Hand-selected wines from 500+
Australian wineries delivered to your door!

Alert

The maximum quantity permitted for this item is , if you wish to purchase more please call 1300 303 307
Wine

Dream Vertical With Tahbilk

Most can appreciate that survival in the wine game is no walk in the park. Exposure to the vagaries of weather, economics, politics and trends are all factors that can sink a wine business quicker than you can grow a vine. Despite that, Australia’s wine industry is filled with impressive stories of families going into business, surviving decades, flourishing and producing beautiful liquid all the way.

The story of the Purbrick family is one and the 150+years they celebrate goes beyond impressive and lands somewhere in the inspirational ball-park. Tahbilk is an Australian success story that is not talked about enough and whilst they were anointed ‘winery of the year’ by Halliday recently, the family’s contribution to the Australian Wine landscape is sadly underrated.

It could be the ebb and flow of wine fashion, but rarely do you read or hear that the Purbrick family are the custodians of the oldest and largest holdings of Marsanne on the planet. The family could have quite easily shifted their focus to Sauv Blanc during the 1990s and chased profit, but they stayed the course, realising the importance of the long game, heritage and just how glorious Marsanne can be.

From their entry level wines to the complexity of the 1927 Vines, the Tahbilk Marsanne is world beating and they have been making it for well over a century. As part of the celebrations of the 150th release of their 1860 Vines Shiraz, Wine Selectors Tasting Panellist Adam Walls and myself travelled to Tahbilk and joined 4th Generation CEO and Chief Winemaker Alister Purbrick for a tasting to explore and revel in this Australian wine treasure.

A special place

Tahbilk is located along the Goulburn River within a mosaic of billabongs, creeks, waterholes and wetlands that in turn create a special meso-climate that is cooler and milder than that of the surrounding area.

The sandy loam soil contains a high concentration of ferric-oxide that imparts unique characters in the wines and manifest themselves in different ways across their impressive range, particularly Marsanne and Shiraz.

The vertical begins

We started the tasting with 1927 Vines Marsanne and the bracket, dating back to 1998, reinforced how delicious these wines are. Picked young with relatively low acidity, the fruit is allowed to oxidise and then is pressed. The free-run is simply fermented, producing a fairly neutral wine that, like Riesling, develops its characters in the bottle.

The younger wines have aromas of beeswax, lanolin and spiced lemon curd, whilst on the palate they are soft and elegant with citrus cream, minerals and apples. As these wine age, all the flavours and aromas remain, but they deepen and as each year passes, they develop layers of beguiling flavours. Standouts were the 2005, the 2000 and the 1999, but all were unique and special.

Next came Shiraz, one of the first varieties planted at Tahbilk in 1860. Half a hectare of those gnarled, resilient old vines have survived and become some of the oldest pre-phelloxera Shiraz in the world. Accordingly, this glorious plot is recognised as one the 25 great vineyards of the world. When the vintage conditions are perfect, the fruit from these vines becomes the Purbrick family flagship ‘1860 vines’ Shiraz.

This four-wine bracket was a true celebration of history and it was hard to fathom that as these vines were just sprouting, the foundations were being laid for what still remains today as the operating winery and cellar.

Critics greater than I have rated the Tahbilk 1860 Vines Shiraz amongst the world’s great reds and I have to agree. Earthy, old-school aromas billow out of the glass and manifest as complex and bright red and black fruits laced with spices and herbs. In the mouth, the experience is almost overpowering - intense but elegantly balanced fruit lines driven by cherry and blackberry.

The 1860 Shiraz, just like the vines that they come from, are made to last and reflect winemaking that has changed little since Alister’s grandfather Eric Stevens was at the helm.

A Tribute

Eric’s 45-year influence on Tahbilk and the wider industry is commemorated by the family renaming the Reserve and Special Bin wines after him in 2002. Alister took us through a bracket of Eric Stevens Shiraz and Cabernet dating back to 1994. These wines reflect the traditional red winemaking method upheld by Alister and his team, despite the multitudes of modern winemaking techniques now available.

Oxidative, open fermentation in 100+ year-old vats, maturation in French oak and bottle ageing in the cellar before eventual release allows the wines to express the age of their source material and the vineyard without complication.

