|Tio Pepe is the world's leading Fino, a very pale and dry style of wine made in the southwest of Spain. Produced since 1844 by the Gonzalez family of Jerez, Tio Pepe has a distinctive aroma and a unique taste. Tio Pepe»|
|So popular are the wines of Pepperjack, that the label hosts its own society of dedicated enthusiasts. This devout cohort of zealots, converges at bespoke venues to discuss matters Pepperjack, they dine on prime beef and imbibe in their cherished libation. Pepperjack»|
|David O'Leary really knows about things Cabernet Sauvignon, having claimed a Jimmy Watson Trophy and twice International Red Wine Maker of the Year. From low yielding vines up to fifty years of age, grown to superior sites within the Armagh Valley and Polish Hill River districts, the O'Leary Walker team create a powerful and complex, exquisitely perfumed and seamlessly layered Cabernet Sauvignon, framed by judicious oak and supported by graceful tannins, reflecting the idyllic growing climes of Valley Clare. OLeary Walker»|
|The top shelf in toothsome and dulcetly fragrant, fruit forward frizzante wines, fashioned for those who know what they like and take their Moscato seriously. Brown Brothers make the best Moscato in the land, their dedicated Muscat vineyards have been trained to deliver harvests of the most luscious fruit. Brown Brothers»|
|She's such a special wine, that a distinctive hand blown bottle was designed just for her. Tempus Two is the definition of romance and desirability, elegance and finesse, all who have countenanced her endowments agree. Tempus Two»|
|A highly prolific wine industry trophy winner, including best single vineyard and best Shiraz at the hotly contested McLaren Vale Wine Show. A magnificent collation of old vines fruit from several pickings on the illustrious Rayner property, including a judicious measure of grapes as whole bunches, are treated to a wild indigenous yeast ferment and course of age in barrels of well seasoned French oak. Bondar»|
|The highly opportune Pinot Noir vines at Bird In Hand are planted on the site of an ancient gold mine, a godsend of fortuitously fertile soils, magnificent growing conditions for stellar quality Adelaide Hill wines. Fermented in own bottle and aged five years on lees in true MÃ©thode champenoise, the term of extended maturation imparts luxurious biscuit notes, chantilly crÃ¨me and frais de bois. Bird In Hand»|
|Mandoon are a Swan Valley operation of great provenance, their homestead vineyard being an ancient block established on the first rural grant in Western Australia, circa 1929 at a property named Sandalford. Always on the lookout for exceptional parcels of fruit, the highly decorated Mandoon team have focused on a northern block of Research Station Vineyard in Margaret River. Mandoon»|
|Earnscleugh Valley was the site of a gold rush in the 1860s, the industrious miners dug a watercourse through the valley which today serves to nourish the world's southernmost appellation of Pinot Noir. The Last Chance is a small scenic terrace, planted to a special Burgundy clone of Pinot Noir which yields a magnificently structured, generously proportioned wine. Two Paddocks»|
|This enduring flagship wine can boast twenty trophys and over seventy gold medals throughout its illustrious history. Penley Steyning captures and enhances the excellence in first growth Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon, highlighted by rich berry tones, superior length and layers of intense flavour, a wine which achieves perfect harmony between massive intensity of fruit, mouth filling grape tannins and elegant acids. Penley Estate»|
|Longview are one of the most highly awarded wineries in Adelaide Hills, having claimed trophies and medals at conspicuous national tasteoffs. The predominantly northeast facing slopes and valleys, combined with the cool climate of the Adelaide Hills and superior winemaking practices, have produced outstanding vintages. Longview»|
|A mostly Cabernet wine with a tenth of Merlot, a jot of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, representing almost a third of Hollick's annual production. Previous vintages of Tannery Block have won numerous prestigious awards, including the pre-eminent Jimmy Watson, Robert Bryce and Arthur Kelman Trophies. Hollick»|
It is a wonder that Virgin Hills exists at all. It certainly should never have become what some of Australia's most respected wine critics have nominated as their desert island wine
Virgin Hills was the creation of eccentric Hungarian Australian sculptor restaurateur Tom Lazar. Arriving from Paris in the mid 1960s, he found a new country with a food and wine industry, very different to the one we know today. Lazar was determined to change all that. He established the renowned Little Reata restaurant in Melbourne. Then in 1968, came his grand vision of Virgin Hills. Inspired, he bought 300 acres of rugged bushland high in the Macedon Ranges. Lazar saw an opportunity to expose Australian palates to something very different; black cherries. After laborious clearing, the soil revealed itself to be quite poor for the purpose. Swiftly, Lazar had another grand vision.
Decades before the term cool climate styles of wine became popular, he abandoned the idea of a cherry orchard, planting Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Malbec, Merlot and Pinot Noir instead. He planned an Australian rival to the great Bordeaux wines he had grown to love in Paris. Lazar was prone to grand visions. Of course, we scarcely need mention that Lazar had no grape growing or winemaking experience whatsoever. After spending a vintage in the Coonawarra under the instruction of Owen Redman, Lazar produced the first Virgin Hills vintage. A blend of all the varieties in the vineyard, it stood out among Australian wines as being uncharacteristically subtle.
Tom had great success with his early vintages, 1974 claimed Gold at the UK International Wine & Spirit Competition in 1981. This catapulted Virgin Hills into the spotlight. As Lazar refined Virgin Hills further, it rapidly won international acclaim and numerous awards. Judges worldwide rated it as a worthy competitor to the Bordeaux wines that inspired it. A marked contrast to the standard oaky Australian red, Virgin Hills won a devoted following, particularly in Victoria.
Virgin Hills Estate is at Lauriston, 15km west of Kyneton in Victoria's Macedon Ranges. The altitude of the vineyard is 600 metres above sea level, making it one of Australia's most elevated sites. The vineyard is carved out of dense eucalyptus bushland. The soils classic profile is that of friable red/brown topsoil overlying medium red clay soil, which holds moisture in from winter rains. To this day, it bears the viticultural classification of marginal vineyard.
Underneath all those layers of soil are decomposed silty sandstone, which allows for good through drainage, essential for premium fruit. The soil has well balanced structure allowing for deep root penetration, which the old unirrigated vines thrive on. The vines are all dry grown. Winter rainfall fills the soil with water for the dry summer months. The land suffers from frosts and occasional snow at both ends of the season (budburst and harvest time).
By far the most challenging aspect of the high altitude vineyard is frost control. Frosts commonly appear in the vineyard in spring and even summer. For this reason Virgin Hills was planted with a northerly aspect, on steep sloping hillside, providing maximum air drainage. Virgin Hills has always had a low grape yield (0.5 to 1.5 tonnes per acre), this is largely due to the tough climactic conditions and the dry grown grapes. Only one wine has ever been produced under the Virgin Hills label. From the beginning, the blends have varied subtly from year to year, adding to its mystique. In 1979 Marcel Gilbert bought Virgin Hills. During 18 years of ownership, his commitment to the integrity of the wine was legendary. Tom Lazar remained as winemaker until 1983, when the reins were handed over to Mark Sheppard.
In 1998, Virgin Hills was briefly acquired by a publicly listed company. It is now back under family ownership following its purchase by Michael Hope, a pharmacist turned vigneron. Michael has been successfully producing premium wine in the Hunter Valley since 1997. He leads a talented team of people who cherish Virgin Hills' spirit of individualism. The future is bright for a wine that has achieved greatness against the predictions of many. Proof, more than three decades on, of the power of a grand vision.