News & Media
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Every year, the wine world awaits the publication of James Halliday's influential 'Wine Companion'. The 2019 edition was released last week and Wingara Wine Group is pleased to announce that its Mildura brands have collectively been rated 3.5 stars. This is defined by Halliday as " a solid, reliable maker of good, sometimes very good wines."
Given the competitive price points for Deakin Estate, La La Land and Azahara wines - this result is pleasing. Check here for all the reviews.
Henkell, the Oetker Group’s sparkling wine, wine and spirits branch, today announced the closing of its acquisition of Freixenet S.A.’s shares (50,67%) from the Hevia and Bonet families, following the approval of the European Commission. In 2008, Freixenet S.A purchased the WIngara Wine Group, which in turn owns Katnook Coonawarra and Deakin Estate Wines.
The Spanish-German cooperation creates the world’s leading sparkling wine group, allowing Henkell and Freixenet to access new markets and distribution channels, enabling them to achieve sustainable growth. The first round of consolidation will take place in Europe and the United States. Therefore it is 'business as usual' in Australia for the immediate future.
Freixenet is the number one brand in the international sparkling wine market with leading market positions and sales in more than 100 countries. The Henkell Group has a wide portfolio of sparkling wines, with market leading positions in many markets, including Mionetto as the best-selling Prosecco globally.
Following a capital increase by Freixenet’s honorary president, José Ferrer Sala, he and José Luis Bonet will own 50% of Freixenet S.A.’s share capital – while Henkell will own the other 50%.
The new board of directors of Freixenet will be led by the two co-presidents José Luis Bonet and Dr. Albert Christmann, general partner of Dr. August Oetker KG. Further members will include Demetrio Carceller Arce, president of S.A. Damm, who will contribute his expertise in the beverage industry, as well as Pedro Ferrer and Dr. Andreas Brokemper, spokesman of Henkell’s management, who both will become managing directors.
Enrique Hevia Ferrer, spokesman for the selling shareholders, said: “The sale of our shares is a very emotional moment for us. In Henkell we found the perfect partner for Freixenet. Our families would like to thank all employees for their hard work and loyalty over the years and wish Freixenet all the best for the future.”
José Ferrer Sala, honorary president of Freixenet, added: “The cooperation with Henkell will not only give continuity to Freixenet, a company renowned for its tradition, but will also strengthen its international leadership in the world of cava.”
Dr. Albert Christmann, general partner of Dr. August Oetker KG, emphasized: “Henkell and Freixenet share a deep understanding of tradition, quality and continuity. The strategic partnership will help to develop new business opportunities, strengthening our market positions in the growing global sparkling wine market.”
Demetrio Carceller Arce, president of S.A. Damm, stated: "After many years of friendly relations between the Oetker and Carceller families at Damm, where I am on the board with Dr. August Oetker, I am very happy to be part of this joint new project at the emblematic company Freixenet."
José Luis Bonet Ferrer, co-president of Freixenet, concluded: “The cooperation with a partner like Henkell, which has substantial sector expertise on a global level, will help Freixenet maintain its identity and accelerate its international expansion.”
About Henkell & Co. Group
The Henkell & Co. Group is part of the Oetker Group and consists of subsidiaries in 22 countries, exporting to more than 100 countries around the globe. It is the market leader for wine, sparkling wine, Prosecco or various categories of spirits in numerous countries. Its portfolio includes well known international brands such as Henkell and Mionetto. Further information can be found at www.henkell-gruppe.com.
About Freixenet, S.A.
Freixenet S.A. is a family-owned company which was founded in 1914, but has roots that date back to 1861. It is Spain’s largest exporter of beverages and the global No.1 cava producer. The company is headquartered in Sant Sadurní d’Anoia, close to Barcelona. Freixenet, which owns brands such as Freixenet, Mederaño, Mia, Segura Viudas and Gloria Ferrer, has subsidiaries in 19 countries, such as in the US, Argentina and Australia and exports its brands to 109 countries. For further information see http://www.freixenet.com.
The Wingara Wine Group is pleased to announce the launch of our new Deakin Estate website, designed to reflect the fresh, vibrant premise of the wines themselves. The site features plenty of resources for our trade partners and staff world wide - as well as consumer friendly information.
- At a glance details on each wine in our range. The product pages host tasting notes, bottle images, reviews and accolades;
- Images including logos and bottle shots for downloading;
- Plenty of information about us;
- A world wide distributor search and where to taste our wines in Mildura;
- The ability to translate the site to a range of languages, since our wines are distributed to most wine consuming countries in the world.
Katnook Coonawarra is delighted to announce the appointment of new Senior Winemaker, Tim Heath, who will start in the role in June 2018.
Tim is currently Senior Winemaker at one of the world’s most successful wineries, Cloudy Bay Vineyards, New Zealand, where he has pursued his passion for the last fourteen years. During this time, Tim has been responsible for all facets of crafting Cloudy Bay’s internationally renowned wine styles, as well as overseeing winery infrastructure and expansion. Tim has extensive experience promoting wine and liaising with key opinion leaders in national and international markets.
