Australia is renowned for its robust red wine Shiraz, but do you know that the Barossa Valley is the heartland for this wine?
Do you know what makes this place so special for this wine?
That’s exactly what we’re going to learn from our guest tonight who joins me live from Australia.
Our guest this evening is the third generation of his family to make wine in the Barossa, and a graduate of the prestigious winemaking program at the University of Adelaide. In the five years since he graduated in 2008, he has worked vintages in eight different regions across the USA, Italy and Canada.
The “flying winemaker” experience has shaped the way he approaches his craft at Peter Lehmann Wines in the heart of the Barossa Valley.
… and he joins me live now from the winery in Australia: Welcome to the Sunday Sipper Club Tim Dolan!
We’ll be simultaneously broadcasting on Facebook Live, YouTube Live Stream and Twitter Live Video via Periscope.
Watch previous episodes of the Sunday Sipper Club (SSC) and find out who’s coming up next.
If you’d like to read the comments for this tasting, or make a comment yourself, visit:
Here’s a sampling of our lively discussion from our Tim Dolan Video Chat:
Peter Lehmann Wines Portrait Riesling 2016
Eden Valley, Australia
Peter Lehmann Wines Margaret Semillon 2011
Barossa Valley, South Australia, Australia
Peter Lehmann Wines Portrait Shiraz 2014
Peter Lehmann Wines Portrait Cabernet Sauvignon 2013
Barossa Valley, South Australia, Australia
Peter Lehmann Wines The Barossan Shiraz 2015
Barossa, South Australia, Australia
Peter Lehmann Wines Futures Shiraz 2014
Barossa, South Australia, Australia
Peter Lehmann Wines Stonewell Shiraz 2012
Barossa Valley, South Australia, Australia
Peter Lehmann Wines Wigan Riesling 2012
Eden Valley, Australia
There is a saying that some people have wine running through their veins. If such a group did exist, Tim Dolan would certainly be part of it.
Tim is the third generation of his family to make wine in the Barossa, following his father, Nigel, and grandfather Bryan – two of the most influential winemakers of their respective eras. He learnt the ropes in the winery from a young age at Saltram, where Nigel was Chief Winemaker. Being the son of the boss didn’t grant him any favours, and he worked for pocket money after school in just about every part of the winery, from crushing to cleaning.
Winemaking was not a predestined path for Tim, and he took some time off when he finished high school to travel and explore what he really wanted to do. As it turned out, those travels led him to wine regions, and working in wineries, where he realised without question his calling.
In 2005, he enrolled at the University of Adelaide to study winemaking, working for other South Australian wineries during breaks. Intent on forging a career in his own right, Tim set a course to amass as much international experience as possible. In the five years since graduating in 2008, Tim worked vintages in eight different regions across the USA, Italy and Canada, including Sonoma, Napa Valley, Tuscany, Borolo and Niagra. Closer to home, Barossa, McLaren Vale and the Hunter Valley.
The “flying winemaker” experience has shaped Tim to be extremely broadminded in the winery with a thirst for new approaches. That reputation earned him an offer from Chief Winemaker Andrew Wigan to fill a contract position with the Peter Lehmann winemaking team in 2011, just as his father had done more than 30 years earlier in his very first vintage.
Tim’s family connection with Peter Lehmann goes back even further. His grandfather Bryan was the General Manager/Winemaker of Saltram until 1959, when he employed a promising young winemaker called Peter Lehmann to take over his position.
During his extensive travels, Tim always kept a foot in the Barossa. Continuing the tradition of working with family, Nigel, Tim and sisters Rebecca and Sarah established Dolan Family Wines in 2007 with a small annual production underlined by passion and perfection.
Tim brings those qualities to the Peter Lehmann winemaking team in a full-time capacity from vintage 2013.
When not making wine, Tim likes to head to the Fleurieu Coast to indulge his love of surfing and scuba diving.
I’m sure you’re familiar that, the concept that Australia is famous for Shiraz; but the Barossa Valley, now that’s the sweet spot, the heartland of Shiraz, and tonight we’re going to explore with our guest exactly why that is.
I’m Natalie MacLean, editor of Canada’s largest wine newsletter and website at nataliemaclean.com, and you’ve joined me here on the Sunday Sipper Club where we gather every Sunday night at 6:00 PM Eastern, that’s Toronto/New York time, to talk to the most intriguing people in the wine world.
Now, before I get started and introduce our guest, just post in the comments below and I’ll check in on Facebook over here. Let me refresh the page. Have you ever had a Shiraz from the Barossa Valley? I’m sure you’ve had Australian Shiraz, but have you had one from the Barossa Valley? And Beverly is already here. Nice to see you, Beverly. I’m going to post this comment here.
Now I’m going to delay a little bit because our guest, a winemaker from Australia, is having a few technical difficulties. I’m so glad AV is fine, Ann, thank you; and Laurie is here looking forward to tonight’s chat. We did our usual tech test run with the winemaker ’cause he’s joining all the way from Australia; and wouldn’t you know, they’re having a bit of a tech melt down, so we’ll see if he joins. I’m going to keep the line open here. We’re still going to have a chat tonight. I’ve got all the wines in front of me so we can still talk about this and other things. Okay. Good, Laurie. All right.
Separately, I just want to let you know, and I’ll post this as well below, that, let me just get into the comments over here on Facebook, registration for my wine course, The Quick Start to Get Wine Smart, is closing tonight. Yes, that’s it, final hours. Don’t miss out. It’s going to be a lot of fun. I was on CTV recently talking about it with Leanne Cusack and it’s a series of live interactive workshops that start in January. All of the videos are recorded.
