Skip to main content

Chateau Tanunda – Bringing The Thunder From Down Under

-->
Chateau Tanunda, Barossa Valley - picture courtesy of http://www.chateautanunda.com/
Chateau Tanunda has been described as the birthplace of the Barossan wine industry.  The site of the first vine plantings (1840s). In 1994, it was placed on the Register Of State Heritage Places.  However, by the time its current owner, the inimitable John Geber, discovered it in 1998, it was neglected and in disrepair.   It has taken vision, passion and not a little effort and investment to return this iconic estate to its former glory. 

John has now turned his attention to the US market, evangelizing their brand and seeking feedback on their product.  I was fortunate to meet him several months ago. I found him to be a genuine and passionate guy who is proud of his brand, and genuinely interested in making it better.  Recently, I took the opportunity to review some of their offerings.  Here is a summary of my thoughts.


2012 Chateau Tanunda Dry Riesling – Pale gold in color with aromatics of feshly squeezed lime and crisp Golden Delicious apple.  On the palate, it provides a decent attack, with incisive acidity, cleansing lime, granny smith apple skin, with almost grainy saline-driven minerality. A core of pear and apple combine with lime and lemon zest to provide bitter-tinged edge to a persistent finish. Great quality and interest in a bone dry Riesling at a price point ($17) that makes it almost imperative to try. I readily give this 90 points. If all of the wines perform like this, Tanunda could be (arguably) on the path to an Aussie wine renaissance. 

2013 Chateau Tanunda Barossa Chardonnay – enthusiastic aromatics highlighted by tropical fruits, pineapple, melon, nectarine, meyer lemon, and a light chalky note. The palate is soft and round, enriched by pineapple and mango. The attack and midpalate are edged by lemon pith and baking spice – pursued by a persistent finish and decent acidity. At $16 I would give this a solid 88 points – strong effort.


2009 Chateau Tanunda Grand Barossa Shiraz  - it’s easy to greet an Aussie Shiraz with some preconceived notions.  Here, I tried hard to make my notes a genuine reflection of a naïve encounter with a new wine.  Opaque in color, a deep inky ruby gave rise to dusty black currant, sweet ripe dark fruit and cocoa aromatics, accompanied by an interesting note of orange zest.  Odd, you might say but there nonetheless.

On the palate, blackberry, black currant and red currant combine in a sweet ripe core edged by pepper, iodine and some salinity. Bitter cherry and a lightly dusty, tannic spine support a full-bodied palate with dense core of fruit that is gently cleansed and lifted by decent acidity.  At under $20 I gave this 89 points.  A solid wine with character and room for personal growth.

2009 Chateau Tanunda Grand Barossa Cabernet – the aromatics are ebullient! Blueberries and red currant explode from the glass, accompanied by smoke, meat and a herb-like sage / underbrush note (courtesy of the blended Cab Franc). The palate of blackberry / currant and raspberry, pepper spice, mint and dark chocolate are enveloped in a fine grained palatal texture with good acidity. The wine feels well proportioned with a persistent finish driven by dark fruit and dusty tannin.  Again, a wine worthy of 89 points at the $20 price point.


2010 Noble Baron Shiraz – I had been looking forward to this wine. Dense and opaque, crimson at the rim, blackberry and raspberry, smoke, vanilla, and spice aromatics flood the air.  The Baron displays a velvety texture on the attack, coursing with a focused stream of blackberry compote and kirsch, dark chocolate-covered acai/dried cherry. The finish is gently encased by a bitter edge of herb and decent acidity, integrated in fine-grained tannin and leather.  At $50, this earns 90 points from me – a delicious effort, still with a lot of horses under the hood.

I would pair the Noble Baron with some wood fire baked meatballs in marinara, layered over some fresh spaghetti (al dente).

All in all, I enjoyed this showing from Chateau Tanunda.  Sure, there is room for growth, development and refinement in these wines, but it looks like they are headed in the right direction.  These are wines with great value for money. I look forward to trying them in future vintages and learning how they develop.

You can catch other bottle notes and pictures on my twitter account - please drop in and follow @BruisedGrape .  Your comments are always appreciated!

Disclosure:  Media samples were provided by Banfi wines for the review process.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Champagne Uncorked: A Visit to Champagne Louis Roederer

“I'll drink your champagne. I'll drink every drop of it, I don't care if it kills me.”  ― F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gatsby Girls
My first trip to Champagne, was for me, a complete success. I came away from the trip with a brand new appreciation and a deeper desire to get to know it so much better. With each trip to France, I come away with a profound new respect for the country and its people. I've become a Francophile. A place, I barely knew or understood twelve years ago, back before I started this wine journey I'm currently on. I know this will sound cliched, but I like to think of wine as a journey, it's not a destination.

Each stone you overturn on the pathway to discovery develops greater understanding and appreciation not only for the wine but for the great folks behind these labels, who bring great traditions and passion to the table. It's evident in what they say, how they say it and oh-so-evident in the final product, passion is a sure 'seller' a…

Five Last-Minute Thanksgiving Wine Buys

"The three things that make a vineyard great are the climate, the soil, and the exposure. Bien Nacido Vineyard ~ James Ontiveros  

Another wonderful year is nearly ready to put in the can and stored away for posterity. But every year at this time we collectively take the time-out to give a "thanks" for our many blessings.Every year at this time, I give my Top Five Thanksgiving Holiday Wine 'picks' and this year is no exception. I know my post is a bit "danger" close for those wanting to stock up for the holiday, but this short and sweet guide is for the procrastinators who've waited for the last minute to hear about five Oregon Pinot Noir selections to brighten up their holiday menus for Thursdays big feast. 

The Willamette Valley in Oregon is known as a 'mecca' of sorts, where powerful, yet delicate, soulful Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and Chardonnay is grown, fermented, aged and bottled. I've recently become a resident of this state, much t…

A Spoonful of Social Media

“You can buy attention [advertising]. You can beg for attention from the media [PR], or you can bug people one at a time to get attention (sales). Or you can earn attention by creating something interesting and valuable and then publishing it online for free.” –David Meerman Scott, Best-Selling Author & Speaker

It was just about four years ago in downtown Paso Robles that Mrs. Cuvee and I were visiting the area, which we try to do as often as possible. We love to hit the wine trail nice and early, but before we head out for the day, we make it a point to have a big breakfast. Since we were staying at the Paso Robles Inn, we thought we'd have breakfast there at least once, the food was tasty, the service was excellent, and the coffee was hot. 

Just one thing was missing that morning; there were no spoons, yes you heard me right, not even a single spoon anywhere to stir cream and sugar into my coffee. We looked at the tables behind us, nothing, we looked into the server station, t…