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Taster's Top 10
Glug Tasting Results
Taster's Top Ten

The Taster's Top Ten are the top ten sellers of the recent Glug Tasting Days.

Why is it important?

Richard Farmer once told me that the best way to know who is going to win is to find out where the real money is going. Same applies here. After tasting 92 wines, this is where you decided to put your hard-earned.

This is not theory or sales pitch but a genuine list of the wines you chose to buy after tasting. What real-life people took home with them last weekend.

PLEASE NOTE: Prices have been temporarily reduced to the prices we had on at the time. A second chance to leap in and invest.

No 1.  Wonderful Ripe & Explosive
Crayford Barossa Valley Durif 2014

Region: Barossa Valley, South Australia
Like many consumers my impressions of Durif came from Rutherglen where the Durif variety was first planted in 1908. It was never a regular drink but at times when I felt like a concentrated red with body weight, no better variety exisits, and then out it came.
The Australian wine business is rich and complex not only with its many vineyard regions but also with the thousands of enterprises and winemakers all working to accomplish their best. It seems to me most have a side project investigating how lesser known varieties perform in their locality.
Thus Durif has expanded far from Rutherglen and now many Barossan winemakers work with the variety. Winemaker Parker made it the strong background note in his first Brutus Shiraz Durif 2008, though this Crayford is the first 100% varietal we have released. Lovely wine and will look good on your dinner table.


No 2.  Close to Perfection
Fareham Estate Watervale Clare Valley Riesling 2016

Region: Clare Valley, SA
The Fareham has a wonderful aroma, being delicate and light on the palate with all of the crisp, juicy flavours you would expect which places this wine close to perfection. As often noted South Australian winemakers seem to ask for a glass of Riesling as much as they demand Coopers Pale ale.
The wine is cold, light and refreshing while the flavours are complex enough to retain your interest. Alas is seems winemakers and for that matter older wine merchants are not good judges as despite our constant barracking wines like this only have a modest popularity.
I had a good scroll through the Vintage Cellars web-site and have every reason to believe this as good as the 20 or so they display which are a minimum of double the price. The wine was sourced from the Clare Valley district of Watervale and Benjamin Parker was assisted in the final preparation by Phil Lehmann.


No. 3  Barossa Salt of The Earth
Goat Square Barossa Valley Shiraz 2015

Region: Barossa Valley, SA
‘Does any other wine delight like Barossa Shiraz with its sweet, deep middle core.’
The Goat is one of our special wines. The Barossa Valley is a small, rare, unique piece of the earth’s crust and only from this spot do you get red wines which display such a powerful and unusual concentration of mid palate weight. At times the fruit is so intense as to appear sweet a feature which can make wines which live for 50 years. The Goat Square wines come from a group of vineyards in the northern Barossa and any that look more interesting and intense than others are separated for the Goat.
The wine is named after Goat Square which is an historic location in the centre of Tanunda which in the 1840s to 1860s was a weekend market place, particularly for livestock. This is the 8th vintage we have released and the first bottling of 260 cases. The winemaker is Benjamin Parker. This Shiraz is what the Barossa is about and we refer to Goat Square as the, salt of the earth.


No 4.  Full Flavoured Discovery
Salem Valley Estates Barossa Sauvignon Blanc 2015

Region: Barossa, SA
In any month we taste many samples though the number varies as it depends on whether we need more wines. Basically there is little point looking carefully if you do not need to buy. At times it is best to never know what you may have missed. Thus I can say we were not looking when a grower-maker who we often buy from urged us to try this wine. Sauvignon Blanc from the Adelaide Hills has won widespread acceptance while Eden Valley which adjoins finds it much harder. A guiding principle of ours is to buy good wines when we find them; regardless of whether they copy an accepted model. So this wine is too full flavoured to be mistaken for a cool, crisp New Zealand style. Instead it is what it is; an outstanding wine which becomes a bargain because it dares to be what the variety becomes in the Eden Valley. I give it 10/10 on my value for money scale and please do not fuss about whether it resembles this or that.


No 5.  Sensational Barossa Moppa Cabernet
Old Moppa Road Barossa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Region:Barossa Valley, SA

The last Old Moppa Cabernet was the 2011 as we have found getting the fruit we want a trifle difficult. This brilliant wine will however make up for the vintage gaps. There is a long history of important Cabernets being made in the Barossa Valley and I recall some very satisfying 1950s vintages from Orlando. It was though the great Barossa winemaker Rolf Binder who really opened my eyes to the worth of Barossa Cabernets by generously opening dozens of mature bottles when I came to live in the Barossa in 2004.

There are Barossa Cabernet plantings dating back to the 1890s though Cabernet fruit only became plentiful in the 1980s. By then numerous other new regions were producing other Cabernet styles and while these are exciting I believe they have pushed Barossa Cabernet, which is a warmer style, off to the side. This means wines like the old Moppa offer very great value and will reward the experienced drinker.