Prior to Tim’s move to Cloudy Bay, he was Winemaker at Mountadam in the Barossa Valley, during which time he assisted with vintage at Cave de Tain-l'Hermitage, Northern Rhone, France. Tim has visited most major French, Spanish and German wine regions, rounding out his international approach to winemaking.
Born and raised in Australia, Tim began studying a Bachelor of Science at the University of Adelaide, before transferring to a Bachelor of Oenology when he realised that winemaking “looked like too much fun to be considered a ‘real’ job”. He graduated from Oenology with First Class Honours, completing a thesis entitled ‘The development of non-destructive photo-chemical assay to measure the ingress of oxygen into bottled wine through various closures.’
Speaking of his new role, Tim said “I’m excited to be joining the team at Katnook, an Estate which has some of the finest terroir in the Coonawarra region, as well as incredible pedigree and history.”
Katnook’s Executive Director of Operations and Finance, Chris Pike, said of the appointment, “We are thrilled that someone of Tim’s winemaking calibre has accepted this role. Tim brings a wealth of international expertise and creative flair that is certain to build on the great legacy left by Wayne Stehbens and to take Katnook Coonawarra into an exciting future.”
Vintage is over for another year and we have some terrific wines from the 2018 harvest. Here is a summary of the season from our grapegrowing and winemaking teams at Deakin Estate and Katnook Coonawarra.
Deakin Estate, Murray Darling, VICTORIA
Deakin Vineyard Manager Craig Thornton summarises the 2018 vintage in Mildura, Victoria, “In the lead up to vintage, Deakin Estate received similar rainfall amounts to recent years for the months of October to December but a drier September was experienced.
Overall, the growing season was a dream, as we managed rain pressures and quality well. Like most of Australia, we experience very hot conditions in January which were managed by constantly monitoring and irrigating vines until the temperature decreased. Grapevine canopies gave just the right amount of shading to assist with ripening.
We kicked off vintage on 23rd January 2018, with a small parcel of Chardonnay for sparkling base, quickly followed by Pinot Noir for sparkling and aromatic whites. The rest of the varieties followed the historic text book, ripening as expected and we picked them accordingly. The vintage remained hot and dry right to the end and the estate had received only 3mm of rain to this point. The conditions for post vintage has not changed, we have had unseasonal weather in April with 4 days of over 35 degrees and still no rain on the horizon.
In all, we harvested just over 10 000 tonnes with the last date of harvest being 5th April. Crops were significantly down on 2017 levels but still slightly above average.
Early observations indicate promising flavour profiles developing in all white varieties, and colour development in the reds varieties is pleasing too.”
Deakin Estate winemakers Frank Newman and Aidan Menzies report from inside winery, “The warm, dry weather which was the hallmark of 2018 season made for good, ripe flavours across the board.
Early signs are that Sauvignon Blanc is shaping up particularly well, with beautiful, fresh grapefruit aromas and some more tropical notes from the later ripening parcels. The final blend is sure to be fantastic.
We sourced some terrific Vermentino, which is showing some pleasing almond flavours as it is on yeast lees at the moment, in order to build on the fruit flavours. Promising early signs!
Our Pinot Rose has excellent salmon pink colour and fresh fruity nose, quite enticing.
In the red departments we have some great early starters with the standouts being Grenache and Tempranillo. Cabernet Sauvignon is looking rich, while Shiraz and Merlot are standing up well too.
The Reds are currently going through malolactic fermentation and will be cleaned up onto oak soon. We will be sourcing French and American oak for the majority of the reds and this is our next big task.
Overall, we had a smaller than average crush and excellent quality, so we are confident of a successful 2018 vintage once these wines are bottled.
Katnook Coonawarra, SOUTH AUSTRALIA
Early reports are that 2018 is shaping up to be a fantastic year at Katnook Coonawarra. Harvest began early on February 6th and finished late on April 12th. It was drier and warmer than average, with crops down by about a third, due to a spring frost.
Katnook Coonawarra General Manager of Viticulture, Chris Brodie reports that this early start to vintage was despite late budburst. He says, “The spring leading up to the 2018 vintage at Katnook Coonawarra was wet, providing good soil moisture which gave the vines an excellent start, with very little early season irrigation required.Temperatures were relatively warm which also encouraged good vine growth, especially in newly planted areas.
A significant late frost in early November caused crop losses throughout Coonawarra, Wrattonbully and Padthaway. Katnook’s crop was subsequently down by around 30%, with Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon at Founder’s Block level most affected. In mid November, we experienced heavy rainfall of around 75mm in one day but thereafter enjoyed warm, clear conditions for the rest of vintage.
In mid-January, most of southern Australia, including Coonawarra had several days of heatwave conditions, which brought forward the first day of vintage by about 3 weeks to February 6th with Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir for sparkling wine. Harvest continued at an even pace and finished with the last of the Cabernet Sauvignon on April 12th.
