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Tasters Top 10
~ Tasters Top 10 ~
November Tasting, 2021
The Top 10 wines sold on the weekend of the November Tasting, 2021.

7. Your Go-To Shiraz
Goat Square Barossa Valley Shiraz 2018

Ben's Notes: This should be your Go-To Shiraz. We make it the same each vintage - bright fruit and punchy. I call it my 'Party Shiraz'.

Region: Barossa Valley, SA

This is the thirteenth vintage of the Goat Shiraz which we refer to as the ‘Salt of the Earth’.

The Goat is a pure expression of Barossa Shiraz with a light dose of mature oak as it does not see new oak. Benjamin does not want the rich, ripeness and complex flavours developed from the fruit competing with the raw flavours of new oak. Wines like this have a lot of extract and easily stands on its own.

The first vintage was the 2006 and, with the Karrawirra, is a staple of Glug.

Goat Square is an historic masterpiece as it was the old centre of Tanunda, Barossa Valley, and survives with three original cottages on the corners of the square with the oldest, the Rieschieck house built in 1850.

This style of wine is what we wanted to do when coming to the Barossa which sums up as letting each vintage express itself. To achieve this we use simple wine making methods, and these can be summed up as pick, ferment in small open fermenters, settle and age for two years in old, oak puncheons.

Benjamin is careful with over-use of pump-overs which can extract unwanted hard flavours, and there is no pre or post soaking and no new oak.


5. Glug Are Huge Fans of Eden Valley Wines
Mount Eagle Eden Valley Shiraz 2019

Ben's Notes: This will make David happy. He's been at you to try Eden Valley reds for some time and The Tasters agree. Get into it.

Region:Eden Valley, South Australia

The great winemaker Max Schubert was very fond of wines from the EdenValley, since being higher in altitude than the Barossa Valley the fruit takes on a different complexion. He found a portion blended into his great Penfolds house styles lifted the complexity and particularly the fragrance.

We also agree and please recall that some of Australia’s great reds are those of Henschke which are 100% Eden Valley.

Please note every wine we release is approved and blended by Benjamin and then bottled by Glug. We though do not make all of the wines but buy in barrels and lots from a range of artisan makers and grower-makers which make wines in a manner we like.

At last we are being offered nice parcels from the Eden valley and I urge customers to shift their profile of drinking just a bit by adding Eden Valley wines to the range.


6. First Triple Blend was Vintage 2006
Goat Square Barossa Valley Grenache Shiraz Mataro 2020

Ben's Notes: Wow! The Goat Square GSM out sold the Shiraz (below). Only just. That's a very strong endorsement.
It is on pour at my place along side the Magic Bullet. There's another endorsement...

Region:Barossa Valley, South Australia

The first triple blend varietal was the Shiraz Grenache Mataro 2006 and it was not till the 2010 vintage that Grenache became the major variety.

This triple blend is now featured by many Barossa wineries because the blend provides a taste experience different to each single variety. Each of the varieties produces wonderful ripe fruit in the Barossa Valley and it is this feature that makes the blend hard to duplicate in other cooler regions.

Grenache at times does not reach the required ripeness till April. Thus while you could grow Grenache and Mataro in Coonawarra, in many vintages the cool autumn weather will arrive before the fruit has achieved ripeness.

Shiraz ripens before the other two varieties and the problem is with Grenache and Mataro as it take ages to soften the skin tannins.

The first Goat Square made Shiraz the major variety however we discovered Shiraz crowded out the unique feature of the blend which is to make the delicious, floral, almost delicate qualities of Grenache the star.


2. Sparkling for All Occasions
Philip Schaffer The Vineyard Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir NV

Ben's Notes: Again, this wine gets a clear endorsement from the tasters. Every tasting it is up there. We only stock one so we have made sure it's damn good value.
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.


3. Shining Light from 10/10 Vintage
Parawatta Eden Valley Pinot Gris 2021

Ben's Notes: A ripper summer drink. Clean and crisp.
I've been working with the cooler Eden Valley whites a lot this year and very satisfied with the range we are currently offering you.

Region:Eden Valley, South Australia

The Eden Valley has had its best vintage since I moved to the Barossa Valley in 2004. Even, steady, ripening and a vine that is not gasping for water are the main ingredients. The Barossa Valley has supplementary water whereas the Eden Valley depends on farm water and is a place than can suffer, cruelly in times of drought.

I have also underestimated the greatness of Eden Valley and this goes back to my retail days as the wines were so hard to sell. Thus, I became despondent and lost faith, confusing the emotion of poor sales as in some way being associated with wine quality. This high land, dry plateau I now realise is one the great wine regions.

The impact on the unusual climate brings to any variety an unusual insight and this Parawatta has also altered my perspective of Pinot Gris. The last great one I drank was from Chard Farm in New Zealand which is not far from Queenstown on the South Island.

Like that wine this Pinot Gris is also a major surprise.


9. Result From A Decade With Durif
Farmers & Growers 'The Smithy' South Australia Shiraz Durif 2018

Ben's Notes: The Tasters vote for your budget drink. Durif gives it depth. A Glug stalwart.

Region: South Australia
Glug is a boutique winemaker yet unusually has the strong belief that making good, day to day wines is as important as striving to making the best wines we can from the best fruit. We were around when the large makers used their enormous in-house expertise to make impressive budget wines like the Jacobs Creek Shiraz Malbec Cabernet of 1973 and the Penfolds Koonunga Hill Shiraz Cabernet of 1976.

Benjamin has been fascinated with Durif for many decades and many of the first Glug wines had a tiny component of Durif as he could learn about the character of this remarkable variety. This in turn led to the first Brutus Shiraz Durif from the 2009 vintage which was about 50%-50%. From this experience he then made the first Smithy also from 2009. Recently the Brutus 2017 was released and as this style has evolved so has the Smithy though like many Glug wines the Smithy does not appear every vintage.


The Tasters have Spoken!

Glug Tasters Top Ten Mix

This mix contains the Top 12 wines from the November tasting. Sneaking it at No. 11 is Goat Square 'Ziegenmarkt' Barossa Valley Shiraz 2017 with P.B. Burgoyne Barossa Valley Shiraz 2018 at No. 12 to round out the dozen.

Contains 1 bottle each of the following wines:-


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