It’s a lot of hands-on, getting to know the material. Lots of different tools and techniques to help you remember all of that information that’s out there from how to pair wine, to how to choose a great bottle in the liquor store, to talking to the sommelier without getting nervous.
All right, so, all right, Beverly has not tried a Shiraz from Peter Lehmann or perhaps from the Barossa Valley but she would like to. That’s the spirit, Beverly. Elaine, “All is good: got three bottles “of Peter Lehmann’s wines.” Excellent, so on trend. And Elaine, I know you’re going to join our wine course so I’m so excited to have you join that. It’s going to be a lot of fun.
I have not heard yet from our guest other than email saying, “Aack, we’re having “a tech meltdown here,” so it may be that we don’t get them on live tonight, but that’s okay, we’re still going to move forward ’cause we always do. We’re always here at 6:00 PM every Sunday, aren’t we?
All right, Paul Hollander and Patty have joined us from Virginia: hey, guys. “Looks like a festive wreath behind.” Yes, this is-Oh, I think someone has joined us. Let me see. I hear someone. There you are, Tim. Okay, Tim, let’s get you pinned here on the video. Can you hear and see me, Tim?
[Tim] Yeah, I can.
There you are. Yes. Yes, it worked. All the way from Australia. How’s that, folks? I explained that we were having a few technical difficulties. Let me just bring you up here, Tim. We’ll do things all out of order here because we don’t get hung up on formalities. Tim, you look and sound like you’re next door and not in Australia.
Yeah, it’s amazing.
Excellent. And if everybody can comment if they can hear and see Tim okay. I can. I think your volume’s fine, Tim. Yeah, I just talked about just briefly high level why – teasing them as to the fact that the Barossa is such a special region for Shiraz; but let me introduce you properly, Tim, because I have not yet done that. This is the real concept of flying winemaker. He just flew in for our chat here. I’m so happy this worked, and I’m so glad you guys kept persisting on your end. Let me talk about Tim and I’ll go to some slides you sent me, Tim, while I’m doing this intro because, some super slides you sent me.
Our guest this evening is the third generation of his family to make wine in the Barossa. He is a graduate of the prestigious winemaking program at the University of Adelaide, and in the five years since he graduated in 2008 he’s worked vintages in eight different regions across the U.S., Italy, and Canada. His flying winemaker experience has shaped the way he approaches his craft at Peter Lehmann in the heart of the Barossa Valley, and I’m so happy he joins me live now from the Barossa. Hello Tim, again.
Thanks, Natalie. Great to be here.
Great to see you.
Good, good, good. Everybody is really pleased you’re here. We’ve got in the house, I’ll feed you the comments, Tim, ’cause I know you can’t see them. But Ann is here from Halifax. “Glad you made it, Tim. “You’re looking good and sounding great.” Beverly is in California. Don’t you just love this when the technology works?
It’s like – A wing and a prayer but sometimes when it all comes together, it’s terrific. Laurie is in Ottawa: “Hello, Tim.” Paul is in Virginia. “We’ve tried several of your wines.” And who else has gone by? Jim Clark was here. Folks, keep posting your comments ’cause they go by so quickly and I can only see five at a time. Let’s get down to this.
I am so looking forward to this, Tim. Now I’ve given you just a sort of a brief overview intro. Maybe you can fill in some details if I left something out that you’d like to mention. I’m hearing squirrels in the background. Are you training up squirrels for Christmas, that Alvin and the Chipmunks, yes?
No, there are some parrots in the … I’m actually outside.
Oh, you’re outside?
Yeah, I’m on the balcony.
Sitting outside, which is great.
Yeah it is, and your reception is so good.
It is, yeah. You’re not even breaking up or anything, but I can’t believe you have parrots there. That is just so cool.
Yeah, yeah, I’m listening to loris and kookaburras as well.
Oh yeah, the kookaburras. That’s so great.
You’re bringing it all tonight.
That’s awesome. So yeah, fill in any details you’d like. And maybe, I don’t know, tell us something that would surprise us about you. Whatever you like, whatever you’d like to throw in there that I left out.
Well, I guess kicking off, it’s a pretty beautiful Monday morning here in the Barossa. We’re expecting the top of about 36 degrees Celsius so it’s pretty warm.
But that’s not atypical at this time of year. It’s starting to warm up and everything is looking fantastic from the grapevine point of view. Everything’s very healthy and it runs quite happy at this stage so yeah, so far, so good.
Wow, that’s great.
Yeah, yeah, it’s always good to do something different and get out of the office and do a tasting like this. It’s very, very different for me.
With all the wildlife. Folks, just make sure, can you let us know that you can hear Tim? I can hear the birds loud but I can hear you, too. I don’t know how far you are from your mic but let’s just make sure they don’t drown out you, Tim.
No, that’s okay; it’s kind of cool but …
A bit closer.
There we go. That’s good. You just need to out-squawk them.
I’ll just talk a little bit closer.
Yeah. That’s fine, that’s great. Okay, so now I know we covered this when we did our little short promo chat, but tell us in your view, why the Barossa is such a special region for making Shiraz?
I think the number one most special thing about the Barossa is the amazing old vines that we have here. I mean, we’re fortunate enough to not have had any phylloxera come to Peter Lehman, or come to the Barossa; so the vines that we have there, some of them are over 140 years old, and they are the oldest Shiraz vines in the world, so it’s quite a historical region and we’re really trying to hold on to that ’cause it’s so unique. So that’s probably the number one I guess, most special thing about the Barossa.
Which is really, really cool.
I’m still distracted by those birds. Do they like eating the grapes?
They do, and if we need to put nets on them … That’s the kookaburra in the background. I don’t know if you heard that.