Overall, the resulting Shiraz is succulent and distinctive with rustic blue and red fruits flanked with an elegant weight and mouthfeel. Also made to last, these wines showed greater width of style across vintages and locking down favourites was tough. Adam was wowed by the 2002 for its balance, stage of life and attractive power to finesse ratio. Alister would not be drawn on his preference, but I loved the 2006 for its elegance, savoury earthy characters and superfine tannins.

After a small tour through the historical winery and cellar, we tasted the Cabernet bracket and the wines were as distinctive and interesting as the previous Shiraz line up. Mid-weighted and soft, these Cabernets have true varietal shape with glorious and often regal flavours ranging from blackcurrant and cassis to game, spice and chocolate. The fruit comes from 35+ year-old vines and the wines are extremely age worthy. The 1994, for example, was still fresh and juicy with the aged characters rounding out into a stately and appealing wine. Favourites were the 2005 for its earthy brew of sour cherries, plum and herbs, the 2002 for its youthful juiciness and the 2008 because of its attractive mix of sour fruit, cherry and cinnamon.

The Tahbilk Legacy

As Alister reflected on this special tasting, it became clear that the weight of history and the burden that comes with a legacy such as Tahbilk’s is very real. Winemakers are passionate people and like Alister, will always be driven by the need to improve and grow on what has come before. Alister’s impact on improving the finesse and quality of Tahbilk’s wines is demonstratively obvious.

What is less obvious, but just as important, is the respect he shows for the roadwork his father, grandfather and great grandfather laid out.

It would appear that this love for Tahbilk’s legacy is set to continue, with Alister’s daughter Hayley now driving her contribution to the business. Hayley’s focus is sustainability and since starting to work for Tahbilk in 2009, she has championed and developed a certified Carbon Neutral program that stretches across the whole business: the vineyard, production, bottling, admin, wine club and the management of the wetlands that shape the Tahbilk biosphere.

Hayley, like the Purbricks before her, clearly understands how valuable the Tahbilk contribution is to the Australian wine story.

On paper it provides depth and breadth to a relatively young industry with few long term players.

But, with wine, it’s what is in the glass that counts and Tahbilk’s wines easily rate amongst the best Australia can produce.