In summary, the 2018 season was significantly warmer and drier than usual. Grape flavours across all varieties are better than they have ever been, we have some excited winemakers in the region!
Katnook’s Senior Vintage Winemaker, Greg Clayfield with his wealth of winemaking experience, has superbly steered our team though Vintage 2018 and will stay on until our new Senior Winemaker, Tim Heath starts in June.
Greg summarises, “Ideal, even ripening conditions lead to a very controlled harvest and crush schedule, with all varieties picked at optimum maturity. A key factor was the sustained dry season, with neither rainfall nor temperature extremes having any influence.
Flavours are very promising with Riesling and Shiraz the standouts. A significant amount of work was put into smaller scale Shiraz ferments, incorporating hand-picked whole bunches.The subsequent wines will make a significant contribution when the Shiraz blends are finalised.
Cabernet Sauvignon are rich, elegant and distinctly regional. After the very early start in February the last fruit, Cabernet Sauvignon, was picked quite late on April 12th.
The winery is currently pressing the last of the red ferments, racking wines off gross lees, filling off wines into oak, encouraging malo-lactic fermentations and conducting full laboratory analyses on finished wines. A significant contributor to the smooth running of the winery was the input of Jo Ahearn MW in her role as Vintage Winemaker. Jo is a star multi tasker, bringing experience ranging from winemaking in the Barossa Valley to managing a large winery in New South Wales, working in the London Wine Trade through to now operating her own winery and brand in Croatia.
In short, 2018 was a very good Coonawarra vintage here at Katnook.”
Freixenet and Henkell join forces to form world’s leading sparkling wine group
Henkell signs an agreement to acquire 50.67% of Freixenet S.A.’s shares
Extensive, international cooperation agreed
Henkell, the Oetker Group`s branch for sparkling wine, wine and spirits, has signed an agreement to acquire 50.67% of Freixenet S.A.’s shares and furthermore signed an extensive, international cooperation agreement with the remaining shareholders José Ferrer Sala and José Luis Bonet Ferrer.
The Wingara Wine Group was formerly 100% owned by Freixenet and so now come under this new merger. No changes to Wingara or the Australian distribution of its brands are expected in the near future.
By joining forces, the companies will become the world’s leading sparkling wine group. Their wide product portfolios and respective presence in international markets complement each other perfectly. While Freixenet stands for the world’s leading cava brand, Henkell’s Mionetto Prosecco is the world’s leading Prosecco and Henkell Trocken is Germany’s most exported sparkling wine.
Freixenet and Henkell share a deep understanding of tradition, quality and continuity. The strategic partnership will aim to open up new markets and distribution channels for both companies, enabling them to further expand their international market positions and to achieve sustainable growth.
José Luis Bonet Ferrer, President of Freixenet S.A., added: “Over three generations, we have made Freixenet the world's leading producer of cava. In Henkell we have found a strong partner with a long-term strategy which will significantly strengthen Freixenet and help us to maintain our identity and tradition - with an even stronger international presence in the future.”
Dr. Albert Christmann, General Partner of Dr. August Oetker KG, said: “The Oetker Group consequently continues the expansion of its areas of business. With the acquisition of the shares of Freixenet we will strengthen the international market position of our sparkling wine, wine and spirits division significantly while at the same time we build up a solid base for sustainable joint growth in that business.”
Dr. Andreas Brokemper, CEO of Henkell, said: “Henkell and Freixenet share a strong entrepreneurial vision. We are delighted to realize as partners the opportunities of the globally growing sparkling wine market. Together, we can offer our customers not only global expertise but also a unique range of first-class brands and specialties.”
Henkell and Freixenet will communicate details of the partnership later. The acquisition of the shares is subject to approval by the antitrust authorities.
About Freixenet, S.A.
Freixenet is a family-owned company which was founded in 1914, but with roots that date back to 1861. It is Spain’s largest exporter of beverages and the global No.1 cava producer. The company is headquartered in Sant Sadurní d’Anoia, close to Barcelona. Freixenet, to which brands such as Freixenet, Mederaño, Mia, Segura Viudas and Gloria Ferrer belong, has subsidiaries in 19 countries, such as in the US, Argentina, China and Australia and exports its brands to 109 countries.
About Henkell & Co.-Gruppe
Henkell & Co.-Gruppe is represented by its subsidiaries in 21 countries, exporting to more than 100 countries around the globe. It is the market leader for wine, sparkling wine, Prosecco or various categories of spirits in numerous countries. The building where Henkell was founded remains the headquarters of the Henkell & Co.-Gruppe, to which brands such as Henkell, Mionetto, Champagne Alfred Gratien, Törley Sekt, i heart WINES and Mangaroca Batida de Côco belong. Further information can be found at www.henkell-gruppe.com.