What sound do they make? Do they make that unique sound? What is it like? Like a person almost.
It sounds like they’re laughing.
Yeah, almost like a human laughter, isn’t it?
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Yeah. Oh, uncanny. That’s really cool though. Okay, so yes, Paul is saying, “Tim, your volume is “A bit low for Tim but the birds are fine.” I don’t know if you can get it closer to your mic.
The birds are really loud in the background.
Do we have a scarecrow?
I’ll try and hold the mic closer to my mouth.
Yeah, that might help just so that you’re louder than the birds. It’s kind of cool. It’s like a National Geographic edition of our Sunday Sipper Club.
David Attenborough here.
Yeah, that’s right. That’s great. So folks, just tell us as we go along if you can still hear Tim okay. Those birds sound hungry. Okay.
They are, they are.
We’ll try to focus. But yeah, do keep speaking into your microphone there, Tim and I hope that will be good, but I’ll keep watching the comments to make sure people can hear you. Maybe you can take us back to the moment, Tim, when you first realized that you wanted to make wine. I know it’s in the family, it’s generational, so you grew up around it. But was there a moment when you decided “yes, this is for me, “I want to make wine as well?”
I think when I was about 10 years old I was working or helping my father during their vintage time working in the winery, and I was just helping out hosing out the bins as they were dumped into the crusher, and Dad was sort of milling around helping out and coordinating the team and it was just a really, really good sort of vibe and energy and yeah, I think I really got sucked in by that sort of culture and everyone was hard working but having a good time at the same time so it was a lot of fun. And yeah, I’ve never forgotten that moment. Even though Dad was only paying me about $2.00 an hour to help out, it wasn’t really about the money, it’s just about being involved and having such a good time.
I love that you know that it was a specific moment. Going right back to when you were 10, the hoses, et cetera. Like it really had an emotional impact on you, clearly.
It was a lot of fun.
Okay, Julian Park, in BC, and he said, “The volume is good for me.” For him, so I guess both the birds and Tim are coming in loud and clear.
Okay, that is great, Tim. Apart from tasting lots of different wines from the Barossa, how can we get to know the wines in the region better, in your mind? Is there any sort of suggestion you’d have for us to really get to know Barossa versus all of the other regions in Australia?
Well, things like this are obviously really good.
I think I would taste and talk to the winemakers. If you do make it to the region, the best way to experience The Barossa is to visit the restaurants. In the last five to 10 years there’s just been an explosion of amazing restaurants at delivering really high quality food and matching it to the wines really, really well. I think there’s been a lot more investment into making sure that the best wines are matched to the best foods and often those restaurants, they’ll have a few little hidden gems stashed away in the cellar from past vintages and they’re always really good. And more often than not, you’ll see a local winemaker or two at those restaurants at any time as well so you can sort of rub shoulders with them and ask a few questions.
That sounds great. Sounds like a gastronomic, hedonistic kind of vacation that I’m sure many of us here would love to take. The restaurants, key thing, I visited Australia twice. Just loved the cuisine, the matching of the cuisine and the wines there. It’s unlike any other, and then you’re in the environment itself. The land is all around you. You can see the soil. It’s an extraordinary experience and I do encourage everyone to go
All right. Laurie says, “I was fortunate to be at the “Australian High Commissioner Summer Wine Tasting. “Lots of wines, beautiful garden setting.” Excellent, Laurie. That sounds fantastic. All right. Just a couple more questions here and then we’ll dive into some wines here, Tim. I always ask this of everybody, but maybe take us to the worst moment of your wine career. Maybe not so much bad weather, ’cause I’m sure that’s the worst moment for every winemaker. But is there a particular moment where, you know, it was just kind of the low of the lows, and maybe how you recovered or how things changed after that? But maybe take us to that moment if you can recall one.
Well, I can; I’ve got a bit of a funny one–
hen I was really, really young. My dad was working at a winery called Se-pel-Steward and I lived across the road, or we lived as a family across the road. And we had a Labrador. His name was Angus.
And he would often follow Dad to the winery and I went along this morning with Angus. We went across and Dad was in the winery and there was these big open, sort of fermenters, and Angus thought it would be a good idea to jump in the fermenter, full of red wine, full of red grapes. Fortunately, he managed to float and Dad was able to grab him out, but he was a tint a bit like this shirt. He was a shade of red for about two weeks afterwards.
Oh that’s funny. Wow.
Well, I guess that’s not the wine fault they call like wet dog or dog hair or whatever.
Yeah, maybe that’s where that came from.
Could be. Wow. Yeah, he’s a lucky dog to have survived.
Yeah, he is.
Sam joins us from BC. Julian, “Are you seeing any growth in sparkling Shiraz? “I’d love to drink this wine with turkey for Christmas, “rocking around the Christmas tree,” says Julian.
Yeah, that’s an absolute favorite of ours at this time of year, and the Black Queen Shiraz that we make is a staple at most people’s breakfast for Christmas Day. It’s just a classic Australian dish with your eggs and bacon first thing in the morning.
Eggs and bacon, oh that would be so good, and sparkling Shiraz. I can think of those Sparkling Shiraz would also be so good to moisten up turkey ’cause you’ve got the bubbles, you’ve got the juiciness of that fleshy Shiraz. I mean it just, and it’s so holiday. It’s like cranberries in a glass kind of thing.
That’s a great match.
Ooh, my mouth is watering just talking about it. Paul is saying the volume is good now, and I should say good morning. Good morning, Tim, yes. What is it, nine, 10 o’clock your time? 10:00 AM?
