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Stockwell Creek Barossa Valley Shiraz 2018
Distinctive and Classical Barossa Flavours
Stockwell Creek Barossa Valley Shiraz 2018

Region:Barossa Valley, South Australia

The vintages 2018, 2019 and 2020 were dry and required different wine making solutions so in future years comparing them will be a rewarding experience.

At this time, it is too early to say which is the best vintage with the three showing the similarities of high alcohols and the deep flavours created in dry years. About the balance of taste we are also unsure so we will taste with interest as they mature.

The first release was the 2005 and back in those days a favourite pub for Benjamin and I was the ‘Stockie’ in the old town of Stockwell in the northeastern corner of the Barossa Valley. This pub is off the tourist circuit so wander out there when you are next in the Barossa.

We like grapes from the northern end of the Barossa Valley as its warmer though the Barossa land surface rises south to north by 80 metres so the evening temperatures are cooler which creates balancing flavour complexity.

Price: $22.00

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Glug Eden Valley Pinot Gris 2021
Quality Variety Shines in Eden Valley
Glug Eden Valley Pinot Gris 2021

Region:Eden Valley, South Australia

The cold drinks cabinets at my local liquor shops display an impressive array of Pinot Gris wines, a variety that has grown in popularity over the last decade. This variety is fragile and to capture the fragrance of the flavour, elevated and or cooler vineyards are best plus gentle pressing of the bunches of grapes in the winery.

Chill the juice for slow fermentation and maintain the wine under a head of gas to keep oxygen out has been the solution to protecting the delicate though delicious qualities of this variety.

The examples that were imported from northern Italy for decades, termed Pinot Grigio, showed the promise but were terribly hit and miss and were often propped up with excessive sweetness. Still, they did show what was possible and we are delighted to offer our first examples from the high Eden Valley though please note we do take a serious approach to this variety which means a tad more flavour and length to that found in the supermarkets.

Price: $10.50

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Trennert McLaren Vale Tempranillo 2021
Placing Spain on the Table
Trennert McLaren Vale Tempranillo 2021

Region:McLaren Vale, South Australia

Once we referred to a hierarchy of the greatest varieties, these being Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet and Pinot Noir. This no longer holds, and all the smart drinkers wants to collect are well made wines.

Australia in 1970 did not have Chardonnay, little Cabernet and no Pinot Noir. Steadily the vineyard mix altered to match partly what customers wanted though in the earlier days production was also about placing on shelves varieties they did not realise they would enjoy.

Numerous other varieties have been added to the vineyard collection though with subtle differences in tastes they have not filled nor found an eager customer need. Instead they are slowly filtering into the minds of that dedicated group of customers that are keen to explore all that wine offers.

Tempranillo brings a piece of Spain into the house and being a warm climate variety is well suited to McLaren Vale. When offered this wine from a small maker Glug were keen buyers.

Price: $13.80

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Light & Finniss South Australia Shiraz Cabernet 2018
Traditional Australian Blend of the 1940s
Light & Finniss South Australia Shiraz Cabernet 2018

Region:South Australia

The small amount of Cabernet that was grown in the 1940s and 1950s was mostly used in blends and records suggest it was Yalumba that first referred to a Shiraz and Cabernet blend in the early 1940s. That is the reason why I refer to this blend, considered an unusual combination in other countries, as the traditional Australian style.

Recall we did not drink much table wines in the 1950s so most dry reds sold would have been blends. Perhaps the future will see us returning to labels using simple terms like Dry Red and letting consumers be the judges. The current fixation on varietal branding which became accepted from the 1980s has outlived its usefulness and takes the focus from the real purpose which is judging what is in the glass.

This Light and Finniss is in the Glug model of full flavours from ripe fruit.

Price: $8.90

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Trial Bin 931 Barossa Merlot Mataro Cabernet NV
Remarkable and Distinctive Creation
Trial Bin 931 Barossa Merlot Mataro Cabernet NV

Region:Barossa, South Australia

This Trial Bin 931 explores the taste relationship of two regions and three varieties.

