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Grant Burge Wines – Exploring the new vintages

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As part of Decanter's coverage of Australia's Finest Cellars 2021 release program we look at the latest vintages from Grant Burge, one of the Barossa's iconic estates...

Understanding the history of the Barossa, its soils and strengths, and making wines that truly reflect such powerful regional character are hallmarks evident in every bottle of Grant Burge Wines.

Since Grant Burge Wines commenced in 1988, the winemaking team has maintained a steady focus on embracing and enhancing Barossa traditions, while also remaining innovative as they strive for excellence. It’s a story of diversity, of procuring the best fruit from various subregions that each have distinctive personalities, and finding the magical interlocking pieces that result in superior wines.

Grant Burge Wines has 130ha of its own Barossa vineyards, but also sources from established Barossa grape growers. The sum of these diverse fruit resources – many being clustered in the southern Barossa region, around the town of Lyndoch, but also from some high-elevation vineyards in the Eden Valley – results in a distinctly different take on the Barossa that sets Grant Burge Wines apart.

‘We believe the southern Barossa has its own story worth telling. We’ll keep telling it. It’s in this company’s DNA,’ says Grant Burge Wines’ chief winemaker Craig Stansborough (pictured above).

Stansborough has worked intimately with fruit from these vineyards for almost 30 years – building on the imbued knowledge of the Burge family that has worked in this region since 1855 – and he knows how to tease the best out of them.

He says reading these vineyards accurately and guiding their viticultural improvement through the past decade has been instrumental in steady improvement of the wines, and identifies the 2016 and 2018 vintage reds as some of the best wines he has yet produced.

This can be seen in the opulence of the company’s top tier of prestige wines – especially 2016 Shadrach Cabernet Sauvignon (97 points) and 2016 Meshach Shiraz (95 points) – through the seamless meld of its serious 2018 Holy Trinity Grenache-Shiraz-Mourvedre (95 points) to the plush palate and harnessed power of 2017 Nebu Cabernet-Shiraz (96 points). The winery also achieves superb outcomes in its more modestly priced wines, with the rich, earthy red fruits of 2018 Filsell Old Vine Shiraz (94 points) representing exemplary value in a wine costing less than £25.

Recent vintage releases also show that significant adjustments are being made in the winery, with many small batch trials by the winemaking team influencing a fresh modern take on classic styles, the wines being modified through incremental change.

The Grant Burge Wines portfolio retains a confidence built from pursuing the brand’s own distinctive style rather than merely chasing contemporary fashion. While a commitment to improvement means a continuing evolution, some attributes remain constant: these plush, approachable wines are built around rich fruit and soft tannins, broad-framed and certainly generous in their fruity flavour, but always in balance.


EXCEPTIONAL VINTAGES

Nebu Cabernet-Shiraz 

2018, 93 points: ‘….Generous, inky deep and sinuous with plentiful dark berry fruits….Vigorous wine with plenty of richness and torque. Drink: 2023 – 2032’ – Andrew Caillard MW.

2017, 96 points:Choosing Cabernet to drive this top-tier blend (short for Nebuchadnezzar) brings lovely grace and lusciousness to the palate, and showing off the character of the cooler 2017 vintage underlines this finesse and elegance. Long silken threads stream all through the palate, guided by soft tannins to a rich, harmonious finish. Different to other top-tier Grant Burge wines – and definitely not a sum of Meshach and Shadrach components – it harnesses power through restraint’David Sly.


Filsell Old Vine Shiraz

2019, 94 points: ‘Densely concentrated palate with plentiful saturated inky dark fruits, fine persistent grainy/ chocolaty tannins, attractive mid-palate volume… Drink soon – 2030’ – Andrew Caillard MW.

2018, 94 points: ‘A slightly cooler vintage in the southern Barossa, where Filsell grapes are sourced, has seen powerful black fruits fill the palate – stronger and richer than the more familiar earthy red fruits synonymous with the Lyndoch area. The presence of 7% whole bunches in the ferment ensures lifted colour and rich blackberry and mulberry aromas. Big tannins and a tarry lick at the finish underline the brute strength of this wine, which will sit comfortably for more than a decade in the cellar’David Sly. 


The Holy Trinity Grenache-Shiraz-Mourvèdre

2019, 95 points: ‘Plentiful ripe tannins and underlying dark chocolate nuances…. Finishes al-dente firm with bitter-sweet chinotto notes. Lovely volume and density. Drink Now-2028.’ – Andrew Caillard MW.

2018, 95 points:This is Grenache in serious mode, showing complexity and gravitas while also exhibiting lovely freshness and vitality. There’s generous red-fruited sweetness on entry, but then leathery tannins pull the reins in tight to stop the flavour profile from becoming too fleshy or plush. As a concluding note, Mourvèdre adds a lick of tarry boot polish, reinforcing that this is more complex and thoughtful than it initially appears.’David Sly

Find out more at grantburgewines.com.au 


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