You might also like

Wine
Hunter Valley Legends Awards
Congratulations to all of the winners of the recent 2016 Hunter Valley Legends Awards. Now in its 10th year, the awards paid homage to the 2016 Hunter Valley Living Legend, Alain Le Prince who has contributed over 40 years to the local wine industry. Alain now joins a highly respected group that also includes Wine Selectors’ Tasting Panel co-Chairmen Karl Stockhausen and Phil Ryan. This year the design of the Hunter Valley Legends wine label was opened to the students of the University of Newcastle Design School with the winning label and packaging also announced at the Hunter Valley Legends Awards ceremony - the winner was Daniel Smith. The Chardonnay , Semillon and Shiraz under this new look label will be available later this year exclusively from Wine Selectors. Other winners included: Liz Jackson, chief winemaker for First Creek Wines and Silkman Wines was named the 2016 Hunter Valley Winemaker of the Year. This is the second time Liz has taken out the award – she also won the title in 2011. De Iuliis Wines was named 2016 Hunter Valley Cellar Door of the Year, Paul Harvey from Mount Pleasant Wines won 2016 Viticulturist of the Year, and 2016 Rising Star of the Year went to Belinda Paterson of The Sebel Kirton Park. Don’t forget the Hunter Valley Wine and Food Festival continues through June with even more fantastic events. Visitors can explore a host of exciting hands-on experiences like wine master classes hosted by leading winemakers, wine blending classes, vineyard tours, cooking lessons, degustation dinners, long lunches, fireside indulgences and much, much more.
Wine
Masters of Riesling - Jim Barry Wines
We caught up with second generation winemaker Peter Barry, whose stunning Jim Barry The Lodge Riesling 2015 from the Clare Valley is the Wine of the Month for August. What makes the Clare Valley such a special grape growing wine region? The Clare Valley is such a special grape growing region due to the warm days and cool nights which allow grapes to ripen fully but retain natural acidity and hence freshness. The undulating hills provide many aspects so we can grow Riesling, Shiraz and Cabernet on different slopes of the same vineyard. What are some of the winemaking challenges it presents? The major winemaking challenge in Riesling is sunburn, which can be mitigated by canopy management to ensure no fruit is exposed to direct sunlight. For red wine, it is about picking at the right time to achieve a balance between ripeness and acid without the grapes becoming over ripe. What have been some of Jim Barry Wines’ greatest achievements in recent years? We’ve had great success, but some of the standouts include: Mathew Jukes Australian Winery of the year for 2016. Trophy for 2016 Lodge Hill Riesling at the 2016 Royal Sydney Wine Show Trophy for Barry Brothers Shiraz Cabernet for 2013 as the Brisbane and Melbourne Wine Shows, as well as Trophy in Brisbane for the 2014 vintage. Trophy for best producer at the Clare Valley Wine Show for five of the past six vintages. Also we’re very proud to have introduced the Greek variety of Assyrtiko to Australia. Can you sum up your experience of the 2016 vintage in a few words? Good rains in January hydrated very thirsty vines, leading to an exceptional vintage. When Jim Barry purchased the Lodge Hill vineyard in 1977 he was confident it would “produce some of the best Riesling in Clare”. What did he see that was so special about this vineyard? Three things. Elevation which leads to cooler night and better acid retention in Riesling, rocky/slatey soil meaning the vines have to send their roots deep into the ground in search of moisture and many aspects to suit Riesling, Shiraz and Cabernet. The Jim Barry The Lodge Hill Riesling 2015 is the Wine Selectors Wine of the Month for August. What makes this a standout expression of the variety? The 2015 The Lodge Hill Riesling shows the perfect balance between ripe flavours, acidity and minerality. We matched it with Thai pork salad in our 2016 calendar. What is your favourite food match with this wine? With its natural acidity and zesty citrus, Riesling is the perfect match for spicy Asian food. Having said that, The Lodge Hill is absolutely delicious with a simple plate of freshly shucked oysters with finger lime.
Wine
Discover the distinction of the Henschke family
The Wine Selectors Wine of the Month for June is the Henschke Henry’s Seven Shiraz Blend 2013. The Henschkes, one of Australia’s most successful wine dynasties, are six generations strong with fifth generation winemaker Stephen and his viticulturist wife Prue at the helm and the sixth generation – Johann (winemaker), Justine (marketing and public relations manager) and Andreas (Henschke ambassador) – all involved. Henry’s Seven The Tasting Panel chose the Henry’s Seven to match with nonya style chicken thanks to its savoury nuances of rosemary, sage, pepper and anise, which match perfectly to the spicy, fragrant characters of the dish. To this Stephen adds, “Our deep garnet coloured Shiraz blend from the Barossa is a perfect winter warmer in June with its plush texture and fine, velvety tannins.” A few of Justine’s favourite things As you can imagine, the Henschkes live and breathe wine, but, of course, there’s more to the family than grapes and ferments. So to help you get to know one of the faces behind the name, we quizzed Justine Henschke on eight of her favourite things. Of course, if you want to find out why Justine thinks her family’s region is so perfect for grape-growing, check out the video chat we had with her. 1. Book Coco Chanel by Justine Picardie. I love to read biographies, and read this a number of times to prepare for an internship with the company. 2. Movie Erin Brockovich – a dramatization of a true story. Julia Roberts plays a sassy American legal clerk and environmental activist. I enjoy all of her films. 3. TV show Game of Thrones . It’s just…so…shocking that it’s addictive. The creators really know how to construct a cliff-hanger. 4. Restaurant Matt Moran and Peter Sullivan’s Chiswick in Woollahra, Sydney. I lived across the road for a little while. It was dangerous! 5. Breakfast That Little Place, Stockwell, Barossa – it has only recently opened and does great coffee and nourishing food. 6. Lunch Artisans of the Barossa Harvest Kitchen – the ‘Feed Me Menu’ is the way to go. 7. Dinner FermentAsian – for Tuoi’s Vietnamese and Thai cooking using local produce and Grant’s extensive wine list. They’ve created a warm atmosphere and offer something a little different, which the Barossa has certainly embraced. 8. Time of day/night Sunset. Who doesn’t enjoy that time of the day when you can finally wind down with a glass of wine? And even better when you can find yourself a great view. Watch our exclusive video interview with Justine Henschke talking about the magic of the Eden Valley.
Two Blues Sauvignon Blanc 2014
1 case has been added to your cart.
Cart total: xxx
1 case, 12 bottles, 3 accessories