Wine aside, a big part of the Barossa’s appeal is its history. Since settlement in 1842, many names have added character to that history and Grant Burge is one that we can still taste and connect to today.
Grant Burge is a name that stands confidently with the icons of Australian wine. That this has happened in just over three decades is remarkable. When you look back, however, it becomes clear that this success is no accident.
The Burge name and the Barossa Valley share a history that goes back to 1855 when John Burge, his wife Eliza, and sons Meshach and Henry arrived from England. Meshach’s son Percival established a winery just outside the southern parish of Lyndoch and the Burge wine story began to take root.
Percival’s son Colin married Nancy Arthur and Grant was born. On leaving school, Nancy saw that the wine market was waning towards an un-established table wine market, and would not allow her only son to join the family business. Despite Grant’s frustration at this, he eventually established Burge and Wilson wines with Ian Wilson in McLaren Vale.
Grant and Ian ultimately took over the historic Krondorf Wines and business soon boomed from 11,000 cases per year to almost 200,000. Ian and Grant took Krondorf public and eventually Mildara bought out Grant and Ian’s Krondorf shares and Grant began to buy vineyards around the southern villages of Williamstown and Lyndoch.
In 1988, Grant established Grant Burge Wines and grew the business into an international brand producing 750,000 cases per vintage, with Grant eventually becoming one of the Barossa’s largest vineyard holders.
In 2015, Grant sold the business to Accolade Wines with his vineyards continuing to fuel the brands he created. Today, that Burge name is carried forward and driven by Chief Winemaker Craig Stansborough who, like Grant, is a Southern Barossa native, having grown up in Gawler.
Craig joined Grant in 1993 and since that time has helped the business define itself through a set of highly respected wines that primarly celebrate the Southern Barossa.
“The Southern part of the Barossa has always been underrated,” Craig explains. “Grant was a Lyndoch boy and he had a bias for this area and since the early days it’s been a big part of our style.
“The South Burge territory, 80 per cent of what we do comes from that end of the Valley, it’s always been our home and is a big part of our style, probably more than anyone else in the region.
“The south gets more rain than the rest of the valley and we tend to pick earlier. This tends to give good fruit brightness and purity without compromising density and concentration and detail in our wines without the tannin and the riper, sweeter characters that the Barossa is generally known for.”
At a special tasting of his wines stretching back almost 10 years, it is clear that his intimate understanding of the Barossa will continue to add value and credibility to this special range of wines.
To create your own Grant Burge tasting, we have put together a special collection of Grant Burge wines available in a triple pack for $93 (RRP $123, save $30) or six pack for $180 (RRP $246, save $66).
The Grant Burge Sparkling Range
The Grant Burge Sparkling range is a success story driven by consistent, affordable, high quality bubbles with stylish packaging.
The NV Sparkling Pinot Noir Chardonnay is one of the most popular in the country and is characterised by sweet green apple, biscuit, peach and lime aromatics and a tidy mix of sweet and savoury fruit.
The NV Blanc De Noirs is more complex in the mouth with aromatic undertones of biscuit, forest floor and strawberries. The NV Sparkling Rosé has delicate strawberry and green apple aromatics with a clean, focussed and balanced palate of rich strawberries and sourdough.
The Vigneron Range
The Thorn wines are classic Eden Rieslings; pure and expressive with kaffir lime, lemon and white flower aromas. The wines are concentrated, glossy and have sweet, creamy citrus flavours across a backdrop of chalk.
Hilcott is where the Barossa’s first Merlot was planted in 1982 with the 2018 and 2019 both showing great varietal character. Ripe tomato leaf, cassis and blackberry aromas push through to fine layers of sweet and savoury fruit on a velvety palate – showing just how attractive Barossa Merlot can be.
Miamba brought the Southern Barossa characteristics to the table; concentrated dark berry aromas and fruit seasoned by spice and oak, but with a line of sweet blue fruit running through. The 2016 stood out for its appealing development, silky mouthfeel and sweet lines of mulberries and plums.
Wines of Distinction at Grant Burge
The Holy Trinity GSM blend represents a step up in quality and polish. The 2014 was elegant and rounded with secondary violets and blackberries, the 2016 was still primary and fresh and the 2019 was concentrated, bright and glossy.
Planted in 1920, Filsell is regarded as one of the best vineyards in the Barossa. The wines are rich, complex and elegant with intense dark, blue-tinged fruit and chocolate aromas with medium-grained tannins and a long finish. The 2019 impressed with its mouth-watering acid and the 2013 was lively and muscular.
Intense and concentrated, the Balthasar wines hail from the elevated cool of Eden Valley and nicely define the region with their silky mouthfeel and attractive mix of spice and seasoned red and black fruit aromas. The 2016 Balthasar was dense and lifted and the 2019 was fine, sweet and youthful.
Corryton Park is considered one of the Barossa’s most beautiful vineyards and its beauty translates neatly into the wines, producing incredible Cabernet. Sophisticated, elegant and concentrated, these wines represent incredible value. The 2019 was a standout, pushing a seductive mix of pure Cabernet aromatics; tomato leaf, mint, cigar-box and chocolate that pushed neatly to a polished palate of sweet and savoury cassis and blackberries.
Grant Burge Icon Wines
Like its Holy Trinity brethren, Abednego GSM is built to last. The 2018 was fresh and glossy, the 2016 was juicy and fine and the 2014 stood out with delicious choc-tinged fruits driven by a soft, round mouthfeel.
Nebu is a classic Australian Cabernet Shiraz blend and is an abundant and elegant cellaring prospect. The 2016 showed full-bodied plums, blackberries and mocha, and the 2018 had a powerful and glossy palate stacked with redcurrants, plums, blackberries and chocolate tinged with vanilla.
Meshach is the Grant Burge rock star and nothing is spared in the making of this wine. The 2016 vintage’s power-to-weight is balanced with its concentration and winemaking polish and there is noticeable restraint stitching everything together that is hard not to be wowed by.
Shadrach is Cabernet’s answer to Shiraz’s Meshach; glorious power, weight and intensity matched with poise and attention to detail. The 2013 has a defined core of sweet blackberries, tannin balance and length and the 2016 is a still a baby, showing a tightly wound, earth-tinged blackberry core that has an exciting future.
Lastly we journeyed through the Barossa’s past via a trio of classic regional fortified. The Aged Tawny was smooth and rich with a nice array of spicy boiled cake fruit flavours. The 10-year-old Muscat was glorious with rich caramel and raisin quality. Finally, the Black Apera, driven by Spain’s Pedro Ximénez, delivered rich and rounded layers of toffee, treacle and Christmas Cake.
All of these wines are more-ish and reinforce why Grant Burge’s name, with its history, focus and experience, is up there with those of our country’s most respected.