"Perhaps the Latour of the McLaren Vale.”
"Songlines has a marvellous intensity of 100 year old Shiraz fruit, with none of the heaviness of some Australian Icon wines, a superb wine."
19.5 / 20 Points, Steven Spurrier
From the legendary John Duval – unquestionably, one of the world's best known winemakers. Not only does he come from a family that boasts four generations of South Australian vignerons, he spent over 29 years with Penfolds, including 16 years as their Chief Winemaker.
In 2004, John took his extensive experience gained at Penfolds, including the intimate knowledge of South Australia’s best sites and together with winemaker David Fatches from Hunter Valley, they embarked on a brand new venture called Songlines.
The Link to
Songlines fruit comes from the 40 to 110 year old, flawless Shiraz vineyards in the McLaren Vale, one of the oldest and best established of the wine growing regions of South Australia. These vines have in the past provided grapes for some of Australia‘s most famous wines, including Penfolds Grange. However, the uncompromising selection of individual vineyards means this is the first time their grapes have been assembled as a single wine.
(John with the Penfolds crew circa 1983)
Songlines is a spectacular and individual, hand-crafted wine produced with rigorous care and attention. The winemaking behind Songlines is extremely complicated as no individual vineyard parcel is given the same complete treatment. Each vineyard is separated into a minimum of two discrete batches for fermentation, often more, and different techniques applied to each.
In truth, many great techniques are used, all depending on the individual batch and what is required by the grapes. The decision is made at the time of harvest and not predetermined by a recipe. The result is an amazing process which builds layers of complexity into Songlines and allows for development in years to come.
The inaugural 2004 vintage release is extremely rare and we are the only world merchant to list the wine
99 Points - Stuart McCloskey
“Great Hermitage in the guise of an Australian Shiraz. Explosive aromas of chocolate, smoked game, warm earth and saddle leather. The palate is silky sweet, exquisitely balanced, sensuous, with melting tannins. If I had to be succinct, flawless and polished to perfection. More feminine than I recall with animally fruit emerging with more time in the glass as does olive tapenade and garrigue. Almost perfect, highly addictive and a wine to make you fall in love with Australian Shiraz all over again. In short, I am at a loss for words. One to cherish!” Decanted for 2-3 hours and served using
Zalto Bordeaux glassware”.
A subject which we have approached previously however, given the Penfolds Grange link, and of course for the benefit of our new customers, we reflect on the Oliver’s Taranga own connection to the mighty Grange…
In 1996, Penfolds introduced the Grange Growers Club for the elite group of growers who supply grapes for Australia’s most iconic wine, Penfolds Grange. Don Oliver from Oliver's Taranga was one of the founding members and has been the most consistent grower to contribute to Grange since the introduction of the club, and would certainly have been contributing to the blend for a long time before.
Penfolds introduced computer tracking of the fruit so they could readily identify which grapes met the high standards and at the same time brought in the Triple Crown Grange Growers Perpetual Trophyfor contributing for three consecutive years. Oliver’s Taranga being one of the few to be awarded this prestigious trophy.
Penfolds pay the Grange Growers Club on the hectares they dedicate to planting for Grange, rather than the quantity of grapes produced. This encourages growers to keep yields low resulting in much higher quality fruit. Oliver's Taranga has five blocks in the Club and as winemaker Corinna Wright says, “they've been very creative with the names!” There are Old Block, North and South Blocks, Top Block and Rayments Block. Sometimes one block gets in, sometimes none and sometimes all.
Other growers from McLaren Vale have contributed to Grange, but Oliver's Taranga has been the most consistent with 14 years inclusion since records began in 1996.
"I love being able to contribute fruit for such an iconic Australian wine and brand in Penfolds. It makes me very proud and I feel that aiming for Penfold’s Grange really drives the quality of the entire vineyard forward every year”. Don Oliver
The grapes from these blocks are not only used for Penfolds Grange but also form Oliver’s Taranga’s HJ Reserve wines. The finest fruit from their premium, ‘Old Block’, a vineyard of over 65 years that just yields a tiny 1 tonne per acre, is used for
this flagship wine.
Fruit from Oliver’s Taranga’s 2003 and 2004 vintages were both used to make up the iconic Grange blend, the Penfolds Grange 2004 being awarded 99 points.
Oliver's Taranga HJ Reserve
Ultra Premium Shiraz (Old Block) 2003
£25.00 per bottle
’03 Penfolds Grange @ £265.00 per bottle
Oliver's Taranga HJ Reserve
Ultra Premium Shiraz (Old Block) 2004
£39.95 per bottle
’04 Penfolds Grange @ £350.00 per bottle
Corrina's Cabernet Shiraz 2005
Stunning value at £12.95 per bottle
Corrina's Cabernet Shiraz 2004