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Tasters' Top 10 - Spring 2019
What did you buy?
The Tasters' Top 10
Last weekend at the Glug Winery was our Spring Tasting Extravaganza!!!

We opened 102 bottles for tasting including all our premium reds and the newest bottlings of rare and delightful oddities!

Here is the list the Top 10 Wines that were purchased over the weekend.

This list is judged by your peers who backed up their votes with proper money! There is no better measure of value and quality than that.

For those who have not had the chance to taste all our wines, this is the Best Buying Guide you can possibly get.

Lucky winner of the prize draw - Glug 'It's All Barossa Valley - 100% Guaranteed' Mixed Dozen is Scott Bircumshaw of Glenalta in SA. Well done Scott and thanks for coming to everyone!

Hope to see you on Wednesday, December 4th for our Christmas Shopping Night from 3pm - 8pm.


Here is a snippet of the action from the tasting - lots of wine, lots of fun. And plenty of action around the Linke's Mettwurst!

No. 1 Sparkling For All Occasions
Philip Schaffer The Vineyard Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir NV

Ben's Notes: This wine gets a clear endorsement from the tasters. If you are a bubbly drinker or just want some for the occasional celebration, don't pay $15+ - ditch the known brand and give this a try.

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.


High Altitude Cool Climate Freshness
Ariadne Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2019

Ben's Notes: Every tasting this wine is up there at the top, vintage after vintage. There's not a better value summer white on the market.

Region: Adelaide Hills, South Australia

Sauvignon Blanc is a variety considered to develop the most interesting, crisp flavours when grown in a cool climate. At low elevations across mainland Australia the grape ripening period is too warm, and the wines take on a fuller, riper, tropical flavour.

Thus for the preferred cooler taste expression vineyards need to be near the cold of the southern coastline or above 400 metres or even higher if the vineyard is well away from the coastal weather. The grape source for the 2019 is from same area as the 2018 with the vineyard located at Woodside, in the Adelaide Hills at about 600 metres.

Winemaking techniques were the same as previous vintages so any differences in taste are those created by the weather. Bottom line is tasters will find the same fresh, clean, crisp taste as expected with considerable complexity to discover on the palate which is attributed to the vineyard source.


No. 4 Rich Value for Money Reds
Farmers & Growers 'The Ploughman' South Australia Cabernet Shiraz 2013

Ben's Notes: This is the Tasters' Choice for your everyday red, picked out of maybe ten or so wines around the same price point. Great flavours.

Region: South Australia
The search never ends for the ‘holy grail’ of wine which is full flavoured red that sells for a good price.

Impossible to provide but the idea is having a Grange in your glass every night. So we search high and low and get as close as we can. By far the best chances for making such a wine is from a centre in the Barossa Valley.

This wine is actually made from left-overs that have been sitting around and are the result of a clean up and consolidation of many tiny amounts cluttering up the work space. I know you will be pleased with the result and the style is day to day comfort in a glass at a fair price.


100% Barossa at Bargain Price
Bagot Station Barossa Valley Shiraz 2016

Ben's Notes: 2016 Barossa Valley Shiraz at $9. Maybe you think it wouldn't be any good? Clearly it tastes pretty nice! The result of grabbing a bargain offering of bulk wine and passing the price benefit to you.

Region: Barossa Valley
This Bagot represents what I could never obtain as a shop retailer from 1975-2005. A good honest, well-spoken Shiraz from the Barossa Valley at a great price. We purchased this in bulk and re-blended it at our winery. Normally wines such as this are tipped into vast vats and emerge as wines that sell for $15-$20 as that is how they are assembled.

We are a new player and move purchases down a different supply chain, in this case directly to the Glug customer. Please note this is not Karrawirra at $15.99 but a you beaut special for day to day drinking which you can enjoy because you are smart.


No. 6 The 8th Guardian of the Barossa
Karrawirra Barossa Valley Shiraz 2015

Ben's Notes: A benchmark Barossa Valley Shiraz. Ticks all the boxes for a $25+ red if you were buying at your local shop. Buy direct from Glug and save 10 bucks.

Region: Barossa Valley, SA

Karrawirra is translated as ‘stands of red gums’ from the native dialect. These massive trees, many hundreds of years old, are a distinctive feature of the South Australian landscape.

Those that remain are fiercely protected thus we refer to our Karrawirra reds as guardians of the Barossa. We are not coy about how we want our Barossa reds to taste and the more flavour the better. Delicacy and finesse we applaud but not with Karrawirra.