Martina Rothe Obregón
Chief Marketing Officer
Joan Sala, 2
08770 Sant Sadurní d'Anoia
T. +34 600597226
Henkell & Co.-Gruppe
Head of Corporate Communications & PR
Biebricher Allee 142
T. +49 (0)611 63-210
Deakin Vineyard Manager Craig Thornton gives the rundown on vintage so far in Mildura, Victoria.
“In the lead up to vintage, Deakin Estate received similar rainfall amounts to recent years for the months of October to December but a drier September was experienced. Overall, the growing season was a dream, as we managed rain pressures on quality well. Like most of Australia, we experience very hot conditions in January which were managed by constantly monitoring and irrigating vines until the temperature decreased. Grapevine canopies gave just the right amount of shading to assist with ripening. We kicked off vintage on 23rd January, with a small parcel of Chardonnay for sparkling base. All sparkling wine grapes and the aromatic whites are now all harvested.
Early observations indicate promising flavour profiles developing in all white varieties, and colour development in the reds varieties is pleasing too.
At this stage I am predicting an uncomplicated harvest as long as weather conditions stay the same, let’s hope the dream start to the season continues.”
Meanwhile Katnook Coonawarra kicked off with an early vintage - check here for details.
It is with great sadness that Wingara Wine Group announces the sudden passing of our Katnook senior winemaker Wayne Stehbens on Sunday 05 November.
Wayne has been an institution on the Coonawarra winemaking scene for more than 38 years and his passion, skill and dedication to Katnook and the Coonawarra region in general were extraordinary.
Wayne Stehbens made Katnook's first vintage and headed the winemaking team until his sudden death, making him one of Australia’s longest serving winemakers.
In 1979 Wayne produced his first vintage and in 1980, he crafted Katnook’s first commercial quantities of wine. Wayne was then fresh from winemaking studies at Charles Sturt University when he was appointed winemaker at Katnook. He was already familiar with the property having worked alongside his father, Katnook General Manager Ray Stehbens, during his school holidays.
Foreshadowing the success that was to come, these first wines won 49 awards in their first year. In 1988 Wayne travelled to Graves, near Bordeaux in France, where Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc are the leading varieties. Here, he completed vintage and gained insights into these wine styles. Wayne was one of the first Australian winemakers to make Sauvignon Blanc in commercial quantities.
Over the course of his career Wayne received numerous awards and accolades. He won two Jimmy Watson Trophies (1987 and 1998) and a double trophy at the prestigious International Wine & Spirit Competition in 2003 for the flagship Odyssey Cabernet Sauvignon 1998. Further trophies included the 2000 vintage of Odyssey in the International Wine & Spirit Competition 2005 & Decanter Wine Awards 2005 and most recently a trophy for the 2008 Odyssey in the 2013 International Wine & Spirits Competition. In the Langton’s Classification V, Odyssey receives a rating of ‘Outstanding’, Prodigy a classification of ‘Excellent’ and the Katnook Estate Cabernet Sauvignon a rating of ‘Distinguished’.
Wayne was a talented winemaker with a sophisticated understanding of the unique terroir of Coonawarra. He was passionate about the wines in his charge and about Coonawarra as an significant wine producing region, having served for two years as President of the Coonawarra Vigneron’s Association.
Wayne governed Katnook’s winemaking during the most dynamic growth period of the Australian wine industry. Wayne cited the loves of his life as his family, wine, fast cars (he owned two Bolwells which he built from scratch), water skiing and tennis.
In 2013 Wayne celebrated 35 years of winemaking at Katnook and reflected on his career - read the interview here for an insight into Wayne and his winemaking at the time.
No words can truly describe the extraordinary impact Wayne had at Katnook Estate, Coonawarra - he will be sadly missed by so many.
La La Land Wines proudly announces the arrival of Rosé, delivered on the 23rd of October 2017 by a giant flamingo. Siblings Malbec, Pinot Gris and Tempranillo are delighted to welcome this alluring red head to their family.
La La Land Rosé 2017 was conceived saignée style about nine months ago, when our winemakers crushed some super tasty Victorian Pinot Noir. After a short time on skins, we kept the free run juice separate. A specially selected yeast kicked off a slow, cool ferment which captured natural juicy, strawberry flavours with a hint of fresh watermelon and toffee. Minimal intervention at birth achieved Rosé’s natural, expressive style. Pale and dry, we think Rosé is just beautiful. Check out her tasting notes here.
Rosé fits right in with friends at a picnic, at a game of croquet or at any other social gathering this summer. Retailing at $18 and available at independent retailers Australia wide, Rosé is vegan friendly. Serve chilled with antipasto platters, fresh seafood or a huge pan of paella. Alcohol is 12.5% with 5.7g/l acidity and less than 2g/l residual sugar.
ABOUT THE LA LA LAND FAMILY
La La Land adds a breath of fresh air to the sometimes-stuffy world of wine. An eclectic collection of new generation wines from family owned estate vineyards, La La Land wines are crafted from lesser known grape varieties, which thrive in the warm clime of north west Victoria.
