|The wines of Shadowfax have gone from strength to strength in a very short space of time, due in no small part to the remarkable quality of fruit. A prolific trophy winner, Shadowfax have achieved the new wave of Chardonnay, refreshingly fruit driven, livelier than it's Victorian siblings, characterised by slatey, flavoursome acidity, a touch of lees complexity and judicious dryness. Shadowfax»|
|Stella Bella have won resounding critical acclaim and a reputation for producing artisanly crafted Margaret River wines of great expression, personality and quality. Stella Bella have established an almost peerless reputation after receiving numerous accolades at significant competitions, including coveted Gold and Mission Hill Trophy at the London International, the only southern hemisphere Chardonnay to win such a prestigious award.. Stella Bella»|
|Peter Lehmann has always been Riesling's most outspoken advocate, he has claimed best Riesling trophy at the prestigious London International on more occasions than any other, he declares Riesling to be his wine of choice if marooned on the proverbial desert island. Early picking of fruit from a superior single vineyard in the salubrious climes of Eden Valley has produced a fresh, lively Riesling, expect this captivating wine to exhibit genuine charm and offer great longevity as it narrowly missed being bottled behind Lehmann's flagship Riesling label.. Peter Lehmann»|
|A consistent wine show performer, previous vintages have claimed conspicuous gold medals at Mundus Vini Germany, Sydney International Wine Competition and Royal Sydney, silver at the prestigious Qantas and Decanter World Wine Awards. Vintage 2009 claimed Blue Gold Medal & Top 1OO Sydney International, Gold Qantas Wine Show WA, Silver Mundus Vini International Wine Show & Sydney Royal. Watershed»|
|Amherst is a town rich with colourful history and local folklore, site of the first official gold find in 1851, it launched a mining rush which expanded throughout central Victoria. The district's history with viticulture is also long and auspicious. Amherst»|
|After twenty years of the most distinguished winemaking, having amassed over sixty trophies and three hundred gold, including a Jimmy Watson and twice International Red Wine Maker of Year, David O'Leary and Nick Walker came home to classic Watervale soils. The superior Grace dry grown Vineyard is hand pruned and hand picked, relying fully on natural rainfall. OLeary Walker»|
|The inaugural release of Hanging Rock Shiraz was vintage 1987 and what an event it was, immediately claiming gold and inspiring comparisons to Grange by the industry press. From from fruit grown to the estate Athols Paddock, a complex Heathcote style, more Syrah than Shiraz, boasting several trophies and over fifty gold to its distinguished history, big, powerful and rich, yet exhibiting an elegance and finesse that's rare in Australian wine. Hanging Rock»|
|From fruit grown exclusively to the prestigious Blewitt Springs Vineyard, previously the source of Shiraz grapes for several icon wines. Located at an altitude of 300 feet, Blewitt Springs is a small site enjoying cooler climes and longer ripening period than the nearby mesoclimes of Willunga and McLaren Vale. Cape Barren»|
|Named for the Chapel district of Lenton in Nottingham, Brae is Scottish for a small hill, which is what the Lenton Brae vineyard is situated on. Fortuitously placed within the very epicenter for superior Margaret River Cabernet, the site was planted after advisement from the proprietors of nearby Moss Wood, with which it shares a similar terroir and microclime. Lenton Brae»|
|Named for a rare grasshopper Sigaus childi, found only at Central Otago within the Earnscleugh gold mine tailings, just across the road from Grasshopper Rock vineyard. The site is fortuitously harsh and sufficiently challenging to make the vines work their hardest. Grasshopper Rock»|
|Given the scarcity of Best's prestige, limited release, old vineyard icons, Bin #1 affords enthusiasts their first taste of the Great Western Shiraz style and leaves them eager to discover more. A classic, cool climate, aromatic wine, floral and spicy, peppery and elegant, retaining vital Great Western fruit character. Bests»|
|Meshach William Burge 1843-1942, was Grant's great grandfather, a central figure in establishing the Burge vineyards and estate. He was eleven years of age when his family moved from Wiltshire to the Barossa, where he toiled to develop what has grown into a thriving viticultural, wheat and sheep property near Lyndoch. Grant Burge»|
Arakoon aspire to make elegant, restrained and sophisticated wines that will complement food, as wine should be drunk with fine food and good company
Let there be no doubt, the wine is made in the vineyard. The source fruit can vary greatly from vintage to vintage. In order to obtain a certain degree of consistency, batches are processed as separately as possible followed by a final blending, assembling wines into unique styles. Elegance with power, aspirations which are not always easy to reach. Arakoon maximize quality by interacting with growers as much as possible, and by choosing growers who are interested in producing high quality fruit, rather than just high quantity. Processing, maturation, blending and bottling are also important and that is where the winemaking part comes in.