The art of blending has several purposes. One is the addition of a good and more expensive wine to a lesser wine to lift the standard. Blending trials like this show that even small additions can lift the average wine.

Another example is blending good wines from two different regions. A celebrated example is the Penfolds Bin 60A Coonawarra Cabernet Barossa Valley Shiraz 1962 yet remarkably this blend is not a treasure chest to repeat again and again as while it has been tried often the results have not elevated the parts.

With the example Benjamin continues to explore the relationship between warm climate grown Merlot, Mataro and Cabernet from the Barossa and Eden Valley. The result is excellent

Price: $10.80

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Trial Bin 930 Barossa Grenache Mataro Shiraz NV
Combining Three Traditional Varieties
Trial Bin 930 Barossa Grenache Mataro Shiraz NV

Region:Barossa, South Australia

Since varieties may ripen at different times over many centuries it became more efficient to grow them in separate blocks leading to wines being made by the variety. Before then field blends were made from the bunches as they progressively ripened.

The detail we now demand about the variety began in the last 1000 years. An example being the monks of Burgundy that were focussed on Pinot Noir by the 10th century. The Barossa until the post war years was a producer of fortified wines with grapes being picked when the sugar level was at a maximum. With the change to table wines from the 1950s blending the heritage varieties, Shiraz, Mataro and Grenache began though the promotion to customers did not reach noticeable levels till the 1980s.

This Trial bin 930 is one of many that Benjamin has made over the last decade since this trio of varieties bring to customers a remarkable and different view of the taste of the Barossa.

Price: $10.80

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Glug South Australia Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2021
Successful Australian Blend Better Taste
Glug South Australia Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2021

Region:South Australia

Sauvignon Blanc is a variety where the appeal of the taste grows, the cooler the climate. In the Southern Hemisphere it has found its peak in Marlborough, New Zealand. Good examples are also found from the Adelaide Hills and across the Southern Coastline.

Semillon is different as complex wines are made in places with strikingly different climates like the Hunter Valley, Barossa Valley and Margaret River.

Bring the two varieties together and an enormous range of blending opportunities open up. Basically a winemaker wants to balance the flavour of Semillon with the fragrance, that elusive green freshness, that is captured in Sauvignon Blanc.

Price: $9.80

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Goat Square Reserve Ziegenmarkt Barossa Valley Shiraz 2018
Sixth Release Highlighting the Unique Barossa Depth and Richness
Goat Square Reserve Ziegenmarkt Barossa Valley Shiraz 2018

Region:Barossa Valley, South Australia

At least by the 1940s it was noted that Shiraz from the Barossa Valley developed an unusual depth of flavour. Since the 1950s the recognition of this special character has grown so moving to the Barossa in 2004 to make wine was partly with the desire to add to the history of Barossa Valley Shiraz.

For many reasons Shiraz just at this position on earth makes a wine with a concentrated, heady flavour that is often identified by an incredible mid-palate sensation of fruit sweetness. Nowhere else achieves this.

The first Goat Square Shiraz was vintage 2006 and it was not till vintage 2013 that our winemaking had advanced to release the first Ziegenmarket making the 2018 the sixth release.

In any vintage parts of vineyards simply produce grapes which have better flavours and this is often replicated in the vineyard year after year. Then wines evolve differently in barrel, so we wait for a year or so before isolating the most promising barrels for further attention.

In this way the Ziegenmarkt was born.

Price: $18.50

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Parawatta Eden Valley Chardonnay 2021
Greatness of Eden Valley Shines Bright
Parawatta Eden Valley Chardonnay 2021

Region:Eden Valley, South Australia

Chablis, made from Chardonnay, is a much-applauded wine and I agree that a small sliver of the large quantity made can show magical qualities. These are the Grand Cru wines that come from vineyards positioned across a remarkable hill slope that allows the grapes to peak up those extra rays of sun-light.