9:45 Monday. He’s joining me live from …
So if you’ve just joined us, we’re here on the Sunday Sipper Club where we gather every Sunday at 6:00 PM, Toronto/New York time. But we’re here live with Tim Dolan, I should say it that way, with Peter Lehmann Wines. He’s joining me live from the winery in Australia. Those are kookaburras. Kookaburras? Magpies?
In the background.
And loris, yep. We’re doing the full National Geographic edition today of the Sunday Sipper Club. All right, so now let’s of course, go to the best moment of your winemaking career. Can you take us there? What’s been memorable so far in terms of the best moment?
Well, some of the best moments I’ve had have actually been overseas. I had a lot of fun working in Canada at Hillebrand Winery.
[Natalie] Oh, Hillebrand, yeah.
Niagara-on-the-Lake, yeah, but probably more specifically working in Barolo. I remember we were having a really tough day. It was a long, long day, as you do during the harvest period and then afterwards, after we’d finished working, we sat down at a local restaurant and just had a couple a glasses of wine with some sort of tapas-style food, just to unwind. And I think that really took, brought me back to my roots, and I think it was just a good chance to relax, take a deep breath, and then go again; but I think just being part of that culture, you know, the Italians know how to do it so well. Just to experience that was amazing.
You must have been in northern Italy, at a winery, if you were making Barolo?
Yeah. Quite the experience. That’s such a diverse experience to bring now to Shiraz, ’cause that’s a full-bodied wine in its own right, but a completely different style from what you’re making today.
Yeah, almost the opposite, really. It’s a challenging grape, but it was a lot of fun.
Yeah, I’m thinking four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie with Shiraz. That might be a good pairing. That’s funny. Okay, so Laurie says “You got into winemaking from your father. “Do you have children, and/or would you encourage them “to get into the business?” If you do or don’t.
No children yet, but I think… I’ll never pressure them to do it, but I think this sort of, the wine culture kind of sucks you in. I think what most people that work in it, they do it full of love and of passion, so I think that would probably rub off.
I think it does, yeah. Starting at age 10, the recruitment begins.
Yeah, exactly, bit by the–
I’m not sure, I know you’re in a different location from where you plan to be. I don’t know if you have wines in front of you, Tim, and/or all the wines you had, ’cause I have, I think, about eight in front of me. Do you have any white wines? Yeah, you have them, great. Shall we start with some whites? Is that where you’d like to start? We’ll go through all of them because I have to say, the Rieslings that you sent, or that your team sent, are extraordinary. I know our focus is going to be on Shiraz tonight, but I have the Peter Lehmann Portrait Shiraz. I know you can’t quite see my camera, but Peter Lehmann Portrait Shiraz. Sorry, Riesling. Got Shiraz on the brain. Do you have that one?
I do, yep.
I got that in front of me.
Maybe you just want to say a few words about that. There it is. Great. As we taste that one.
Yeah, so this is a pretty classic Eden Valley Riesling. It’s made from a blend of about six different growers, and the Eden Valley is a little bit higher in elevation as opposed to the Barossa Valley. It’s about 550 metres, and the Barossa hovers around 300 metres above sea level; so you get cooler nights, really schist-y, sort of shale-y soil, very tough conditions for the vines, but perfect for growing Riesling, and Peter Lehmann has really, I guess, been a really strong advocate for Eden Valley Riesling, and we always pride ourselves on making, trying to make the best Riesling each year.
Position us, if you could for a moment, between the Eden Valley and the Barossa. Where are they in relation to each other?
They’re only about a 20-minute drive. However, you’re sort of behind the Barossa. There’s a valley…
Oh, sorry, a range of hills, and over that range of hills, just directly behind there, is where the Eden Valley is. It sort of goes along flat, and then rises up, and then you get the Eden Valley.
Okay. It’s like they disagree with you. I’ve got both: I’ve got the Barossa Riesling, the Portrait; and I’ve got the Wigan Eden Valley. I think you were starting to describe the Wigan Eden Valley. How would you differentiate the two Rieslings as well, in style now?
The Wigan is our very best Riesling vintage. That’s quite often a single vineyard. We bottle it in the year of vintage. However, we hold on to it in the cellar for five years and then release it at five years, once we feel it’s developed some of those toasty sort of characters, and it’s had a bit of a so it’s not as that searing acid. That’s sort of softened out a little bit. But this time of year, a perfect match to any sort of seafood in that sort of warmer weather.
It’s gorgeous, I must say. And I don’t want to scare anyone off, but when I say petrol, I mean it in a loving, good way. But it’s like wet stone, petrol, and it’s just, it’s so iconic and so savory, like, you know, I think there’s a savory-ness to this wine that you often don’t get with white wines. Often in reds, but not so much in the whites.
Yeah, you get the…
And this is just beautiful.
That real mineral sort of, the lime juice character, which we love, and 2012’s an incredible vintage. It’s probably one of the best we’ve ever seen, so this wine will age for 15, 20 years, maybe? We don’t really know, ’cause it, it’s one to hold in the cellar for a little while and see how it develops.
Absolutely. All right, so I’m going to bring out the, I don’t know if you have the Margaret Semillon from the Barossa.
Always interesting. Semillon goes through sort of a dumb stage, isn’t that it? Like a mute stage or whatever? Does it go through a low, a bottle low? And when does that happen, usually?
It’s usually the first two or three years after we bottle it. It’s quite neutral, very, very, quiet, and they give it three to five years, and that really opens up and becomes amazing, so you’ve sort of the rewards of patience with this one. You’ve got to hold on to it, and really just wait for it to expand, because it is an incredible wine. You’ve just got to give it time.