La La Land wines are wines to explore - flavoursome and generous, made with creative flair and a touch of funk to challenge traditional conventions. La La Land is the official wine for the Jazz High Teas series at the Arts Centre Melbourne and is available at select retailers Australia wide.
Established – 2013 near Mildura.
Approximately 4 500 cases per year.
Wine Region – Victoria, Australia.
Winemakers – Frank Newman assisted by Aidan Menzies. Viticulturist – Craig Thornton.
Distributed by Red+White Australia wide. Tel. 1300 655 732.
The Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) at Federation Square in the heart of Melbourne Australia had partnered with Deakin Estate wines in a move that will showcase Deakin Estate to a wider, culturally aware audience. Welcoming over 1.45 million visitors annually, ACMI is one of Melbourne’s biggest tourism drawcard and the most visited moving image museum in the world. It is dedicated to showcasing the best in film, TV, digital culture and art. Read about ACMI here.
As of September 2017, Deakin Estate is the Official Wine Partner, Member Events and will be served at VIP viewings and events. Deakin Estate wine is served by the glass in the ACMI café.
ACMI connects moving image makers and viewers in a vibrant space that embraces the future, understands the past and unlocks new types of creativity. Speaking of the partnership with ACMI, Deakin Estate’s director of marketing and sales, Sean Shortt said, “Just as Deakin Estate lies on the banks of Victoria’s Murray River, ACMI sits on the banks of Melbourne’s Yarra River - and offers an enriching experience that is readily accessible to a world-wide audience. This is a perfect fit for Deakin Estate wines.”
Famous for its cutting edge cinematic and museum offerings, recent ACMI exhibitions include David Bowie Is, Dressing Hollywood, Martin Scorsese and Tim Burton. ACMI board members include luminaries such as director Jan Chapman AO and actor Rachel Griffiths.
The most influential wine book in Australia, 'Halliday Wine Companion 2018' was released last night.
Again our wines did particularly well, with Katnook 2013 Odyssey Cabernet Sauvignon scoring 96 points, followed closely by Katnook Amara 2015 and Caledonian 2015 both with 95 points. READ ALL KATNOOK REVIEWS.
Deakin Estate and La La Land notched up "special value" mentions along with some terrific reviews. READ ALL DEAKIN, LA LA LAND AND AZAHARA REVIEWS.
Three Katnook Founder’s Block varietal reds from the 2015 vintage will be released this month. Harvested exclusively from Katnook’s proprietary vineyards, the Katnook Founder’s Block range captures the essence of Coonawarra and offers contemporary wines for everyday enjoyment.
The range is named after the original land holding of John Riddoch, the founder of Coonawarra wine region. In 1890, Riddoch set up headquarters of the newly formed Coonawarra Fruit Colony at his property ‘Katnook’. Here he made the region’s first commercial wine in his woolshed - now Katnook’s barrel room.
In 1980, winemaker Wayne Stehbens rekindled the property’s winemaking history, making the first Katnook Estate wines. In 2005, responding to evolving demands of wine drinkers, Stehbens created the singular fruit focussed Katnook Founder’s Block range, priced to entice a new audience.
Retailing at $20 a bottle, Katnook Founder’s Block 2015 Merlot, 2015 Shiraz and 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon are all available at Dan Murphy’s and at selected independent retailers Australia wide.
The 2015 Vintage in Coonawarra began with a warm spring, advancing flowering by about two weeks. This promoted fast and even berry set, similar to other outstanding vintages such as 2004 and 2010. Dry conditions continued through to mid-January, when a welcome 90mm of rain fell. Summer days were warm and nights were cool, providing a long and cool ripening of the reds, which were harvested from late March until early April. All show bright fruit, good varietal definition, intense colour and strong tannins. Notes for each wine are below.
KATNOOK FOUNDER’S BLOCK MERLOT 2015. RRP $20
Harvest: Early to mid-April 2015
pH: 3.48 Acidity: 5.5g/L Alc/vol:13.5%
Oak Maturation: Approximately 20 percent of this wine was matured for an average of two months in a combination of older French and American oak barrels.
KATNOOK FOUNDER’S BLOCK SHIRAZ 2015. RRP $20. Silver Medal, 2016 Decanter Asia Wine Awards, Hong Kong.
Harvest: 15 March - 02 April 2015
pH: 3.53 Acidity: 6.2g/L Alc/vol:13.5%
Oak Maturation: This wine was matured in a combination of older French and American oak barriques for three months.
KATNOOK FOUNDER’S BLOCK CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2015. RRP $20. Silver Medal, 2017 International Wine Challenge, UK.
Harvest: 08 - 17 April 2015
pH: 3.42 Acidity: 5.98g/L Alc/vol: 13.5%
Oak Maturation: Approximately 20 percent of this wine was matured for four months in a combination of older French and American oak barrels.
Katnook Founder's Block Wines are distributed by:
Fesq and Company (NSW, VIC, QLD). Tel. 1300 763 377
Off the Vine Distributors (WA). Tel. 08 9418 8210
Muster Wines (SA). Tel. 0430 360 650.
