Winemaker Clare Dry’s influence shows in this latest annual Seppelt luxury release.
When I was growing up, there were only a few wine brands with which I was familiar.
Seppelt was one of them.
But I had always primarily associated it with the Barossa and, it was only when driving from Adelaide to Melbourne, I discovered another Seppelt at Great Western in Victoria.
As I said, it was a long time ago.
Now it is this Seppelt that has always held a special fascination.
The place itself, which dates to the 19th century and still makes wine, is steeped in history but it is the distinctive and individual wines that have captivated from the start.
The annual Seppelt luxury release features four wines and each holds a special place for me for a combination of history, individuality, class and style.
The new release also shows the influence of current winemaker Clare Dry.
The St Peters Shiraz 2021 was the first that Ms Dry had made, and it’s turned out to be a beauty.
It is a distinctive wine that captures much of the regional and vineyard characters and presents in a slightly atypical, Australian way.
It remains one of my favourite annual shiraz releases.
But it is also one of the more opulent St Peters wines, with a smooth plushness that reflects a subtle change in wine-making approach.
“I’m really pleased with the result, the use of large format oak to mature the blend allowed the open weave of the mid-palate to come together while smaller format oak highlighted and lengthened the tannin structure on the finish,” Ms Dry said.
Then there are the wines from Drumborg.
This super cool vineyard can be bitingly cold and challenging to farm, yet the rieslings and chardonnays from there can be very good.
The austere fine riesling is an Australian classic while the evolving chardonnay is fast emerging.
The latest Seppelt Drumborg chardonnay 2022 is one of the best.
It captures the pristine fruit from this vineyard, which was largely planted for sparkling base, so the naturally high acidity contributes greatly to the fine linear style.
It’s a combination of different clones, which gets full malolactic fermentation to counter the high acidity, and then regular lees stirring.
The malo is a departure from previously and, while adding texture, it still does not compromise the linear purity of the vineyard.
And, finally, the Show Sparkling shiraz 2012.
This is a wine that makes grown wine people weak at the knees.
It’s aged in bottle for nine years after tirage, allowing the deeply complex flavours to develop.
It is a distinctly Australian creation that is like no other on the planet. It’s made largely as they make sparkling white wine but with rich and ripe shiraz.
I love it when young but its true greatness comes with age and, having tasted them back to the 1940s, I can assure you it would be one of the great tasting experiences if you get chance.
If you are both young enough and disciplined enough, you can keep these wines 20 or 30 years without a problem.
This is the perfect wine for a hot, dry Christmas Day with a hot, dry turkey.
Drink the wine and spit the turkey is my suggestion.
Seppelt Drumborg Vineyard chardonnay 2022 ($40)
The pristine cool climate of Drumborg has contributed to this precise linear chardonnay. Precise and linear it might be but there’s plenty of winemaking in here to get the best from this beautiful fruit. Whole bunch pressed and barrel fermented with full solids and 100 per cent malolactic fermentation. The lees were stirred once a month and the oak was about 25 per cent new French. Fragrant lemon pith and lime with a little cut pear and white nectarine. There is power and drive in the palate, which is so precise and linear with slightly pebbly minerality. Love it.
Cellar: Eight years
Seppelt St Peters Exceptional Vineyard Grampians shiraz 2021 ($80)
The structure of this Great Western-sourced shiraz follows previous years but the fruit shows slightly more opulence and density. The colour is so deep and dark. The nose has a peppery, chalky minerality with spices and perfumed blue fruits. There is awesome power in the palate, with a dense and concentrated profile of dark and smoothly plush blackberry fruits, some black olive, dark chocolate and a liberal dusting of spices. A little cordite on the finish and there you have it, another masterpiece from one of the great vineyards.
Cellar: 30 years
Seppelt Show Sparkling Limited Release shiraz 2012 ($100)
The are few wines as so individually Australian as this sparkling shiraz; mad in the traditional methode champenois way. The colour is deep garnet and blackish red. The nose bursts with a peppery black cherry and dark chocolate character; things you find always in this wine. Then the palate delivers again, picking up on the chocolaty dark cherry and plummy blackberry notes. A little bit of spice and savoury leather adds further complexity. This has nine years on lees before disgorging and, guess what, you would think it was only made yesterday.
Cellar: 40 years
- Ray Jordan is one of Australia’s most experienced and respected wine journalists, contributing to newspapers and magazines over more than 40 years. In 2017 he co-authored The Way it Was: The History of the early years of the Margaret River Wine Region