The Anniversary Collection: Celebrating milestones in Australian wine
The story of Australian wine spans the centuries, and is populated by names that not only pioneered the craft in this country, but that continue to shape its future today – think of Best’s Great Western and Mount Pleasant, and the immeasurable influence they’ve had.
Alongside them are those that have followed in the footsteps of giants, building their own legacies, carving their own paths toward the making of award-winning wines – names like Alkoomi, Brand’s Laira, Pepper Tree Wines, and Howard Park.
Join us as we catch up with these greats, sharing a little of their journey with us and celebrating their respective milestones, in an occasion 400 years in the making!
MOUNT PLEASANT… CELEBRATING 100 YEARS OF WINEMAKING MAGIC
Above: Legendary founder and chief winemaker Maurice O’Shea samples the progress of a Mount Pleasant red.
Founded by the legendary Maurice O’Shea in 1921, Mount Pleasant has been one of the most enduring names in Australian wine. Present Chief Winemaker Adrian Sparks in part attributes the rise of modern Australian winemaking to O’Shea’s genius.
“At a time when most Australians were drinking beer and fortified wine, the Mount Pleasant winery showed Australian producers what was possible with table wine.” For its 100th anniversary celebrations, Spark says Mount Pleasant is planning a year-long celebration with commemorative wines scheduled for release, events and competitions. “We can’t wait to pay tribute to the incredible journey Maurice O’Shea commenced 100 years ago with Mount Pleasant.”
Featured in our Anniversary Collection are the Mount Pleasant High Paddock Shiraz, and the Mount Pleasant Marrowbone Road Fiano, both from the outstanding 2018 vintage. The former is a quality Hunter Shiraz that is classy and delicious from start to finish, while the Fiano is a fine new addition to the Mount Pleasant range.
PEPPER TREE… CELEBRATING 30 YEARS OF GROWTH
Since 1991, Pepper Tree Wines has dedicated itself to the art of making consistently great wines, growing beyond its Hunter Valley roots to oversee a further three vineyards in choice growing regions, namely Orange, Coonawarra and Wrattonbully.
The search for great soils has been the life work of owner John Davis, who Head Winemaker Gwyn Olsen credits with the success of the winery. “John has a PhD in geology, and is passionate about the soil histories of our four growing regions and how they’re evolving,” she says. Gwyn cites the founding of the Wrattonbully vineyard – and the award-winning wines that followed its planting – as among Pepper Tree’s proudest achievements.
In honour of their 30th birthday, Pepper Tree is planning a range of member events such as a special dinner at Taronga Zoo, and marking the occasion with the bottling of commemorative wines.
Featured in our Anniversary Collection are the bone-dry and delightful Pepper Tree Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2020, and the Pepper Tree Limited Release The Pebbles Shiraz Viognier 2017, a charming and complex yet silken and balanced Wrattonbully red blend.
BRAND’S LAIRA… CELEBRATING 55 YEARS OF BRILLIANCE
Custodians of some of Coonawarra’s founding vines, the Brand’s Laira legacy extends as far back as 1853. It wasn’t until 1950, however, that Eric Brand took over the Laira property, selling his fruit to other winemakers as a ‘blocker’. That all changed with his first vintage in 1966, the first step in establishing Brand’s Laira as a true powerhouse in Australian wine.
When asked what it is about the Brand’s Laira story that makes it unique in Australian wine, Chief Winemaker Peter Weinberg waxes lyrical. “Like Captain Henry Stentiford, who first planted vines here in the late 19th century, we’re sage explorers, driven by a sense of adventure.” And the wines? “Like hidden gems waiting to be unearthed by those with a like-minded curiosity to step off the beaten track.”
He’s not wrong. Featured in the Anniversary Collection are the rich and ripe Brand’s Laira Blockers Chardonnay 2019, and the vibrant, Gold medal-winning Blockers Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 – a legendary Coonawarra Cabernet in every sense.
ALKOOMI… CELEBRATING 50 YEARS AS THE CHOSEN PLACE
From humble beginnings with its first Frankland River plantings in 1971, Alkoomi has grown to become one of Western Australia’s largest family-owned and operated wineries, proving over and over again the greatness of Great Southern wine.
Named after an indigenous term meaning ‘a place we chose’, Alkoomi’s impact on the evolution of Western Australian wine cannot be overstated. “We’re proud to follow on the legacy of my parents, Merv and Judy, and the hard work they put in as some of the founders of the Frankland River wine region,” says Sandy Hallett, CEO and owner. “It’s our passion and we simply love what we do and how we do it.”
Perfectly capturing the particular charm of Frankland River, Alkoomi’s Gold medal-winning Black Label Riesling and the complex, powerful and refined Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon – both from the 2019 vintage – are superb additions to the Anniversary Collection.
BEST’S GREAT WESTERN… CELEBRATING 155 YEARS OF TWO GREAT FAMILIES
Founded in 1866 Best’s Great Western is one of the Australian wine’s most legendary producers. With a historic collection of some of the country’s oldest and most significant vineyards their legacy of crafting wines of elegance and longevity endures.
“Best’s is the story of seven generation across two families, and of the winemaking traditions handed down through those generations,” says Ben Thomson, Best’s Managing Director and Vineyard Manager. “Not only are we celebrating 155 years since the establishment of Concongella by Henry Best, but last year also marked the 100th anniversary of the Thomson family purchasing Best’s Wines from his son Charles.”
Included in our Anniversary Collection are two great examples of Best’s consummate skill in winemaking, the delicious Euro-style Best’s Great Western Rosé 2017, and the rich, flavoursome Best’s Great Western Cabernet Sauvignon 2019.
HOWARD PARK… CELEBRATING 35 YEARS OF PURSUING PERFECTION
Pioneers of Western Australian wine since 1986, Howard Park is committed to hand-crafting regional expressions that reveal the terroir of the Great Southern and Margaret River regions at their very best, using only the finest parcels of fruit from their four vineyards.
“It all begins in the vineyard,” says Natalie Burch, General Manager of Howard Park. “It’s rare to be both a grower and producer in our two regions, but having pristine fruit is a core belief for our family.” To mark the occasion of their 35th birthday, the family will be lunching and celebrating with some old wines from the cellar, as well as some exciting new releases. “There’ll definitely be a toast to Leston!” says Natalie, referring to her grandfather, who pioneered the family love for winemaking.
Leston’s name lives on in the Howard Park Leston Shiraz 2016, a well-crafted, Gold medal-winning wine featured in the Anniversary Collection alongside the Howard Park Miamup Chardonnay 2018 – both true expressions of Margaret River winemaking.