Vintage 2017 is over for another year and looking promising at both Wingara sites.
Katnook Viticulturist Chris Brodie explains, “The cooler conditions resulted in budburst being delayed by up to three weeks, with flowering two weeks later. A warm summer followed, with a welcome spell of hot days in late January. We picked our first grapes on 3 March 2017, being Pinot Meuniere and Pinot Noir for sparkling. This was much later than usual. A cool growing season and above average rain leading into 2017 harvest saw a later start to vintage, typical of ten years ago.
Reg grape harvest started towards the end of March and continued to completion on 2nd May. Coonawarra has not had a vintage starting this late since the outstanding 2004 vintage.
The 2017 vintage saw white grapes with good varietal definition and the reds, even at lower sugar levels than recent vintages had excellent colour and concentrated fruit flavours.
April saw heavy rain towards the end of the month, and this, combined with above average yields, meant that not all fruit in Coonawarra was harvested. There are many parcels of high quality grapes for Katnook wines, with Shiraz a standout variety for 2017."
Mildura Viticulturist Craig Thorton (Deakin Estate, La La Land, Azahara ) says, “Our region experienced cold nights right up until Christmas 2016, when the temperatures rose to what we normally expect over summer, followed by cooler weather. Harvest therefore was slow to progress and at any stage was about four weeks behind normal. Usually we would have started harvest by late January, however this year, it was early February.
We had good healthy full bunch crops, with great fruit freshness considering the late pick date. We began harvest with base varieties required for Sparkling and some early ripening Pinot Gris.
We had a very hot week in mid-February with 5 days over 40 degrees Celsius. We had another hot week in the high 30 degrees Celsius during the first week in March which helped with fruit ripening. Weather then become cold at nights until we finished harvest in March.
I was particularly excited by the quality of Tempranillo, Shiraz and Sauvignon Blanc in the vineyard. Overall, 2017 was a late but rewarding vintage.”
Mildura winemaker Frank Newman reports, “Harvest proceeded slowly this year. As of the second week of March we had crushed just 2000 tonne - five weeks behind last year. A cooler, wetter spring slowed ripening to a marked degree and, as with Coonawarra, this season seems more like those experienced 10-15 years ago.
Sparkling bases are showing refined flavours with a crisp palate. These bases will be spread over seven consecutive years of sparkling so that we maintain our “solera” integrity (our sparkling wines are always non-vintage because we want them to have youthful freshness but also depth of character from careful ageing of the base wines).
We harvested Pinot Gris at two different maturity levels to develop the styles that we sell - early picked for Pinot Grigio and the riper intake for Pinot Gris. Both began fermentation spontaneously with indigenous yeast while finishing with a selected yeast strain to improve mouthfeel.
Vermentino is looking exciting, with a touch of oak to balance the palate. Chardonnay has a hint of malolactic fermentation and an approachable mid weight palate. The reds are showing great colour and flavour intensity.
Overall we harvested around 17% less than 2016, due to harvest conditions. I am upbeat about the final, overall wine quality."
Katnook winemaker, Wayne Stehbens reports, "Overall 2017 was slightly warmer than average, as were yields. Despite some heavy mid-vintage rain, my expectations are for a very good vintage.
Harvest began with Pinot Meuniere, Pinot Noir (for sparkling base) and Sauvignon Blanc. The fruit was in excellent condition, with high natural acidity and great flavours at low sugar levels. Riesling and Chardonnay followed in mid-March. Overall, the whites are showing forward fruit and good acid balance.
Red grapes came in later than usual, starting in late March and finishing 02 May. We chose to leave some fruit on the vines due to the heavy rains in late April, meaning we did not compromise on quality. Cabernet at this early stage is deep in colour with elegant fruit flavours and medium body. Shiraz is exceptional, intense, spicy flavours and good palate structure. "
Deakin Estate’s family owned vineyards lie near Mildura in north west Victoria, Australia. Here, the mighty Murray River weaves across the land, bringing life to the region. As one of the world’s longest navigable rivers, the Murray stretches for 2,500 kilometres, bordered by a tapestry of quintessential Australian flora, including magnificent gum trees. For over 40,000 years, this river sustained the region’s traditional owners, the Latje Latje people, whose deep connection to the land centres around the timeless Murray – now central to Deakin Estate’s unique terroir.
Deakin’s new River to Vine labels pay homage to the magnificent Murray and the role it plays in delivering exceptional, estate grown fruit to our winemakers. Deakin Estate enjoys full control over every aspect of production, from proprietary vineyards through to final wines - giving consistency, vintage after vintage. For consumers looking for a wine they can always trust for quality and affordability, these fresh labels, designed by Melbourne’s Beetle Creative, evoke a sense of place.