As for the rest, I find interesting acid structures though you can have my share as they are limited and pricy.

If you prefer your Chardonnay with flavour though with acid structure this Parawatta from the Eden Valley will satisfy your needs. $60 to $80 for a Premier Cru Chablis or this, is your choice.

I would point them about the same, though only if the Chablis came from a French summer which had the locals flocking to the beach.

I drink a lot of Eden Valley Chardonnay and enjoy the Yalumba brand called Heggies so I am pleased to recommend our Parawatta.

Price: $14.80

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Light & Finniss McLaren Vale / Barossa Valley Cabernet Shiraz 2015
Two Premium Regions Two Famous Varieties
Light & Finniss McLaren Vale / Barossa Valley Cabernet Shiraz 2015

Region:McLaren Vale / Barossa Valley, South Australia

An obvious blend is to match wines from South Australia’s two great warm climate regions, McLaren Vale and the Barossa Valley. Yet I cannot recall an example, and such is the rivalry between them I do not expect any.

The two Lindeman’s multi-district blends from the 1960s Lindemans Nyrang Claret and Lindemans Auburn Burgundy were close though they were generally blends from three or even four districts. Penfolds and Wolf Blass blend wines from many districts but not this blend so my curiosity deepens to explain why not?

Benjamin found it worked well as combining warm climate maritime fruit with intensely flavoured Barossa inland fruit is a natural so I expect many more in the years ahead.

Price: $9.60

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Kitts Creek Barossa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2018
First Cabernet Was Vintage 2008
Kitts Creek Barossa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

Region:Barossa Valley, South Australia

The Barossa Valley has a length of about 35 kilometres. Williamstown defines the South and the Northern limit is bounded by Kitts Creek which flows from the Eastern hills west, across the top end of the valley, towards the town of Kapunda.

This region is higher, drier and with a different weather pattern to the Southern and middle part of the Barossa.

What we want from the wines of this region is Barossa strength yet with the cooler evenings the fruit aromas are more fragrant which also shows on the palate.

Glug knows the northern country of the Barossa very well and a future project is to make many more wines from this region for Glug customers.

Price: $15.80

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Roxton McLaren Vale Shiraz 2020
The First Vintage was 2008
Roxton McLaren Vale Shiraz 2020

Region:McLaren Vale, South Australia

Glug commenced by offering Barossa Valley wines though making wines from all the districts of the Adelaidean-Mount Lofty Range was the aim. Thus McLaren Vale followed a few vintages later, indeed the first Roxton was from the 2008 vintage.

Historically McLaren Vale plantings preceded those of the Barossa Valley by a few years, 1840 to say 1843, though as a maker of table wines its recognition was far greater than the Barossa Valley until well into the 1970s.

Now they are great rivals and the appeal for drinkers is to enjoy the coastal setting of McLaren Vale and compare this to the inland setting of the Barossa Valley, set well back in the Range.

Roxton has a long history as a McLaren Vale brand and was resurrected by Glug for that first vintage. We believe it is essential for the advanced customer to be enjoying and comparing Shiraz from McLaren Vale and the Barossa Valley.

Price: $15.90

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Restless Farm 'The Bunny' McLaren Vale Shiraz 2020
Builds on the First Vintage of 2008
Restless Farm 'The Bunny' McLaren Vale Shiraz 2020

Region:McLaren Vale, South Australia

The Restless Farm wines developed from the idea of building a wine range around the fruit of the farm with no use of new oak and less emphasis on extraction and thus the need to soften taste elements like tannins. Perhaps see these wines as, smart, stylish fruit driven, bright and appealing.

The fruit is sourced from the warm climate regions of South Australia with favoured regions being McLaren Vale, Padthaway and Langhorne Creek. We do not think the Restless style is appropriate for cooler regions like the Yarra Valley as this district does not produce the depth of fruit flavour we seek.

