sauvignon 2017
96+ - 97 Points - Stuart McCloskey “The bouquet fills the room with layers of sweet spice, violets, liquorice, raspberry, bay leaf – there’s a cool mineral feel and a resemblance to a maturing Pinot Noir which intrigues. The palate is supple, succulent, and layered with spiced, sweet red and black fruits roll gently into the arms of supple, ripe tannin. The flavours keep coming with currant, bay leaf and a smidgin of dried herbs – liquorice too. Bitter coffee and dried mint creep in after a few minutes. The density is admirable – I enjoy the chew. There’s a touch of salinity rather than obvious acidity which provides relief from the richness. This is certainly a suave, seductive number and provides immediate pleasure, but does have the quality to carry on for another 5-7 years. I would suggest a few hours in a decanter before dipping your toes in. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware.”
96-97 Points - Magdalena Sienkiewicz "From the first glance, it shows as a serious wine with its deep, dark colour. Opulent aromas radiate from the glass with mulberries, blackberries, cedar, iron, pencil lead and a whiff of violets. The flavours are equally lush saturating the palate with impressive intensity. Dark fruit is enriched with layer upon layer of savoury textures, bitter chocolate and spices. The coolness of iron and graphite refresh the palate beautifully. A remarkably dark and brooding Cabernet. Please decant for at least 2-3 hours and enjoy over a long afternoon. Alternatively, cellar for 5+ years. Sampled using Zalto Bordeaux glassware, which brings out more savoury complexities I find."
Artisans of Barossa Small Batch Shiraz 2018
95-96 Points - Magdalena Sienkiewicz "Voluminous perfume filled with blackberries, mulberries and damson plums with a mix of sweet spices and black liquorice. There is a tinge of alcohol, indicative of a hot vintage but interestingly, there is also a delicate lift from fresh mint. Heady mix, certainly on the dark side of Shiraz. Nevertheless, the Small Batch Shiraz retains vigour and vibrancy as the flavours cascade on the palate echoing the exhuberant perfume. The texture is lush and savoury and the finish is super long. You get a lot of bang for your buck. Sampled without decanting, using Zalto Bordeaux glassware which brings out more savoury complexities I find."
Artisans of Barossa Small Batch Graciano 2018
96+ Points - Magdalena Sienkiewicz "It’s great to see Artisans venturing onto alternative varieties, which is no gimmick here as they know their craft. It includes a dash of Tempranillo (14%). The perfume exhibits the purest form of red and black cherries which dominate the nose in a most alluring way. A touch of violets and crushed minerals complement the bursting cherries. The palate follows suit although it displays a much more savoury tone than expected. A great touch of cooling minerals, dried herbs and a perfectly judged zip of acidity add a lift to the flavoursome, round structure. Those juicy cherries linger forever with a little black liquorice and minerals. Sampled without decanting and using Zalto Bordeaux glassware, which brings out more savoury complexities I find."
Gary Walsh, The Wine Front “Some colour here, so purple. Scrub herbs and lavender, smoke, liquorice and dark chocolate, blueberry and black cherry; a wonderful perfume of intrigue and savouriness. It’s fresh, liquorice and black olive, all sorts of dried herb fragrance, thick but suffused with cool ‘mineral’ acidity, kind of like licking a cold iron rod, or something like that. Tannin is deep and tightly packed, and the finish is all blue Euro things, and nice and long. What a wonderful and charismatic wine this is. Not so far off 95 points, actually.”
Artisans of Barossa Barrel Blend Shiraz
2018 & 2019
The Barrel Blend Shiraz is quite literally a blend of barrels selected by the Artisans from each of their cellars. Every parcel is selected for its rich and generous character, deep black fruit, spice and smooth texture - the hallmarks of top class Barossa Shiraz. John Duval, Hobbs, Purple Hands and Spinifex show off their wines splendidly…
Fruit is sourced from vineyards across the northern and western sub-regions of Barossa Valley, including Moppa, Ebenezer, Greenock, Marananga and Eden Valley. A portion of the fruit is fermented whole bunch providing savoury texture with the balance on skins for 8-10 days. The wines are aged in seasoned French and American hogsheads for approximately 12 months.