And how would you differentiate Semillon for us, particularly the kind you make, the style you make, from Riesling or other white wines? What is it about Semillon? What are we looking for that might be key aromas in this wine?
For us, we’re trying to pick it quite early, so we’re looking for not any green characters, but more lemon sherbet character. You can really taste it in the grapes, and that’ll sort of develop that lemon, then it’ll become sort of a little bit honeyed in character, a bit of that buttered toast in development, but really you don’t want any sort of tropical flavors, any of that overripe or riper characters. The wine won’t age as well if it goes into that riper spectrum, so that’s really what we’re trying to aim for.
Okay, great, awesome. All right, I’m going to refresh the Facebook page, because I have been captivated by the conversation and the wines, so I’m not ignoring you folks. Please keep posting as you…Those birds. Okay, Julian, “the volume’s good for me.” All right, good, excellent. Why don’t we move into the reds? Those are the only whites that I have, Tim. Where would you like to start on reds? I have Clancy’s, I have the Barossa, my Portrait. Where would you like to start?
I think we’ll go with the Clancy’s.
Yes, and this is a real value-priced wine. They’re very excited about it. Is that like, bird-speak for three thumbs up or something? Omigod.
I think so, yes.
We’ll get a couple of, we got a couple of people on it now. They’re trying to, hang on.
They’re fighting the birds. It’s going to get louder. All right, well, so tell us about Clancy’s, because I’ve recommended this a lot on my best value list. It’s incredible wine for the money, but tell us what goes into this, and how it relates to your other wines in your lineup.
Yeah, so I guess it’s a blend of Cabernet, Shiraz, and Merlot, which are the three principal varieties grown in the Barossa. Not necessarily in that order, but yeah, you’ll find those varieties planted most widely in the Barossa, and it’s just a classic sort of Australian red blend, something that’s a little bit more easy drinking. The Cabernet dominates, so you’re getting a lot of those lovely Cabernet tannins, but the Shiraz and Merlot sort of softening that out as well. For us in Australia, it’s the perfect sort of barbecue red on a warmer spring evening or something.
Absolutely, and spring for you as we head into sort of deep winter here, but it’s just as versatile here. It’s warming and good for hearty fare. But this would work with turkey as well, ’cause it’s so supple and smooth, there’s not, there’s no grippy tannins; it’s just smooth and supple. And I can’t recall offhand what the price is, but I’m sure it’s $15 or less here in Canada. Something like that; could be even less than that, but it’s a really good deal. Fantastic, so where would you go next after this one?
I think we go with the Portrait blend.
All right, yep. Sure. Here we go, Portrait Shiraz. I have it. Here we go. Do you want to go Portrait Cab or Portrait Shiraz first?
We can go Shiraz first.
Okay, why don’t we? Okay, and this is one that’s readily available here in Canada. Seems like one holdout in the background. One ringleader is like still trying to rally the others.
Oh, we’ve got someone spraying water at them.
I don’t want to be responsible for unfair treatment of birds. Wow, they just went. Maybe feed them somewhere else.
That’s uncanny. And suddenly the birds went silent. Okay, I hope it’s just water you’re using.
I know, it’s just really weird.
Okay, so we’ve got the Portrait Shiraz, all right?
This is a great introduction to Barossa Shiraz, and what we do best; and it’s a collection. Peter Lehmann has over 140 growers that bring in fruit into the winery, so we don’t own a lot of vineyards. We were sort of founded on the growers bringing us their fruit, and this Portrait Shiraz is a collection of about 16 of those growers, so it’s a really good way to sort of introduce yourself to the Barossa Shiraz, and it’s sort of that really red fruit…
A little bit of pepper and chocolate, that sort of, yeah, just a great sort of… I think this with a pizza on a Saturday night, if you’re relaxing, is pretty much perfect.
Yeah, so juicy, so wonderful, and yet I’m starting to see or feel the added structure that’s here, the added structure and balance versus the Clancy’s; it’s lovely. Again, really value-priced, the whole lineup. Paul is saying “locally, we have Clancy’s “and the Portrait Cab and Shiraz. “No whites though, ugh,” he said. “Looking for the whites.” Sam in BC, who teaches wine classes, says “could Tim talk a bit about the alcohol levels in the reds? “A friend bought a Shiraz the other day. “It was 15.9, almost to the fortified category.” I’m not sure that he’s talking about your wine, but I think an Australian wine. Let’s look at this one. This one’s 14.5, which I think for Australian Shiraz in the heart of the Barossa, a very warm climate, is pretty balanced with the fruit. It certainly doesn’t taste warm.
Yeah, I think…
The Barossa’s undergoing a little bit of a renaissance, and you’re seeing those alcohols actually come back, so it surprises me that there was one that was 15.9, ’cause really, a lot of people are going around that 14.5 and maybe a little bit more, and that’s sort of where everybody’s trending…
There’s always-Going to be a few outliers of course, but even lower than that, you know, 13% Shiraz, I’ve seen before, and that’s quite spicy and red-fruited. But for Lehmann’s, we’ve always been around that 14.5 sort of percent, which we feel is about right for our style.
Well, again, it’s about balance, so if you have the alcohol in balance with the fruit ripeness, the tannins, the structure, the acid, everything, then you’ve got a complete package, a wine that doesn’t taste hot because the heat of the alcohol sticks out, as long as everything, again, comes down to balance I think.
Yeah, yeah, it…
Yeah, yeah. Sam says “it was a lower-priced wine with a catchy label. “I always suspect catchy labels.” Okay, it wasn’t a Peter Lehman wine. Okay, thanks for clarifying, Sam. Steven Andrew says “hello from Waterloo. “I’m waiting for my new granddaughter.” Ah, so “to be born. “I’ll be drinking your Shiraz in celebration tonight, Tim.” You’re toasting in a new life tonight, your wines. Woo-hoo.