Arakoon aim at producing styles which the winemakers themselves would like to drink. Inspirational producers around the world include amongst others: Guigal, Graillot, Rayas, Clape, Pegau, Trevallon, Rousseau and J.J. Confuron (reds), and FX Pichler, Knoll, Coche-Dury, Marcel Deiss and JJ Prum (whites). Whithin Australia, Arakoon are fans of Mount Mary, Noons, Bowen's, Summerfield, Wendouree, Lakes Folly and Jasper Hill. Notably, Australia and McLaren Vale produces grapes that differ from the European favourites, so physical emulations are therefore impossible. The quality however that these producers routinely achieve is very much a target to emulate.
Arakoon believe that experimentation is the key to achieving higher and higher levels of quality. It is easy to make a prediction of what happens in response to certain treatments, however, any real answer will only come from trials. Tests are routinely conducted with synthetic corks vs. a range of natural corks, the number of times a wine should be racked, the effect of fining rates, primary fermentation in barrel vs. vat, pre- and post-fermentation maceration, etc... and there is more to come.
After tasting Arakoon you may become surprised that some of the wines taste quite different from most other South Australians, more elegant and understated perhaps. This is a stylistic objective resulting from extended maceration post-fermentation, the use of subtle new French oak amongst other old barrels and blending towards the above stated aim. These styles sometimes are a better match with food rather than big and overtly fruity wines.
Wines are graded into a big and a light or elegant group. The big group contains the Big, fat & gutsy (BFG), the Sellicks Beach and the Doyen. The remainder are more on the lighter side. Sellicks Beach/BFG blend is based on little new wood and wines that have a porty, jammy element in them, whilst reserve Shiraz and the doyen are more stamped by subtle new French oak and varietal aromas. The Lighthouse/DBB blend is an attempt at producing an elegant Cabernet Shiraz modeled after the likes of Dom. du Trevallon in Provence.
Arakoon don't own or manage vineyards but they have firm views on viticulture. Since inaugural vintage, Aakoon have brought in grapes from vines that have yielded miserably and from vines that have had reasonably large crops, from vines that were two years young, up to a hundred years old, from vines that have ripened their fruit early and late, and with varying degrees of ripeness (10.5 to over 16% potential alcohol!). In Summary, the best wine so far (doyen) have come from two year old vines that ripened early. Arakoon have seen examples where low yielding vines produce wine that is not too special, whilst reasonably high yielding vines give very nice fruit (and therefore wine). At vintage, Arakoon produce a large range of varying batches that differ in grape, geographical origin and winemaking treatments. Some vineyards are harvested at two ripeness levels. The different batches are kept separate all the way until blending. For such a tiny winery, Arakoon can end up with a substantial number of batches, between 15-25 depending on the vintage. Subsequently the batches are grouped according to style or potential. Not only structure, but flavours are considered.
In essence, Arakoon aim at styles, as opposed to grape varieties and origin. McLaren Vale is famous for big, fruity wines that are influenced by new american oak. Not all wines are that way of course, but, it could be argued that this is somewhat of a South Australian style, if any. Arakoon on the other hand are quite subdued and different stylistically from the South Australian style. It comes down to a consistent employment of post-ferment maceration and choice of oak. Blending also plays a role. Like Frank Sinatra, Arakoon like things done their own way! The only way to really find out for yourself is not to read, but to try it out in practice.