There is a soft spot in my vinous heart for Tahbilk, due in some part for the historical significance of the winery, and also the fact that CEO and owner Alister Purbrick was a guest on The Vincast wine podcast. The lovely team at Fireworks PR sent me some samples to taste, and these are my impressions. Let me know what you think in the comments below!
Eliza and Angela Brown were born into Australian Wine History, being fourth-generation members of the Brown Family of Milawa. Their father Peter discovered a particular passion for fortified wines and the Rutherglen region, convincing the rest of the family to purchase All Saints Estate. He bought his siblings out of that part of the business, and focused all his energy into revitalising this historic brand. His untimely passing resulted in his three children taking over the business, and they have continued his legacy of innovation balanced with respect for tradition and heritage. Peter’s two daughters both joined me on this episode to talk not only about the family and the estate, but also their own experiences and perspectives on the business.
The final in a series looking at wines from Yalumba thanks to a box of samples sent by Pippa Merrett from Hill-Smith Family Vineyards. The Scribbler is a classic Australian blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz, and is a great wine for the price. Let me know what you think in the comments below!
The Wingara Group – owner of many great wineries around the world – sent me some samples from one of their Australian brands; Katnook Estate. They are both from the Founder’s Block range, both with a retail price of $20. They are the 2015 Shiraz and the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon.
Alister Purbrick, almost on a whim, became the first qualified winemaker at Tahbilk, graduating from Roseworthy College. At 24 he took over at the family winery, not only as winemaker but also as CEO, working closely with his grandfather. He completely revitalised systems in the vineyards and the cellars, and whilst improving the white wine production, retained the iconic style of red wine production. He joined me on this episode of The Vincast after a back-vintage tasting of the 1860 Vines Shiraz, starting with the first one released in 1979, one of his greatest legacies (read my tasting notes here).
When you start learning about wine in Australia, particularly Victorian wine, one of the first names you learn about is Tahbilk. There are a number of reasons why this is the case. The first is that it is one of the oldest in the country, and boasts some of the oldest shiraz vines to boot, not easy to do in the phylloxera-affected state of Victoria compared to South Australia. The second is that they make an iconic (and hugely under-appreciated) white wine ideal for ageing, in their Marsanne, particularly the 1927 vine wine. Thus Tahbilk has a soft spot for many wine industry professionals like myself.
So it was with great pleasure that I got invited as a “new-media” guest to the release of the 2010 vintage of the 1860 Vines Shiraz, celebrating its 150th birthday this year, with a number of very special people to taste through almost every vintage since its first release. It was thanks in part to former guest on The Vincast podcast Kathy Lane that I managed to get an invite, as her business Fireworks PR did an amazing job helping Tahbilk put it together at Vue de Monde.
Finding original-rooted pre-20th Century vines in Victoria is not easy, which adds to the lustre of this iconic wine. What helps these vines is the very sandy soils they are planted on, which the phylloxera aphid can’t live in. When current owner and CEO Alister Purbrick took over the business from his father, it was his decision to bottle a wine exclusively from these old vines. At the time Australia was only just coming out of its fortified wine-dominant production, as markets started to discover the quality of Australian dry red wine, particularly made from shiraz.
Below you will find my impressions of each of the vintages that were on offer. I strongly urge people to get their hands on some of the 2010 vintage as it is a belter, and as seen in this tasting the wines have immense ageing potential. I also urge people to subscribe to The Vincast podcast, as after the tasting I recorded an episode with Alister which was an amazing insight into how far the wine industry has come in the past 40+ years.
Kathy Lane has worked in the wine industry for 25 years, and over the past 12 years she has worked on a range of high-profile, premium global brands, organising launches and events and building media profile for her clients at Fireworks PR. She joins me on this episode of The Vincast to talk about her background, about public relations as it relates to wine, and how she helps her clients – like Australia’s First Families of Wine – reach their audience to tell their unique stories.
Someone like Tom Barry is rare indeed, as he is probably one of only a few third-generation qualified winemakers in Australia. His grandfather Jim Brazill Barry was an early winemaking graduate of Roseworthy college in 1944, the first agricultural college in Australia, and the first qualified winemaker in the Clare Valley. Tom’s father Peter James also studied at Roseworthy, and Tom himself recently completed the course at the Waite campus of the University of Adelaide which Roseworthy merged with some years ago. Being based in the Clare Valley, one of the most important varieties for Jim Barry Wines and Clos Clare (which he and brother Sam took over a few years ago) is undoubtedly riesling. He joined me on this episode of The Vincast to talk about his background, the Clare Valley, and how important riesling is.
Burch Family Wines although new in name originates back in the mid 1980s, when Howard Park was first established in the Denmark area of Great Southern in Western Australia. In the last 30 years or so it has gone from strength to strength, expanding to the Margaret River and recently becoming a member of Australia’s First Families of Wine, an initiative designed to highlight the unique regions and families behind some of the countries best loved producers. Richard Burch is one of the ‘next gen’ of the group, and he joins me to talk about what this means to him as well as some of the exciting initiatives the group is engaging in to get the message out to the world.
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