Wild White

The excitement of vintage seemed like only yesterday. But this week, the first of our 2018 wines was bottled! Here are the first boxes of our Somerled 2018 Sauvignon Blanc hot off the bottling line!

The wine finished cold stability early last week and was filtered.  Rob did a final tasting at Lodestone during last week and decided it didn’t need any further additions or movement.  At that point, the tank was relocated into a temperature-controlled room to help bring it up to a good bottling temperature (around 15C).  Monday it was loaded onto the truck and off it went to Boutique Bottlers at Stockwell in the Barossa.  Rob and his brother-in-law Wal (you can just call him Uncle Wal!) were there to see it go into bottle yesterday.

In Rob’s words, “It’s a lovely pale, bright wine with a really lifted floral/perfumed nose and a delicate dry soft clean crisp palate.  Perfect aperitif!!” I think that means he’s happy!


Want to know a bit more about this popular, but sometimes unappreciated variety?

Sauvignon Blanc originated in the Loire Valley and Bordeaux regions in France. The name literally translates to “Wild White”. Sauvignon Blanc is also famous for parenting the noble grape, Cabernet Sauvignon, also from Bordeaux.

Sauvignon Blanc is a very flexible variety – it can be grown in a number of different climates, resulting in a range of styles. In Bordeaux’s maritime climate, Sauvignon Blanc produces wines with ripe full fruit flavour. While in the continental climate of the Loire Valley in western France, make wines of purity, minerality and length. In the Sauternes region of Bordeaux in south-west France, when blended with Semillon and aided by the Botrytis fungus, some of the world’s greatest sweet “dessert” style wines are produced.

The Marlborough region in New Zealand is probably one of the most well-known producers of Sauvignon Blanc these days, but we Aussies make some pretty good ones too (and not just of the Somerled variety!).

Aussie Sauvvie

As I’ve mentioned, Sauvignon Blanc differs greatly depending on the climate and soil in which the grapes are grown. Australian Sauvignon Blanc runs the gamut of flavour from herbal, grassy, sour citrus and gooseberry, to passionfruit and tropical fruit characters. Structurally these wines can be light in body and crisp or medium-bodied and rich. Some, like our Somerled Fume Blanc, are oaked to add a further dimension of complexity. Sauvignon Blanc is Australia’s top selling white wine in dollar terms.

Which region in Australia produces the best Sauvignon Blanc?

Well, of course, I’m going to say the Adelaide Hills! But, the truth is, they are all so different it would be unfair to compare them. Let’s take a closer look at each regions and the styles of Sauvignon Blanc they produce…

South Australia

While we share the same “cool climate” categorisation, the Adelaide Hills is slightly warmer than Marlborough. It is for this reason that we produce crisp, fresh Sauvignon Blanc with tropical flavours rather than the trademark grassy notes of our NZ counterparts. Coonawarra also produces some lovely cool climate Sauvignon Blancs

South Australia also produce some richer, riper examples in McLaren Vale and Langhorne Creek. These aren’t as popular here because we’re not used to this rich style in Australia.

Western Australia

Margaret River Sauvignon Blanc has ripe, zippy and grassy flavours that have attractive, tropical musky-asparagus aromas. Pemberton is a small Western Australian region that produces distinct Sauvignon Blanc styles with tropical fruit aromas and flavours.


Victoria’s cool regions produce some fresh and vibrant Sauvignon Blancs, with those from the Yarra being typically elegant and restrained. King Valley and Goulburn Valley Sauvignon Blanc is often grassy and also shows classic cool-climate freshness and vibrancy.


The cool Tasmanian climate is ideal for Sauvignon Blanc, that typically has high levels of crisp acidity, which gives the wine great freshness.

Orange, NSW

A relative newcomer – Orange’s cool climate and high altitude have proved to be ideal conditions for creating Sauvignon Blanc with fresh, herbaceous characters.

How does Rob make his Sauvignon Blanc so “mouth-watering”?

The secret to Rob’s amazing Sauvignon Blanc is that he likes to pick the fruit nice and early. That way, the soft acid or what he likes to call “mouth-watering” acid, is still present. The longer the fruit is left on the vine, the more it ripens – replacing the acid with sugar. If Rob picked it later, then he would need to add acid in the winery to create the same effect.

Rob also like to choose fruit from different parts of the vineyard to get a nice range of flavours. From ripe mango in the full sun areas to zingy passionfruit in the cooler, shadier morning sun rows.

The overall effect is a soft, mouth-watering, elegant Sauvignon Blanc!


If you’re a Jockey Club member, watch out for a bottle of this new release in an upcoming pack… it won’t be too far away. Once it has been released to the club you will be able to taste it at the cellar bar – why not pop in for a side by side comparison with the 2017 version?! (and a platter and another glass or two…!)

Thank you! … you know who you are.