Artisans of Barossa
Grenache Project 2019 (Case 6x75cl)
A special mixed six pack of wines made by Peter Schell of Spinifex, John and Tim Duval of John Duval Wines, Jason Schwarz of Schwarz Wine Company, Greg and Allison Hobbs of Hobbs of Barossa, and Simon Cowham and Corey Ryan of Sons of Eden. The project also welcomed Phil Lehmann from Max and Me Wines as a special guest winemaker for last year’s project. The results are outstanding and a superb reflection of the 2019 vintage, considered to be another standout year for Barossa red wine.
£155.00 per case of 6
or £115.75 per case of 6 In Bond
Artisans of Barossa Six Origins
Shiraz 2018 (Case 6x75cl)
A journey of discovery across a diverse ancient vineyard landscape.
Six origins. Six artisan winemakers.
Six expressions of Barossa wine.
Special edition cases -
each bottle is signed by the winemaker
The first Six Origins project release from the extraordinarily strong 2018 vintage focuses on the Barossa’s hero – Shiraz. Six winemakers have each been charged with producing a wine that presents as a distinctive expression of Barossa Shiraz determined primarily by its origin.True to the spirit of Artisans of Barossa, decisions around vineyard selection, picking date and winemaking practices remained the privilege of the winemaker, but each wine was most definitely crafted to ensure the final result is a pronounced reflection of its vineyard origin.
The 2018 Six Origins by Artisans of Barossa features six Shiraz produced from six Barossa vineyards by six artisan winemakers.
2018 High Eden Shiraz - Peter Schell, Spinifex Wines
95 Points - James Halliday "Dry-grown 20yo east-facing vines at 500m above sea level, two-thirds destemmed, the balance whole bunch with 14 days on skins, matured in a single used 600l French demi-muid. Particularly fresh and elegant red and black fruits on the palate with fine, persistent, tannins carrying a savoury message."
2018 Light Pass Shiraz – Jason Schwarz, Schwarz Wine Co.
96 Points - James Halliday "Light Pass is named in honour of Colonel Light who discovered the break in the hills leading from the Barossa Valley to the Eden Valley. Medium-bodied, and literally flows along the supple palate, unfolding black fruits then spices allied with fine, balanced tannins. No hint of alcohol heat, instead a splash of red fruit."
2018 Keyneton Shiraz – Greg and Allison Hobbs, Hobbs of Barossa Ranges
96 Points - James Halliday "An immediately delicious bouquet and palate, blackberry and plum fruit, ripe tannins in perfect balance. Length and focus are part of an indissoluble whole, but with the grace of a medium-bodied shiraz."
2018 Angaston Shiraz – Corey Ryan and Simon Cowham, Sons of Eden
95 Points - James Halliday "40% of the fruit was whole bunch and hand-plunged for 25 days, pressed to French hogsheads (45% new) for 15 months maturation. A powerful, evocative wine, its spicy/peppery notes coupled with a long, zesty, red berry-accented palate with detailed tannins providing both texture and structure"
2018 Gomersal Shiraz – John Lienert, Jack West Wines
95 Points - James Halliday "The wine is powerful and very focused, but is unexpectedly light on its feet thanks to mouthwatering juicy fruit flavours that coexist with the tannins."
2018 Ebenezer Shiraz – John and Tim Duval, John Duval Wines
96 Points - James Halliday "The grapes were grown by viticultural master John Scholz in the driest and warmest part of the Barossa Valley, cool nights due to the vineyard's 290-305m elevation and east-west row orientation. This wine has a pulsating bouquet, the palate laden with blackberry and stewed plum flavours; plus dark chocolate added for good measure. The ripe tannins leave it until the last moment to appear."
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