No 6.  I Cannot Drink Too Much Of Brutus' Love
Brutus Barossa Valley Shiraz Durif 2013

Region: Barossa Valley, SA
The blending of these two varieties works well and the reason we are into our fifth release is because we are now very confident of this statement. Those who can afford long term cellaring will be rewarded. The releases of Brutus have been:

Brutus Barossa Valley Shiraz Durif 2008 100 cases
Brutus Barossa Valley Shiraz Durif 2009 102 cases
Brutus Barossa Valley Shiraz Durif 2010 125 cases
Brutus Barossa Valley Shiraz Durif 2012 137 cases
Brutus Barossa Valley Shiraz Durif 2013 103 cases

As with previous vintages the Durif component is less than the Shiraz at about 40%. We know the capabilities of Barossa Valley Shiraz as after all many vintages of Penfolds Grange have been over 90% Barossa Valley Shiraz but the revelation has been how well it marries with Durif. Durif arose in France but found its ideal home in Australia as what it needs is a warm to hot ripening spell and no rain. This Brutus is a great wine and in years ahead will become one of those to decant and then spring on guests as a surprise and a reward. Benjamin made 103 cases.

PS. The quote is from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar.


No 7.  Stand Out Barossa Shiraz
P. B. Burgoyne Barossa Valley Shiraz 2015

Region:Barossa Valley
This Burgoyne is all we like and look for in a wine. The origin is the most sought after region in Australia-the Barossa Valley, the grapes were grown by well-known farmers, the wine maker Benjamin Parker prepared the wine for bottling which is a critical job and we supervised the bottling locally.
The wine was not made by us but on the bench against comparable samples this wine stood out as a grade above the others the and as you do we pulled the sample forward. The transaction was done and here it is released under the wine-merchant label of P. B. Burgoyne.
Burgoyne commenced business in 1871 as a UK importer of Australian wines and strode like a colossus across our landscape. We hope he is pleased with our efforts and I am certain customers will be.
At this introductory price this should become the bread and butter red yet with the knowledge you are drinking a very high grade. This is what we are good at and is very close to our ideal of vineyard, grower, maker or VGM.


No 8.  Fabulous New Barossa Gold
Restless Farm 'The Pig' Barossa Valley Shiraz 2015

Region: Barossa Valley, South Australia

‘There’s gold in them thar hills’ did not come true for South Australia although they did work an alluvial river flat not far from the Barossa Valley town of Lyndoch which is known as the Barossa Goldfields.

The real gold has come of course with the recognition of the Barossa Valley as a unique, world class, wine region.

Finding another place just like the Barossa is unlikely as while vines will spring up in many new locations my perusal of the global geography shows the location is unique. Barossa Valley Shiraz is a world class drink and when well priced is a must buy.

The range of Restless Farm wines dates back to the 2008 vintage with the first being The Goat from Padthaway of 40 cases. The other animals down on this strange farm are the Goose, the Elephant, the Camel and the Bunny.

As expected The Pig is stout, round and soft and to bring you up to date two real Bershires called Crackle and Pop have been purchased and are growing quickly. Commence drinking now though this Restless Farm Shiraz will mature over many years.


No 9.  Great Vintages Make Great Wines
Trennert Reserve McLaren Vale Shiraz 2012

Region: McLaren Vale
In world terms McLaren Vale is underrated or unknown, and by this I mean in comparison to regions like                             , exclusive enclaves of the                              like                              or                              or Italian regions like                             .
McLaren Vale belongs among these greats but I have no idea when this realisation will crystallise.
Vineyards began in 1840 and within 30 years wines were being exported to the UK but the long record does not equate with recognition though the lights have been brighter over the last few decades.
Perhaps another 100 years will elapse before McLaren Vale is seen as an equal to the world's big name regions. I am though comfortable in saying that it is not a quality issue but as with so many new world regions a problem of perception.
In the meantime as I think many Australian consumers know they are able to drink world class wines for a modest sum. May I just say, please do not take this for granted but rather appreciate this as a bonus that you are smart enough to understand. This Trennert is an outstanding Shiraz offered at a modest price.


No 10. 8th Release of Grandma Raethel
Grandma Raethel Barossa Valley Shiraz 2013

Region: Barossa Valley
From the wine maker Benjamin Parker:
'The Grandma Raethel wines will always have a special meaning as they represent the start of my winemaking career.
I arrived in the Barossa Valley in 2004 in time for my first vintage at the Veritas-Rolf Binder Winery, the junior apprentice starting as a cellar hand, to progress to the role of winemaker for Glug.
This vintage was important as the business idea I had tossed around with David in late 2003 to create Glug meant a change of occupation and a move from Melbourne and to be working with grapes and wine showed the adventure had begun.
While tending Rolf’s barrel stock after vintage I was taken by the beauty of a Shiraz which was a blend from two regions, Greenock and Vine Vale, the latter from the famous Hearnden family property.
I was keen to get Glug moving and had developed the idea of using a traditional Barossa family name to pay homage to the Barossa Valley and this became Grandma Raethel.
All it needed was a wine and Rolf stepped-up and graciously sold the new business two barrels of that wine which had impressed me so much. This became the Grandma Raethel Barossa Valley Shiraz 2001 and was released in 2006.
Over the next twelve vintages we released seven Grandma Raethel reds, a library of my wine making skills.
To now be releasing the eighth, the Grandma Raethel Shiraz 2013, made with my assistant Greg Liebelt is a satisfying moment, a small part of the long road the Glug business has traveled.
The source of the grapes was a single vineyard in the far northern Barossa and we made 108 cases.'


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