Tag: Wendouree Shiraz

Apr 04 2012

Wendouree: The Collector’s Wine

Posted on April 04, 2012 | By merrill@cellarit.com

When I was researching this post on Wendouree, I came across an article in the Wine Spectator about a very successful Houston heart surgeon who had built an impressive wine collection. Of particular pride for the collector was a substantial vertical collection of Wendouree reds – 90 bottles from 1990 to 2003. (The Pulse of a Collector: A surgeon builds a cellar that would get anyone’s heart racing by Jennifer Fielder, Wine Spectator, 30 June 2007)

The article brought back memories of a collection I once inventoried for another doctor. He also had a passion for Wendouree verticals.  Both doctors created their cellars for long-term drinking pleasure. As the heart surgeon explained, “There’s no wine I buy for investment purposes. They are made to enjoy, not just to look at like trophies on the wall.”

The decision to buy multiple vintages of the Wendouree range may also have a little bit to do with keeping your place on the winery’s coveted mailing list. (No easy task!) Wendouree proprietors Tony and Lity Brady only sell wine via their mailing list. Allocations are strictly limited and prices are deliberately kept at reasonable levels. Few customers pass up the opportunity to take what’s on offer!

The Bradys see themselves as custodians of a priceless treasure. Many of the vines on the 28 acre Clare Valley property date back to 1892. The beautiful historic stone winery is also over 100 years old.

The Bradys purchased “A.P. Birks Wendouree” (the full name, as it still appears on the label) in 1974 and have limited production to straight varietals or blends of shiraz, malbec, mataro, cabernet sauvignon, and a dessert muscat of Alexander.

The wines are meant for the cellar – one of the main reasons why collectors hold onto their verticals.  As wine writer … Read the rest

Dec 12 2010

Australia’s Old Vine Wines

Posted on December 12, 2010 | By merrill@cellarit.com

The list of acclaimed wines made from old vines in Australia are many and would include, to name a few, such renowned names as Henschke Hill of Grace, Rockford Basket Press Shiraz, Torbreck RunRig, Wendouree Shiraz, Chris Ringland Shiraz, Clarendon Hill AstralisD’Arengberg The Dead Arm and Yalumba The Octavius Barossa Old Vine Shiraz.

So what makes old vine wine so special? Matt Kramer of the Wine Spectator addressed this very question in his article If it Says “Old Vine,” Will You Buy?: The benefits of old vines are debatable, particularly to those who don’t have them, 15 June 2010.  “Of all the many ambiguities of wine”, Kramer said, ” ‘old vines’ seems to be one of the more troublesome. Every grower I’ve met, everywhere in the world, who has old vines insists that older vines are better. Yet I’ve met a fair number of growers who suggest that “old-vine admiration” is, if not bunk, then certainly overstated and overrated. Not coincidentally, these same scoffers are not in possession of old vines.”

Before launching into a discussion about the merits of older vines over their younger counterparts, here’s a few points about old vines that are beyond dispute.

Old Vines are Fairly Unique

Wine-making is thousands of years old but surprisingly old vines, or at least the really old vines of 60 to 100+ years, are in fact not that common. Their scarcity is due to a number of factors, but most importantly is a consequence of the damage caused by the vine destroying Phylloxera louse, which at the turn of the 20th century wiped out vine stocks throughout Europe and especially in the wine-making centre of France.

Fortunately, Australia was spared the full force of the Phylloxera curse. Phylloxera hit Victoria and New South … Read the rest