On Saturday the 7th of May, I attended a tasting at First Estate Wine Merchants in Lane Cove, with a focus on the Barossa Valley and the Adelaide Hills – both in South Australia.

The Event itself: Extremely crowded and cramped. The tasting was conducted amongst the aisles of a regular wine store and so it became quite difficult to manoeuvre around the venue with the tables jammed into corners where they could be found. A number of people seemed to have wandered into the store with a deliberate intent to loiter in front of the infrequent spittoons, try politely getting someone to move with a mouthful of wine! I did appreciate the printed list of the 35 or so wines on offer along with a price guide, a little more space with room for notes would have been good though.

The Wines:

Standouts of the show were;

Henschke Lenswood Abbots Prayer Merlot 2001 – A blend of 86% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc. Wonderfully structured and a long, smooth, satisfying length through to the finish. Set to develop very nicely over the next 4-5 years. Rating: 94 – RRP: $60AU

Saltram No. 1 Shiraz 2001 – Assisted by a higher than usual percentage of Eden Valley grapes to rise above a generally underperforming ’01 vintage in the Barossa. Quite soft and smooth, with well integrated tannin structure. It delivers good length and a balance that allows this to be approachable at an early stage of development. Rating: 93 – RRP: $50AU

Leo Buring Eden Valley Riesling 2004 – Since focusing on getting back to their roots as a Riesling only producer, Leo Buring has gone from strength to strength. This wine is immaculately sculpted and exhibits lemon and lime characteristics over a well formed mineral backing. This is only going to get better over the next 10 years. Can be had for under $15, making it exceptional value. Rating: 93 – RRP: $18AU

Barossa Valley Estate E&E Black Pepper Shiraz 2001 – I was surprised to find this here, since they wouldn’t let me try it at the cellar door last year. Obvious American oak treatment, but not overpowering. Quite a strong, complex aroma and palate of cassis and berries, with a hint of smoky pepper. Doesn’t disappoint on the finish with a persistent length. Rating: 93 – RRP: $65AU

Peter Lehmann Cabernet Sauvignon 2002 –Very good balance between fruit and oak. A wine that will pair well with food. Excellent value for money. The complexity will benefit from a couple of years in the cellar. Rating: 92 – RRP: $13.99 AU

Grant Burge Filsell Shiraz 2002 – A well balanced, early drinking style Shiraz. More elegant than your average stereo-typical Barossan Shiraz. Rides on the back of the superb ’02 vintage in the Barossa. Consequently, it delivers some excellent value for money. Rating: 92 – RRP: $25AU

St Hallett Blackwell Shiraz 2002 – A fine example of what Barossa Shiraz is renowned for. Concentrated, powerful fruit with a backing of chocolate oak. Fantastic drinking now. Rating: 92 – RRP: $30AU

Shaw and Smith M3 Vineyard Chardonnay 2003 – From the Adelaide Hills. Shows apples and pear with a hint of toasty butter, presumably from some malolactic fermentation. Give it a couple of years in the cellar to really show what it can do. Rating: 90 – RRP: $32AU

Join the conversation! 4 Comments

  1. Hey Cam…don’t forget about Wine Blogging Wednesday…love to have you participate!

  2. Lenn,

    Have a Rose chilling in the fridge as we speak!

  3. Couldn’t find your e-mail! So what do you think about John Duval’s new wine?


  4. Hi Jens,

    Sorry that my email is a bit hard to find, that’s something that is set to be fixed when I publish my new layout.

    To be honest I haven’t actually tasted the Plexus yet. It sold out so quickly that I guess there was no need to do tastings. I managed to source a single bottle and was going to leave it for a couple of years before breaking it open.

    Sounds like there is more available in the US than there was over here, my local wine store was only able to procure six bottles in total!

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