You know a winery is serious about “terroir” when they print the Google Earth coordinates of the particular block each wine comes from on the front label!
The Lane Vineyard, arguably the Adelaide Hills’ most picturesque vineyard, prides itself on creating wines that display their sense of place.
And it’s a very special place indeed!
Last year John Edwards, who founded the winery with his wife Helen, reminisced about their decision 22 years ago to buy a 70 ha cattle grazing property high in the Adelaide Hills overlooking the Onkaparinga Valley: “We’re so blessed to have bought this block rather than the one across the road. This is the gem, the one with the minerals, the rolling slopes and the beauty. This is the piece of dirt that gives us the edge.” (Keys to the Lane: Meet the New Faces of an Adelaide Icon by Anthony Madigan, Wine Business Monthly, April 2014)
Today, day-to-day management of The Lane Vineyard has passed to John and Helen’s sons, Marty Edwards and Ben Tolstoshev, with Marty in charge of viticulture and Ben in charge of marketing. Recently Ben gave a masterclass on the wines at Different Drop’s new warehouse premises in Ultimo.
I don’t think I was the only one in Ben’s audience who was more familiar with the winery’s stunning restaurant than the wines themselves. (The restaurant is consistently rated one of the best in South Australia). But with Ben and Marty at the helm, both passionate and eloquent advocates for their brand, I’m sure we’ll be hearing a lot more about these impressive hand-crafted wines.
The Lane Beginning Chardonnay 2005, for example, was a beautiful reminder of how wonderfully Australian chardonnay can age when well-made. The wine had an enticing bouquet of toasty notes with a hint of butterscotch. Its deliciously textural mouthfeel was balanced by fresh, pure fruit flavours and a clean line of minerally acidity.
Another favourite was the aromatic 2013 The Lane Basket Pressed Block 14 Shiraz (rrp $39), which had a complex bouquet of plum fruit accented with spicy and peppery notes. On the palate the vibrant dark stone fruit flavours were balanced with supple yet elegant tannins.
Block 14 is the winery’s highest and most exposed site. Here porous soils encourage the roots to grow deep, and the windy conditions create chicken and egg like berries that must be hand-sorted to ensure that only the ripest berries are used.
Ben explained that making shiraz from these cool climate sites is a labour of love for winemaker Michael Schreurs, who was former head winemaker at Henschke. Fortunately Shreurs’ passion and drive are supported by a family-run enterprise committed to bringing out the best in their very prized terroir.
by Merrill Witt, Editor