The Murray River’s irrigation system was set up in 1887 by the Chaffey Brothers. Water availability accelerated agricultural expansion around the Murray Darling region, in which Deakin Estate was established in 1967. Today, Deakin’s viticulturist Craig Thornton is highly regarded for his meticulous irrigation trials in conjunction with research bodies such as the CSIRO, ensuring Deakin is at the forefront of regional viticulture. Craig says, “My approach is to create a balanced vine canopy. Irrigation is our main tool in achieving this, as it is something we can manage each year to complement our warm, dry climate. We create the right vine architecture to manage cropping levels, while capturing the best possible flavours.”
Deakin Estate wines are available Australia wide and in major export markets, as are other leading brands nurtured by the Murray, such as William Downie and Chalmers. One of the world’s leading wine writers, Jancis Robinson MW recently commented that collectively, such operators are “busy proving that good wines can come out of the irrigated inland wine regions that depend for their existence on the lazy Murray River.” (www.jancisrobinson.com/ 28/4/2017).
Australian distributors Red+White. Tel. 1300 763 377. International distributors
Deakin Estate Fast Facts
Location: Red Cliffs near Mildura, Victoria.
Wine Region: Murray Darling, Victoria.
Size: 217 hectares of vineyards and orchards.
Winery Capacity: 400,000 cases.
Winemakers: Frank Newman, Aidan Menzies.
Viticulturist: Craig Thornton.
Soils: Rich, fertile calcareous earth, ranging from brown to red sandy loam.
Climate: Mediterranean. Warm and sunny.
Max. average temperature: 23.6 degrees Celsius.
Altitude: 50-70 metres (180-229 feet)
Mean number of clear days per year: 143.2
Mean annual Rainfall: 268.1mm
Vintage 2017 is almost complete for Australia’s Deakin Estate, Murray Darling and Katnook Estate, Coonawarra. Throughout Australia, harvest was generally later than usual and at this early stage, quality is looking exceptional for both Deakin and Katnook according to winemakers.
Deakin Estate’s winemaker, Frank Newman reports, “We finished harvest just after Easter by picking Shiraz, Cabernet, Merlot and Malbec – this is exceptionally late compared to the last few years. The warm harvest period in 2016 increased the fruitfulness of the vines and delaying maturity in 2017. Combined with a relatively cool spring and summer, fruit development has been held back meaning an extended ripening period.
This season’s wines are showing more elegance than the “big” wines of last year. Colours in the red are looking good as are the aromas and flavours. The body of these wines will be more refined than 2016. This will also be the case for our white wines, which are showing less tropical aromas and flavours than normal and more flora fragrant bouquets.
This will mean that our oaked wine styles will have less time in oak this year, so that fruit characters can be highlighted. Non oaked whites like Sauvignon Blanc are showing characteristic floral aromas with light delicate palate weight structures. Again one of the shining lights will be Viognier, aromatic and flavoursome with a little texture on the palate – it is one of the wines we enjoy making the most. It has indeed been a terrific vintage.”
Katnook is located some 500 kilometres south of Deakin Estate in the cooler Coonawarra district. Katnook winemaker, Wayne Stehbens is happy with the 2017 season. He says, “The season to date has been cooler and wetter than last year, reminiscent of vintages 10-15 years ago. We commenced harvest on the 2nd March 2017 two weeks later than last year by picking Pinot Meuniere, Pinot Noir (both for sparkling base) and Sauvignon Blanc. The fruit was in excellent condition, with high natural acidity and great flavours at low sugar levels. This was followed by Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Chardonnay in mid-March. Fruit flavours and natural acid balance are pleasing across our white wines.
The weather by early April was drier and slightly warmer than average, which was ideal for harvest of our Merlot, Shiraz and later, Cabernet Sauvignon. Picking should conclude in early May and initial assessments show that our red wines will be exceptionally elegant with rich flavours and gentle tannins.”
Katnook Coonawarra is one the few wineries with three or more listings in the Langton’s Classification of Australian wine. This month, Katnook releases its flagship wines, Odyssey Cabernet Sauvignon and Prodigy Shiraz from the outstanding 2012 vintage as well as Katnook Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2013. Under the Langton’s Classification IV, Odyssey is rated ‘Outstanding’ while Prodigy and Katnook Estate Cabernet sit in the ‘ Excellent’ category.
Katnook Winemaker Wayne Stehbens says the 2012 Coonawarra vintage, “is now considered to be one of the finest for Coonawarra. It was a very early, warm, dry, low yielding vintage which led to intense fruit aromas, great depth of flavours and fine tannins for both Odyssey Cabernet and Prodigy Shiraz.”
Katnook Prodigy Shiraz 2012. RRP $100.
Prodigy is one of 65 wines listed in the ‘Excellent’ category of the Langton’s VI, Classification of Australian Wine.
The first Prodigy vintage was in 1997 from young vines and won the Jimmy Watson trophy, Melbourne Wine Show 1998. The 2012 is the 13th release.
Prodigy is crafted from small parcels of grapes harvested from sites that have consistently produced fruit of outstanding depth of fruit flavour, excellent colour and firm tannin structure.