The winemaker Benjamin Parker explores other facets of the Barossa Valley in for example his Village Belle series. With Karrawirra we want you to be able to inhale the aroma as it is being poured and know from the colour that a big mouthful awaits. There are no ifs and buts with this wine being our version of a big, no holds barred Barossan.

It's excellent in every respect and we must give a lot of credit to the fruit we get from the fabulous Kalleske farmers in the far northern Barossa.


High Points As Benjamin Has Nailed This Blend
Glug 'The Black Rider' Barossa Valley Shiraz Durif 2017

Ben's Notes: This is the second vintage of The Black Rider. Get some of this please. It deserves at least No.7...

Region: Barossa Valley, South Australia

The choice of the name Black Rider is a mystery, a secret with Benjamin the winemaker though when he is ready, I believe this Trial will be being offered as a new brand right up with Brutus in price and quality.

Glug are not the only supporters of Durif in the Barossa though we may be more enthusiastic than most; the reason being the variety has turned out to be a natural for the Barossa climate. We have also noted over several decades that a group of customers, the ultimate specialists, has evolved that really understand Durif.

Indeed in a blend I believe they rate the variety higher than Mataro. This means the winemakers are encouraged to continue blending trials as the wines containing Durif trickle out showing supporters exist. Just maybe we are at the birth of something quite special for the Barossa Valley.


No. 8 New Release Shiraz
Telegraph Road South Australia Shiraz 2018

Ben's Notes: The second vote for your budget drink. Younger and fresher than the Ploughman.

Region: South Australia
10th Consecutive vintage release. There is a reason South Australia sells so much red wine, 50% of the Australian total. The warmth of the growing season means at harvest the grapes are perfectly ripe and thus the wines taste good because they have flavour.


No. 9 Attractive with Age
P.B. Burgoyne McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Ben's Notes: This one came out of nowhere. The Tasters just started buying it. Smoothing out with age - a bargain.

Region: McLaren Vale, SA
The two great South Australian regions for Cabernet are McLaren Vale and the Barossa Valley and the debate will go for all time as to which makes the best.

The difference in taste is mostly climatic. McLaren Vale is influenced by its coastal setting and cool evening breezes that blow in off the Gulf during the late afternoon and into the evening while the Barossa Valley being much further inland has none of this influence and is also nestled down in a partly protected valley.

With that said in masked tastings it is devilishly difficult to say which is which. It seemed appropriate to brand this discovery as P.B. Burgoyne, long time U.K importers of McLaren Vale wine who took the first commercial shipment to the U.K. in 1871. This was from the McLaren Vale winery Tintara, owned by the famous wine pioneer, A.C.Kelly.


No. 10 Imagine McLaren Vale for the Taste
Cleanskin Port Lincoln South Australia Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2016

Ben's Notes: Fresh with a touch of sweetness. Get it cold, laze around on the deck and enjoy your summer afternoon.

Region: Port Lincoln, SA
I was last on the Eyre Peninsula in 2010 and like the pioneer wineries I soon recognised that it was indeed an excellent location for vineyards, best towards the wetter end near Port Lincoln.

A look at the climate records suggest it is a bit cooler then McLaren Vale but not as cool as Kangaroo island so its good country for Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon made in the style of Margaret River SSB’s.

Of the stock Benjamin purchased this is the obvious wine to recommend as it has such widespread appeal. Has all the right flavours and cannot think of any similar style as good at this price.


No. 11! Southern Italy Arrives in the Barossa
Crayford Barossa Valley Aglianico 2017

Ben's Notes: Number 11!!! Aglianico has no place here but the Tasters loved it! So I had to make one for it.
This is not some tooty-fruity mediterranean thing you may be imagining. Not like those Barberas and Dolcettos. This is serious wine. Proper. Please try...

Region: Barossa Valley, South Australia

There is a very fine Italian red called Taurasi being one of those wines with energy, a dramatic colour, and a fresh, savoury edge that offered the difference we craved as jaded retailers. So as the agreed choice we would grab a bottle as we headed out at the end of a day to some nearby restaurant.

On and off it was one of several favourites we drank for many years. We purchased the wines from a Melbourne importer of Italian wines but alas the name escapes me though it was long-ago and they are unlikely to still be in business. Thus, I was delighted when Benjamin with another wine maker secured a small parcel of fruit from vintage 2017.

Not for a moment did I imagine Glug would offer a local version of this red which left such fond memories from decades ago. Since it was handled by very accomplished winemakers I also have no hesitation in giving this Crayford my recommendation


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