In Food + Drink

New And Notable: Australian Wine Labels To Know

Wine lovers enjoy nothing more than being the first in their group of friends to discover an exciting new wine producer. There are dozens of new labels introduced each year but only a few have the plus factor that make them worth the effort of tracking down.

Here’s the lowdown on six of the hottest new Australian wine labels that will delight you – and put you ahead of the crowd. You’ll be the envy of your wine-loving friends.

Atze’s Corner

Australian wine labels

Image: Atze’s Corner / supplied

The first Kalleske family members arrived in the Barossa Valley in 1847 and various branches of the family have been involved in grape growing and the wine industry ever since.

The newest Kalleske venture is Atze’s Corner, which produces wines made from shiraz, mataro, graciano, petite syrah/durif, montepulciano, grenache, cabernet sauvignon and vermentino.

The family recently opened a cellar door which offers views over the valley along with tastings and produce platters.

Atze’s is run by sixth-generation Barossa vigneron Andrew Kalleske and the fruit used includes grapes from vines dating back to 1912.

Minimal intervention practices in the winery include using open, small-batch fermentation, hand plunging and pumping, gentle oak maturation and minimal filtration. The wines have a delicious savoury element.

Mewstone Wines/Hughes & Hughes

Australian wine labels

Image: Hughes & Hughes / supplied

Well-travelled winemaker Jonny Hughes and his brother Matthew are based in the hamlet of Flowerpot in the Channel region south of Hobart, but source fruit from all over Tasmania. Their small-batch wines tend be made with minimal intervention.

Last year the brothers were named Best New Act in the national Young Guns of Wine awards and best newcomers in the James Halliday Wine annual.

While the Mewstone wines are strictly produced from the Flowerpot vineyard, the Hughes & Hughes range of wines brings together fruit sourced from around Tasmania, with the aim of producing wines that are high on both natural acidity and drinkability.

In addition, individual small batches are released that capture the results of investigations into the use of skins, stalks, solids and other fermentation variables. All Hughes & Hughes wines are bottled unfined and with low sulphur.

Minimum Wines

Australian wine labels

Image: Minimum Wines / Clare Martin Lapworth

Alister Purbrick, who owns venerable Victorian winery Tahbilk, has teamed with his son and daughter-in-law Matt and Lentil Purbrick to launch a new natural wine label, Minimum.

Minimum is designed to focus on minimum intervention wines, natural growing principles and sustainability from vineyard to the bottle. Its initial offering features three wines: a 2018 Sangiovese Syrah, a 2018 Chardonnay and a 2019 Sangiovese Rosato.

In preparation for launching Minimum, the Purbricks have spent the past two years converting a 125-acre vineyard on the Goulburn River to organic, with full certification expected in 2020. They employed minimum intervention practices at every stage of the natural winemaking.

“Minimum is about enjoying the good life, but not at the expense of the environment,” says Matt Purbrick. He uses organic grapes, wild and cultivated biodynamic yeasts, and minimal sulphur.

Liz Heidenreich Wines

Australian wine labels

Image: Liz Heidenreich Wines / supplied

For the past 13 years, Liz Heidenreich has been the winemaker at Sevenhill Cellars, the Jesuit-owned winery in the Clare Valley. Before that, she did four vintages as winemaker for British pop star Sir Cliff Richard’s Vida Nova brand.

Now Heidenreich, whose family have grown wine grapes since 1936, has struck out on her own with three releases under her own label, a bold Barossa shiraz, a Barossa grenache and a Clare Valley riesling.

“My philosophy is to source small parcels of fruit from the regions in which they excel and handcraft individual batches that capture the fruit’s formidable character,” she says.

”I’m really pleased that this new venture recognises my family’s long association with the Barossa Valley and their involvement in grape-growing and winemaking.”

Heidenreich is also moonlighting as consultant winemaker for Peter Teakle Wines at Port Lincoln.

Lost Farm Wines  

Australian wine labels

Image: Lost Farm Wines / supplied

Richard Angove caught the Tasmanian wine bug when doing a vintage stint at Tamar Ridge in 2008.

Angove, a fifth-generation member of one of Australia’s most famous wine and brandy-making families, loves drinking fresh, vibrant fruit-driven wines, so decided to make some small batches of his own on the Apple Isle.

The Lost Farm, his personal range of two sparkling wines, along with a chardonnay and a pinot noir, has just launched.

Angove had stints working at Tahbilk, Domaine Carneros in California and Brokenwood before re-joining the family firm, which has been in the wine business since 1886.

The name has a double-barrelled impact. It refers first to a Tea Tree Gully vineyard the family was forced to surrender to urban creep in McLaren Vale back in 1974, but also shares its name with one of Tasmania’s finest golf courses, which will be selling the wines.

Angove is making the wines at the Josef Chromy facility, working with Jeremy Dineen, before finishing them off at the high-tech Angove facility in Renmark.

“Clean and fresh wines is what I am looking for, because that is the style I love to drink,” he says. “I have relished the chance to work with high-quality, cool-climate fruit.”

Sailor Seeks Horse

Australian wine labels

Image: Sailor Seeks Horse / supplied

Paul and Gilli Lipscombe are the viticultural and winemaking team for Jimmy Watson Trophy-winning Home Hill in the Huon Valley, in Tasmania’s deep south.

Their personal side project has seen them completely rehabilitate what was a deserted and overgrown vineyard at nearby Cradoc that now produces much-sought-after (and lip-smackingly good) pinot noirs and chardonnays.

The couple met in London in 2005 – he’s English, she’s from Queensland – and worked vintages in the Languedoc in France before moving to Tasmania to take on “Mission Impossible” (Sailor Seeks Horse).

Their vineyard is located in Australia’s southernmost municipality and coolest wine region, and “sits right on the edge of viticultural possibility”.

“Our belief is that great pinot noir and chardonnay are made on that edge, where the risks are high but the rewards even higher,” says Gilli.

(Lead image: Minimum Wines / Clare Martin Lapworth)

Published 10 September, 2019