James Halliday rated this wine 96 points saying, " Prodigy marches to the tune of its own drum, and practice has long since made perfect. Despite all the winemaking and time spent in oak, it has retained balance, emerging at the end of the process as elegant, the tannins supple, the wine fresh.” (Australian Wine Companion 2017).
Grape Variety 100% Shiraz
Region 100% Coonawarra
Harvested 20th – 22nd March 2012
Analyses pH 3.39, Acidity 6.1g/L, Alc/vol. 14.5%
Cellaring Potential 10 to 15 years
Oak maturation 25 months in 225L barriques in new and 2 year old French, as well as new American oak.
Andrew Caillard MW reviewed the Prodigy Shiraz style at www.langtons.com.au as follows:
Katnook Estate Prodigy Shiraz, first made in 1997 by senior winemaker Wayne Stehbens, comprises select parcels of the best fruit from the estate’s 26 hectares of mature Shiraz vineyards. The vines, established in the mid-1990s and planted at 1.5 metre intervals in rows two metres apart, are anchored in classic terra rossa soils over limestone and transitional dark clays. Low crop yields are achieved by precise canopy management, hand-pruning, bunch-thinning and shoot-removal. Organic principles are increasingly followed. The wine is small-batch vinified in open fermenters, basket-pressed and then matured in new (up to 100%) French and American oak barriques for 24 - 28 months. Katnook Estate Prodigy Shiraz typically shows intense raspberry and plum aromas, generous, pure-fruit flavours and underlying liquorice spice with finely-grained tannins and plenty of flavour length.
Katnook Odyssey Cabernet Sauvignon 2012. RRP $100.
Odyssey is one of 52 wines listed in the ‘Outstanding’ category of the Langton’s VI, Classification of Australian Wine.
First vintage was in 1991. Accolades include the Frescobaldi Trophy and Best Australian Red at the 2003 International Wine and Spirit Competition for the 1998 vintage.
Rated 95 points by James Halliday, who described it as “Hyper-intense, full-bodied cabernet varietal fruit is beyond the normal Odyssey style, but none the worse (indeed better) for that; blackcurrant and bay leaf, plus notes of tar, race along the palate, barely checking their momentum on the finish and aftertaste. Drink by 2037.” (Australian Wine Companion 2017).
Grape Variety 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Region 100% Coonawarra
Harvested 8th – 13th April 2012
Analyses pH 3.4, Acidity 6.99g/L, Alc/vol. 14.5%
Cellaring Potential 15 to 18 years
Oak maturation 13 months in 50% French (10% new) and 50% older American oak barriques
Andrew Caillard MW reviewed the Odyssey style at www.langtons.com.au as follows:
The concentrated and powerful Odyssey is selected from the most outstanding parcels of intense Cabernet fruit from specific vineyard rows planted on rich, clay, terra rossa loams over a thick, hard layer of limestone. After vinification in small-batch fermenters, maturation takes place over 30 to 40 months in a combination of new French and American barriques. Some parcels are ‘double-oaked’ to increase flavour complexity. The maturation regime is intuitive to the character of the vintage. Stehbens describes the overall style as ‘a wine with ripe, rich fruit combined with complex oak and barrel-matured flavours’. This highly-prized Coonawarra wine is a benchmark style with beautifully intense, pure, blackcurrant aromas, mocha oak complexity, superb volume and dense, chocolaty tannins. The Odyssey verges on the ‘essence-of-Coonawarra’ style yet manages to achieve remarkable balance and minerality.”
Katnook Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2013. RRP $40.
Stehbens describes the 2013 vintage as “One of the earliest starts and finishes on record - slightly warmer than normal, very dry but without the extreme heat experienced in many other parts of Australia. From a grape ripening view point that was ideal. Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon were the stars.”
Katnook Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is one of 65 wines listed in the ‘Excellent’ category of the Langton’s VI, Classification of Australian Wine.
Winner of 4 silver medals at leading international wine competitions.
Sarah Ahmed, Decanter Magazine (UK), September 2016 gave this wine 93 points, describing it as ‘Heady with a rich burnish of charry, spicy oak to its cassis and juicier mulberry and blackberry. Long, with ripe but textural gravelly tannins. Drink: 2016-2028.’
Andrew Caillard MW reviewed this wine style at www.langtons.com.au as follows:
‘The wine is matured in new (30-40%) and seasoned French oak for 22 to 24 months. Varietal definition and regional expression are captured through meticulous selection of vineyard components, instinctive use of oak maturation and skilful blending. The wine typically shows intense blackcurrant and mulberry aromas, generous pure-fruit flavours, finely-grained tannins, underlying mocha notes, plenty of flavour length and great aging potential.’
Availability. Selected Dan Murphy’s and Vintage Cellars Australia wide stock Odyssey, Prodigy and Katnook Estate Cabernet Sauvignon.
Distribution. Australian distributors for Katnook wines are:
NSW, VIC, QLD Fesq and Co. Tel. 1300 763 377.
SA Muster Wine Co. Tel. 0430 360 650.
WA Off the Vine. Tel. 08 9418 8210.