'Cult' winemaker Jonathan Maltus has sold his entire 2002 vintage from his new icon Barossa winery.
Maltus, who made his name with St Emilion’s Chateau Teyssier and its cult sister wines Le Dome and Chateau Laforge, bought vineyards in South Australia’s Barossa and Eden Valleys over the last two years.
He has now released his first vintage from the ancient vines (some of which are over 100 years old and formerly went into Penfold’s Grange and other top wines), and has sold the entire production – 500 cases of the Exile with a retail price of US$180, and 1000 cases of Émigré, US$90 a bottle.
‘No one rejected the samples,’ Maltus told decanter.com of his recent worldwide selling trip. Decanter consultant editor Steven Spurrier was impressed by the wines, saying he thought they were ‘the essence of Barossa.’
Maltus uses a number of methods unheard of in Barossa, home to some of Australia’s most celebrated small producers such as Greenock Creek, Three Rivers and Torbreck. He imported all winemaking equipment from St Emilion – wooden vats, barrels, triage tables – and makes sure the wine is genuinely ‘handmade’ to the point of sorting the grapes both before and after destemming, ensuring nothing other than pristine grapes gets into the vat.
Exile and Émigré will be followed next year by the entry-level Colonial – Shiraz, Cabernet and Semillon varietals – of which the company is making around 7,500 cases of the 2003 vintage.
Written by Adam Lechmere8 April 2003