Yeah, absolutely. That’s fantastic. All right. Should we go over to the Cabernet now, or where would you like to go next?
Yeah, I think we can do Cabernet.
The Peter Lehmann Portrait Cabernet. Always interesting to look at the differences here between the Shiraz and the Cabernet.
Cabernet in Australia is undergoing a little bit of a revolution, and it’s starting to, the wheels are starting to turn, and it’s starting to gain a bit more popularity. It’s sort of been hiding in the shadows for a little while, with Shiraz absolutely in the foreground; but Cabernet for us, I remember Peter Lehmann always said to me that “I never forget about Cabernet.” You sort of, you can’t forget about it. He focused on Shiraz, but in certain years, Cabernet in the Barossa can actually be better than Shiraz. I know that’s a big call, but yeah, it does just age phenomenally.
Yeah, this one’s got a lot of minty cool, that eucalyptus, blackberry-ripe, but very structured, very elegant, long finish.
That’s the, yeah, I think you’ve summed that up. I think that it’s–
Oh no, you…
Like their PCs…
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Feel free to jump in. Mm, wow, quite a difference. Completely different wine from the Shiraz. Just so beautifully structured.
Yeah, I think you get some really cool Cabernets in Australia, and our growers are doing a really good job. Coonawara, some great Cabernets coming out of there, and the Barossa’s got its own style as well, so it’s a really interesting varietal on the Australian market.
Absolutely, and you know what surprises me in a good way about this is that it’s got such great balancing acidity. It’s not flabby, overripe or whatever, heavy. It’s lee-th, and it’s got that juicy, wake-up-your-senses acidity along the sides of your mouth. It’s quite nice. Again, I’m thinking of more bird dishes to go with it, but anyway. That will be a meme in this conversation. All right. Murray Johnson, “what price range are your wines, “if I’ve missed that already?” I’m not sure if Tim knows off by heart the Canadian prices. Clancy’s I’m sure comes in at under $15, and it’s okay, folks…
Because I will include in the comments here a link to all of the wines, so on the blog post, where we eventually embed this video and you can re-watch it to your heart’s delight, we also post all the wines, which link to the different liquor stores, whether it’s LCBO, BC, SAQ, wherever. Their prices and their availability in the stores closest to you, so all of that’s there, and I’ll re-pin that at the end of the conversation, but the wines so far, roughly speaking, I mean, I’m probably taking a guess, the Portrait, $20, $25, somewhere in that range?
I’ve got it here: the Portrait’s about $20; Clancy’s, $18.
Oh, that’s great.
This is, this is LCBO prices.
Yes, that’s what we want.
They all look about the same.
Canadian prices, yeah.
The Barossa, which we’ll taste next…
Is priced about $23, so a little bit of a step up.
Yep, absolutely, good segue. Let’s go onto the Barossa. All right Murray, there you go: you’re welcome. And Laurie’s saying “what is “the alcohol level in the Cabernet? “I have had the Shiraz that are fuller-bodied “than the Cabernet; is that the case?” On the Shiraz, we’ve got 14.5; and on the Cabernet, you probably know this off by heart, Tim, we’ve got 14.5 as well. The Shiraz feels fuller, bigger to me. Just the juiciness of the fruit itself, but the Cabernet is no-bin-pick wine. It comes off as longer and elegant.
Yeah, it’s not uncommon for the Cabernets to be more up there at 14%. Really finding for those overripe characteristics in it, just tastes like a bright red, really, for us.
Yeah, absolutely. All right, so I’ve just poured a splash of the Barossa. Maybe talk to us about how this is different from the wines we’ve just tasted.
This is one of our latest, if not our latest, release in the portfolio. You can see the label is actually modeled on a tasting book that was found in Peter Lehman’s cellar, so they’ve sort of found that design, and then gone “well, we could probably “dream up a label out of that.” And it’s quite textured, the label. It’s really cool. And it’s a little bit different, because we’ve actually gone back to using a bit of American oak as opposed to most of our wines, which are predominantly French oak.
French oak? And what difference does that make?
We feel it gives it a little bit more lift, really sort of a bit more spice and coconut. It was very, very popular back in the ’80s and ’90s, and then a lot of winemakers went to French oak, and now it’s sort of like they’ve “oh, let’s have a look at what American oak does,” and we’re really excited by the influence that it has on this wine, and we think that it really helps with fruit, get some lift in it, but it’s also very, very soft in the structure.
Okay, awesome. All right, Elaine Bruce in Calgary says “the tannin is so smooth; what oak do you use?” Ah, that’s just what we were talking about, Elaine. “What oak do you use, and for how long? “We have the Cab Portrait too.” Again, we’re talking American versus French oak. Yes, we answered while you were asking. Just, you’re mind-reading, Elaine. Steven Andrew says “Barossa Shiraz is so nice. “Get the barbie going and slap on a steak.” Absolutely, Steven, great.
That’s beautiful, and yet I see this step up here, in quality and just the texture, the structure again. It’s really illuminating, tasting these side by side. If I just had one at a time, you know, I wouldn’t know. But this way, you really see and hear the difference. I think this would go with grilled uh, grilled magpie.
The beautiful magpies this morning.
Okay. Right then. Now, I still have one more wine here that I was sent, and that is The Futures. Maybe to tell us what The Futures means, like why it was named that, and what’s in it?
