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Seppelt Wines- a Cougar under wraps

Sexy wine labels that attract the young groovy wine buyer abound. Evocative cartoon labels with Barbarella-style cleavages on display attract many sets of eyes.

But take a step back and see the well-controlled, stylish labels that just ooze culture, intrigue and a certain element of the dominatrix.

I have found my new mistress under the label of Seppelts, entrenched in the township of Great Western in Central Western Victoria.

Being steeped in history counts for a lot. In 1851, Joseph Seppelt started a vineyard in the Barossa.  The Grampians vineyard was started by Jean Pierre Truette and Anne Marie and Emile Blampied in 1863. There were several changes of ownership of the Victorian site – which went through the hands of James Best and Hans Irvine – before coming under the Seppelt umbrella when Beno Seppelt assumed stewardship in 1918.

Hans Irvine deserves congratulations for refining the methode traditionale for sparkling wines used by French champagne maker Charles Pierlot. The result was the world’s first sparkling Shiraz.

Why not take a curvy specimen like a seductive refined cool climate Shiraz, and morph it into a buxom, slinky-clad temptress draped in a veil of satin?

But under Seppelts the vineyard lost any inertia it had developed and surged n popularity.

It is now owned by global operator Treasury Wine Estates, which has appointed Adam Carnaby as head wine maker. He has contagious energy to burn, having done vintages at Yering Station in the Yarra Valley and Xanadu in the Margaret River. He had an epiphanous year in Burgundy that opened his eyes to the simplicity and sensual nature of wine.

This sensuality started to emerge in his 2012 releases.

Like most great wine makers, he believes it all starts in the vineyard. His “Marilyn Monroe with a number 15 riding crop” is the fruit that comes from the great vineyards of Henty, Heathcote and of the iconic Great Western. More specifically, the 1863 St Peters Vineyard at Great Western.

Adam has a bachelor of applied science from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, and completed his wine science degree at Charles Sturt University.

These are merely tickets of entry into the big game, as this boy knows how to conduct himself and coax the most from the mistress that is created in the vineyard.

“I want the brand to be grand again with its sense of desirability,” Adam told Australian Medicine.

I think Mr Seppelt would be proud.

Wines Tasted

2011 Seppelts Grampians Great Western Riesling – one of the great areas to make Riesling, apart from the Clare and Eden valleys. It is a very pale yellow to the eye, with a bright lime and floral nose. The warm, wet summer is evident as secondary sweeter notes develop. The palate is strongly anterior, but a combined synergy of high natural acid and residual sugar (9.5 grams per litre) enable the wine to linger and satisfy the back palate. It has sherbet-like characteristics. Have with sashimi snapper, and be prepared to watch the development in the cellar over seven to nine years.

NV Seppelts Salinger – this methode traditionale sparkling is the baby sister of the well-known Vintage Salinger. It is one of the few Australian blends of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Menueir. The colour is a maturing yet vibrant deeper yellow. The nose is indicative of its pedigree and quality. Cut lemons combine with alluring yeasty notes. The mouth feel is soft and supple, with a pleasant spread of fine bubbles and lengthy acid structure. Oysters, and more oysters, would never disappoint.

2008 Seppelts Drumborg Chardonnay – the cool climate of Henty produces elegant fruit for many Seppelt wines. The 1964 single vineyard plantings give up their treasure, and Seppelts gratefully mould them into great wines. The Chardonnay is medium yellow/straw colour. Classic white peach, some floral notes and nutty fragrances abound. The wine then develops its more preserved meat and yeasty notes as it warms up. The palate is full and satisfying. The wonderful fruit presence is bolstered by mouth feel and acid structure. Goat’s cheese soufflé would match. Cellar for five to seven years, and see how it evolves.

2008 Seppelts Drumborg Pinot Noir – cool climate effect, with an average of 17.5 degrees Celsius in January. The pale garnet colour is a somkescreen for the power to come. The nose has a wonderful red fruit spectrum, with hints of white pepper and twiggy floral. Juicy fruit notes swill around the mouth, and seamless tannins provide great structure. This is a cracker. Enjoy with duck terrine with mushrooms and tarragon. This will cellar well, but who can wait?

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