Coonawarra needs Wynns to be strong

Coonawarra deserves greater international recognition for the quality of its Cabernets according to speakers at a masterclass in London yesterday.

CoonawarraDuring a tasting and discussion on wines from the region, consultant Justin Knock MW and commentator Anthony Rose highlighted the viticultural improvements taking place in Coonawarra to maximise the expression of its exceptional terroir, which stems from its red soils and chalk bedrock.

Admitting that past vineyard practices in the region were not conducive to quality, such as minimal pruning, today’s careful canopy management for better bunch exposure, as well as the use of precision viticulture, are bringing superior results.

“People are terrified of minty characters,” said Knock, in contrast to a desire for leafy characters in Coonawarra Cabernet during the 80s.

Continuing, he said that the region’s biggest producer, Wynns – owned by Treasury Wine Esates – now uses GPS to map vineyards according to ripeness levels and mechanical harvesters with two bins to separate fruit according to sugar content.

Acknowledging that Wynns own as much as half the 5,600 hectare region, Knock said to db after the event, “Coonawarra needs Wynns to be strong.”

He added that the brand is already “getting stronger in Australia,” and recorded that the most cellared wines in the country are Penfold’s 389 and Wynns Black Label Cabernet.

Having poured the producer’s flagship John Riddoch Cabernet Sauvignon from the 2008 vintage during the tasting, Knock commented on its “classiness” and pointed out that a reduced new oak content meant the wine needed less time to soften.

“It use to be 100% new oak, but this wine, from 2008, is about 50%,” he recorded.

Meanwhile, Rose praised Wynns winemaker Sue Hodder for her low-profile approach and quality focus. “Sue is one of the most unsung heroes of Australian wine,” he said.

“She has no ego at all, but she is also self-assured and confident in the direction she is going, but a bit overshadowed in Treasury Wine Estates [portfolio] by Penfolds.”

Speaking to db at the end of last year, Tapanappa’s Brian Croser commented on the quality potential in Coonawarra, “The area with the most upside in Australia is Coonawarra, because it lost its way for so long.”

Furthermore, drawing attention to the refined nature of the region’s Cabernets, Bernard Hickin, chief winemaker for Jacob’s Creek (whose top label is the St Hugo Coonawarra Cabernet) stressed the tannin quality in the wines.

“There’s something about the tannins in Coonawarra Cabernet: they follow through, when sometimes in Cabernet they stand away from the fruit,” he told db.

Wynns_logoLooking ahead, Rose said as yesterday’s event drew to a close that the next chapter in the Coonawarra story will be the emergence of wines from specific plots.

The event also emphasised the site and climatic specifics of Coonawarra compared to other fine wine Cabernet-producing regions.

Speaking initially about the Coonawarra soil, Rose reminded attendees that the area benefits from three elements: an iron rich, russet coloured soil; a porous limestone bedrock, and beneath that, a pure water table.

The soil is important for absorbing heat – Cabernet has a long growing season –  the limestone for drainage – Cabernet likes free-draining soils – and the subterranean water table is an important insurance against low-rainfall vintages.

In terms of climate, Rose drew on information compiled by Brian Croser to show that Coonawarra is a moderate and maritime region, with cold, wet winters and a long warm summer.

Croser’s data showed that relative to other major Cabernet producing regions, Coonawarra is cool.

While Bolgheri in Tuscany has 1712 degree days and the Médoc 1485, Coonawarra has just 1414.

One Response to “Coonawarra needs Wynns to be strong”

  1. Gianni Travaglione says:

    Hi wine lover,

    Yes the Coonawarra is a markedly undervalued and under recognised Australia wine region. The wines of the Coonawarra speak of terrior.. More so than any other red produced in Australia.

    Sue Hodder is a prime example of a true professional who is a consummate ambassador and winemaker for the Wynns label with a strong and passionate drive to improve the quality and focus of the Coonawarra wines that she produces.

    The wines of the Coonawarra are truly amazing! Be they made to be cellared or consumed in the obligatory 24 hours of purchase. Another under valued area of the Coonawarra wines are their whites and Italian varietals. Do yourself a favour and discover the wines of the Coonawarra, go for a drive and visit the great cellar doors and the bright and enthusiastic people of the “warra”.

    P.S. I’m currently working in the Barossa Valley in the wine industry for a famous family owned winery but I was reinvigorated by the enthusiasm of the people of the Coonawarra.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please note that comments are subject to our posting guidelines in accordance with the Defamation Act 2013. Posts containing swear words, discrimination, offensive language and libellous or defamatory comments will not be approved.

Subscribe to our newsletters

Sales Representative - Private Customers

Corney and Barrow
Central Hong Kong, HK

Export Manager UK On Trade

AdVini
Home based in London or the South East, GB

Global Head of Marketing

ATOM Brands
Tunbridge Wells, GB

Sales Executive

Three Wine Men
Home-based but must be available to travel throughout the UK with frequent trips to London, GB

Senior Sales Operations Executive

Enotria&Coe
Park Royal, London, GB

Sales Administrator

Les Caves de Pyrène
Guildford, UK

On Trade & Corporate Accounts Manager

The Champagne Company
Birmingham, UK

Customer Service Assistant

The Champagne Company
Birmingham, UK

Key Account Manager - Distilling Sector - Scotland

Boortmalt
Scotland - call for exact details, UK

UK Brand Ambassador - Ableforth’s

ATOM Brands
Field-based, UK

Pink Rosé Festival

Cannes,France
7th Feb 2018

VinoVision Paris

Paris,France
12th Feb 2018

Vinisud

Montpellier,France
18th Feb 2018
Click to view more

The Global Pinot Noir Masters 2018

Deadline : 26th January 2018

Cabernet Sauvignon Masters 2018

Deadline : 23rd February 2018

Click to view more

The Global Malbec Masters 2017

the drinks business is proud to announce the inaugural Global Malbec Masters 2017

The Global Sparkling Masters 2017

the drinks business is thrilled to announce the launch of The Global Sparkling Masters.

Click to view more