Yeah, so when Peter Lehmann first started the company, he didn’t have a lot of money to pay the growers, so actually, he said to them “I’ll make the wine, “and I’ll sell it on the market in a couple of years’ time “once the wine’s ready, and once I start making “some money from that wine, then I can start paying you.” There’s that sort of two-year futures program which he set up, and this wine is…
Sorry, I’m not quite hearing that, Tim: what did he say? It was sold, can you repeat that last bit?
Yeah, and so he sold the grapes, he sold the wine to these outside makers, and with that money, he used that to pay back the growers that sold him the fruit, so there’s a bit of the futures pact that he had. Fortunately, it paid off, ’cause we’re still here today, nearly 40 years on.
Okay, awesome. Now, is this a blend? No, it’s Shiraz, it’s all Shiraz.
All Shiraz, so this is from 2014, great vintage. It’s a little bit of a step up from the Barossa in terms of structure: 13% new French oak, so there’s a bit more French oak influence. And that’s a little bit more loosely structured. You’re getting more black fruit. That was a loud one. And, this is one that you really want to put in the cellar for a few years, just to let it sort of develop.
Absolutely, this one’s just gorgeous. I mean, so what makes, you said the 2014 was a good vintage. What makes it a good vintage in Barossa? What are you looking for that really brings it together and makes it a better vintage than others?
The Barossa is a Mediterranean climate, so we get quite warm, dry summers, but we don’t want it to get too hot. The last we want is a heat wave where it’ll leave 10 days of about 35 degrees Celsius and that can really put a strain on the grapes, particularly when they’re, or the vines rather, when they’re about to, or the grapes are about to be ripe. If we can, if there’s no heat waves and it stays warm and dry throughout, it’s pretty much for us the perfect vintage. 2014 was certainly that. There was a bit of rain in January, which sort of helped the grapes, little bit of moisture in the vines rather, and then after that it was a pretty mild, cool season after that, so they were very, very happy.
That’s fantastic. And I should say I have been lax a little bit tonight in saying that, well first of all, if you’ve just joined us, Elaine says she wants to see the birds. You’re here on the Sunday Sipper Club. This is the National Geographic edition. We are out in the wilds of Australia with Tim Dolan, Peter Lehmann Wines, and the kookaburras and the magpies and everything else just waiting to get into the glasses of wine he has poured. Little do they know they shall be appearing tonight on the table.
But we gather here every Sunday, folks, at 6:00 p.m. eastern, that’s Toronto/New York time, to talk to the most interesting people and wildlife in the world of wine. I should say, if you share this video, so if you click on Share, you can be eligible to get a premium bottle of Peter Lehmann Shiraz. Well, I’ll announce the winner next week, so click Share, and make a comment when you share. At the end of tonight’s broadcast, I’ll be announcing the winner of last week’s Share contest, and that will be a winner of Bianca Bosker’s New York Time’s bestselling wine book The Cork Dork.
So while you’re there, click on Follow, and you’ll know when we go live. Alrighty, so got to stay focused here. Those birds want to take us off track. All right, I think those are all of the wines I have, Tim. Maybe just, I’ll see what other comments come in. We’re already almost at the 45-minute mark, which the time has gone like that, as it often does. Kind of, what’s the most memorable thing anyone’s ever said about your wines? Can you recall any comments that stood out over your career so far? I know it hasn’t been long yet, but…
I think some of the most memorable moments have been getting some praise from some friends that I know are very honest. They’re not afraid to tell it like it is. And particularly my winemaking friends, you know, might produce if there’s some positive feedback from them, I think that’s been some really memorable sort of experiences. What else? Yeah. It’s just a lot of fun really, but certainly vintage and making the wines and seeing the wines develop, that’s for me the best experience you can have.
That’s fantastic. Laurie says “I was reading about your very special “vineyard collection; do you think you will have “a vintage this year?”
We’ve got in, we’ve got a couple that we’ve just made in 2017, and we’re about to bottle our 2016s in January, so you should see them come on the market next year.
Fantastic, all right. I’ve got just some quick questions to finish off. They’re just for fun, Tim. Short answers are fine, whatever comes top of mind. I don’t even know if you’ve turned 30, but what advice would you give to your 30-year-old self, or maybe your 20-year-old self, if that’s not relevant yet? What advice would you give to your younger self? Just starting out in this world?
You know, I think just don’t sweat the small stuff. Just, you don’t want to take life too seriously. It’s just all about having fun, I think.
Yeah, absolutely, great. What’s the best piece of wine advice you’ve ever received?
My former boss, Andrew Wigan, who’s the chief winemaker at the… or a said to me “you make your own luck.” I’ve always taken that on board.
“You make your own luck.” Love it. What’s the most useful wine gadget you’ve ever come across?
I’ve seen a few friends of mine have the Coravin. I don’t have one myself, but that’s been really cool. That’s sort of…
Yeah, I think, you don’t want to have to drink the whole bottle at once, I think that’s a really good idea–
And just for anybody who’s not familiar, a needle goes down in the cork. You don’t take the cork out. You can pour a little bit of wine without removing the cork, and then it reseals. The cork reforms around the needle puncture. I just got one of those for myself, actually. I’m looking forward to trying it out over the holidays.
Yeah, now I think they’re developing with a screw cap as well, which is an amazing technology. I’d like to see that.
That is somethin’. If you could share a person, a bottle of wine with anyone outside the wine world, living or dead, who would that be?
Ooh. This may be a little clichè, but I’ve always admired Nelson Mandela, so probably him. I’d probably ask him whether he liked the wine.
If he liked the wine? That’s great.
It would be amazing to listen to him and…
Yeah, absolutely. He’s a hero. Now is there anything we haven’t covered that you’d like to add before we sort of wrap up?
Not really. I apologize for the birds.