We also encourage drinking Restless wines rather than cellaring as while the wines are big and bold when young the emphasis is not on extraction or building a profile for cellaring.

Years ago, I noted a Restless Emu was in the works though it failed the test and was not released. A strange and interesting animal is the Emu but when it will appear is not known. I’ll check this out with Benjamin.

Price: $13.20

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Glug Barossa Grenache Merlot Shiraz 2018
Barossa Blending tradition Extended
Glug Barossa Grenache Merlot Shiraz 2018

Region:Barossa, South Australia

To understand wine concentrate on what is in the glass. The obsession which has developed about the grape variety over the last 20 years is disturbing. The variety or varieties of the wine matters little as once you close your eyes and concentrate on the flavours the pleasure comes from comparing the experience with others you recall of any type.

Thus Benjamin is right to expand his exploration of nuances of the Barossa by extending it beyond the GMS or Grenache, Mataro, Shiraz classical formula. As long as blends and combinations create new ways for customers to enjoy the taste of the Barossa they are welcome.

The field blends of past years had merit though they were created for the wrong reason. Harvesting grapes is expensive so in mixed variety vineyards the grape pickers would harvest all the bunches whether ripe or not quite ripe.

The blends Benjamin creates are all from fully ripe grapes.

Price: $10.90

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Glug Barossa Valley Shiraz Mataro Grenache NV
Attractive Full Flavoured
Glug Barossa Valley Shiraz Mataro Grenache NV

Region:Barossa Valley, South Australia

The components of this Barossan are wines made by Glug from our extensive holdings of prime Barossa Valley reds. In this case to obtain the required balance, varieties and vintages have been blended.

Benjamin began thinking along these lines about five years ago and the results are so promising for customers that we will continue with this trend.

Of note Penfolds have recently released the Penfolds Grange g5 to complete a suite of three Granges which are blends of vintages. The g5 sells for $3500 a bottle and combines, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2018.

This helps confirm our thoughts of the use of blending in the future since the idea unfolds new ways of presenting complex tastes which after all is the point of opening a bottle.

Price: $8.50

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Glug Barossa Valley Grenache Shiraz 2013
Complexity and Strength Real Barossa
Glug Barossa Valley Grenache Shiraz 2013

Region:Barossa Valley, South Australia

Come to the Barossa where you belong if you like flavour and value. Benjamin does the winemaking at Glug and did his first vintage at the Rolf Binder winery in 2004.

As I often note the background you bring to any job alters your approach or expression to the task. A new graduate will take a different approach to another with experience in other fields.

Benjamin brings the sense of what customers are searching for with a background in the retailing of liquor. For example winemaking should be about expressing the best of the grapes each vintage though even that first step brings many differences of opinion.

For this wine Benjamin took the view that the delicious maturing flavours needed a percentage of younger wine to freshen the aroma and palate and brighten the colour. About this he was correct.

Price: $9.80

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Philip Schaffer The Vineyard Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir NV
Sparkling For All Occasions
Philip Schaffer The Vineyard Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir NV

Region: Australia
Australia has a long history of making sparkling wines and at Great Western you can still visit the winery and vineyards of one of these pioneers Hans William Irvine. Another famous maker was Leo Buring who worked at Minchinbury, though now consumed by Sydney suburbia. History shows these pioneers struggled in the long dark ages which extended into the 1950s before the table wine revival marked the awakening of a curiosity about all things to do with wine.

This led to the planting of more desirable grapes for sparkling wine, such as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and with this a revival of the high technical skills needed to make fresh exciting wines. It has been a long haul though as this year of record local consumption of French Champagne shows much work remains to convince consumers that great wines are being made. Glug does not make sparkling wine but we find the best we can and these are presented under the Philip Schaffer brand.

Price: $10.99

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