That’s okay; it made for an interesting backdrop. It really did, yeah. We forged through and they sound like they need to be fed.
Yeah, I think so, Monday morning. They’re a bit hungry after the weekend.
I really encourage everybody to come to the Barossa, and you’re always most welcome to come.
Taste the wine, and yeah…
Yeah, I visited the Peter Lehmann winery when I was in Australia. It’s an extraordinary experience, a great tasting room, lots of great restaurants in the area, so I underscore your point there. It’s a really great one, Tim. So Tim, I’m going to wrap up. I want to thank you so much for joining us tonight, especially despite all of the challenges. I really appreciate you persisting, ’cause we were all looking forward to hearing from you, and it’s been a great discussion. And of course, you can always watch the replay, anybody who has missed part of this conversation. I’m going to stay online for another 10 or 15 minutes, folks, but for now, we’ll say goodnight to Tim and to the birds. But I look forward to chatting with you again in the future, Tim.
Okay, take care.
It’s been great, cheers.
Okay, bye-bye, cheers.
Bye, have a good Christmas.
Yes, you too.
All right, folks. Whoa, that was a lot of birds. “Futures is awesome,” yes Elaine, it is indeed awesome. Oh Beverly, you like your Coravin. Awesome. Okay folks, so that was interesting. Challenging, but I’m glad we were able to make that work, and that Tim and his team Down Under persisted. Let me do some of the usual things we do at this time of night. Don’t forget, I’ll be announcing a winner at the end of this chat.
First of all, what’s the most interesting thing you learned during our conversation tonight? If you could please post that in the comments below. Was it something about the Barossa? Anything Tim said. Maybe it was just how noisy the birds are in that region. But I would love to hear from you below.
As I said, if you take a moment to share this conversation, I should talk about what’s happening next week, because we are on holiday break, but still, the person who, or one person who shares this conversation tonight will win a bottle of premium Peter Lehmann Shiraz; so share it, add a comment with your Share, and while you’re at it, if you follow this page, you’ll always know when we go live with a conversation with some of these really, really, interesting guests.
Just want to let you know that you can find me at any of these social media links. It’s basically Natalie MacLean forward slash. Facebook will take you to my actual Facebook page. The same with Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram, and I always encourage everyone to join our Wine Tribe at nataliemaclean.com, because we have lots of fun there. We have the newsletter, we have wine picks, all kinds of stuff happening there.
Let me get back to here in the comments. “Thank you Tim; it was informative and fun,” says Ann. “Merry Christmas, thank you,” says Beverly.
I also wanted to again, just let you know, that just hours from now, the registration for my wine course, The Quick Start to get Wine Smart, is closing. It’s going to be a lot of fun. It doesn’t start till January. It’s a series of live interactive video workshops, all of which are recorded so you can re-watch them if you miss one, or if you just want to re-watch it and get the information a little deeper into your consciousness, you can do that. You have lifetime access to all of that.
Sam, “glad to hear about the move towards “lower-alcohol wines in the Barossa.” Absolutely, “and I was surprised to hear “of the move back to more use of American oak. “Thanks for the program.” You’re welcome, Sam.
Let me just check that I have not forgotten something tonight, because I am trying to follow more of a structure here.
Okay, so let me talk about next week and the following week. As you know, it’s the holidays, so I love being consistent and showing up for you every week, every Sunday, no matter what, because I think that’s what builds a program and a community, and we certainly have done that this year. We’ve almost had a year of these Sunday Sipper Club gatherings.
Next week is Christmas, and then we’ve got New Year’s and so on, and I’m going to be taking off with my family to Mexico in the New Year. Our first Sunday Sipper Club back will be January 14th. I may go live just casually, and non-scheduling-like in the interim to share with you some holiday bottles, but it’s not going to be one of those regular Sunday Sipper Clubs with a guest.
I’ve already got six guests lined up for the New Year, some really amazing guests. The head of the Masters of Wine Institute, Jane Masters. Just a coincidence that her last name is that. There’s a gentleman in Toronto who teaches wine, importing wine for pleasure and profit, so if you’ve ever thought of that as a sideline, you’re going to want to catch that show.
We’ve got the winner of the Canada’s Best Sommelier competition, Elyse Lambert from Quebec. A raft of great guests coming your way.
Paul, I’m not sure what you mean by that comment, withdrawals. Oh yes, during the holiday, I guess, there’ll be some withdrawals, okay. I need to announce the winner of last week’s Sunday Sipper Club Share, and that would be a personally-signed book of Bianca Bosker’s New York Times bestseller, the Cork Dork. And that is going to Richelle O’Connor, and I’m not sure that Richelle is here with us tonight, but she was last week. And Richelle, that book is coming your way.
Guys, if you have ideas for Sunday Sipper Club guests, please post them in the comments below. I’m always looking at that during and after our conversations. If you’re watching the replay, please do comment. We get our guests to come back and comment and respond to all the questions. I always encourage the guests to come back and do that, so that we catch every thing and everyone feels that they were acknowledged and heard, because your participation is extremely valuable in these conversations, and I truly do value it. Please do that; Tim Dolan will be coming back, I hope, later tonight, which is tomorrow his time, to respond to you, so keep those comments going.
Not sure that I can think of anything more, but I wish you Happy Happy Holidays to you and your family, your loved ones. Thank you again, thanks everyone for your well wishes. Steven Andrews, Laurie, Beverly, Paul, et cetera. Everybody, so good, and I’m glad. I’ll miss you too, but we’ll be back again live doing this. You can watch the reruns like we all do over the holidays. Miracle on 34th Street, whatever. Maybe not quite that. Anyway, take care for now. That’s it, and I will see you in the New Year. Cheers.