A huge thank you to everyone who contributed to last week’s post with your great questions and feedback! Make sure you keep an eye on the blog for a post dedicated to your topic of interest.

Quiet excitement for our 2018 wines…

If you’re lucky enough to have met Rob, you’ll know that he is understated and unlikely to exaggerate his impressions. He’ll happily enough acknowledge that his wines are (more than) “drinkable”, but you won’t find him banging on about it!

That’s why his latest update from the winery has got me very excited! Read between the lines with me and you’ll discover we’re going to have an outstanding line-up of wines from vintage 2018.

Let’s have a look at Rob’s report from the winery today in his own words, with a translation here and there from me (which may or may not reflect the stated views of the winemaker!)…

Report on visit to Lodestone Winery – 24 May, 2018

Looked at all the wines and happy with all of them.

(See what I mean by understated?! Happy = ecstatic)

Sauvignon Blanc

Still cloudy in the tank, but the colour is great (awesome) – pale, with some of those nice green tints that reflect the early picking and really nice (top quality) fruit.

The nose is very delicate – slightly herbaceous rather the floral.  The palate is crisp. Too crisp for drinking at this stage, but we’ll be chilling the wine to ensure cold stability next week, and that will ease back the acid level.

Cold stabilisation

In some bottles of wine you may see a small deposit of crystals, particularly if the bottle has been stored in the refrigerator. These deposits are tartrate crystals – a natural part of the wine; they precipitate out under cold conditions. They are not harmful, however most consumers prefer their wine to be perfectly clear (particularly white wine).

To ensure this winemakers will, after fermentation, chill the wine and hold it at about minus 3 degrees Celsius to precipitate all or most of the unstable tartrate crystals before the wine is bottled.

Flavours are delicate too, but with a nice lingering finish. (The 2018 version of this Somerled favourite is going to be delicious, as usual!)

Fumé Blanc


Fume Blanc and sauvignon blanc samples
Notice the difference in colour between the Fume Blanc (on the left) and the Sauvignon Blanc (on the right)

Already darker in colour than the “standard” Sauvignon Blanc. This is due to its time in the barrel, with colour from the oak showing up.  Seeing as it has had only a short time in barrel, it’s impressive (high praise indeed!) to see that extra colour and even more so to see the enriching of the aromas and flavours.  The malolactic fermentation has influenced the nose and palate in a very nice way so that the wine is already starting to show complexity and interest (damn, this wine is going to be great! …or something like that).  It’s being stirred on a fortnightly basis.  This stirs up the lees from the bottom of the barrel, helping to develop a fuller texture and flavour.  It helps the bacteria to keep going too, as the malolactic fermentation hasn’t finished yet.



This is showing colour development too! (exclamation marks?! He must really be excited!) It’s even a bit deeper than the Fumé, and with really nice tints.  The nose is quite full, and the ongoing malolactic fermentation is adding such a nice (delightful) extra lift to the nose – almost a maturity to it.

The palate has quite a dense flavour and it really lingers.  There are some nice oak aromas and flavours, and it’s almost savoury rather than fruity.  It’s going really well (OMG… Heather is going to love this!).

Pinot Rosé

Pale and very dry as all good rosés should be.  It’s not showing a great deal in the way of malolactic fermentation (MLF) influence – aromas and flavours are still “pinot fruit” without strong complexing effect from the MLF.  But that will come.  We’ll have an update on the progress of the MLF tomorrow.  It’s still very crisp, so further MLF will be ideal to soften it up!!

Pinot Dry Red

This is looking very nice indeed.  It’s all the way through MLF and sulphur dioxide has been added, as previously reported.  It’s still quite cloudy so it will be pumped out of barrel into a tank and settled for a bit, then racked back into washed out barrels.  The barrels will, apart from one new one, all be well matured, as we don’t want too much oak to show through. The nose is showing that lovely young pinot perfume that will get more prominent as it sits in barrel. I think that as the wine becomes clearer and less cloudy, those aromas will float up more easily.  The palate is surprisingly rich for a pinot and has almost a sweetness about it, even though the residual sugar in the wine is negligible.  It could be our best pinot dry red yet, as I think I’ve already said!! (more exclamation marks! Boy, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen rob THIS excited!)


Back by popular demand!

Paella paired with a glass of Tempranillo = match made in heaven!

Serving lunch at our next Harvest day on Sunday, June 3 and this time we’re supporting Catherine House – Support for Women Experiencing Homelessness and we’d love you to bring any of the following items:

  • liquid body-wash
  • facial cleanser
  • facial moisturiser
  • hair colour
  • sunscreen
  • deodorant spray.

We’ll then deliver our stash to Catherine House who will distribute them to women in need – these simple items will make a big difference.

Lunch $25 – Click here to book
Have a look at the Catherine House wish list here.

What next for the 2015 Shiraz?

The 2015 Shiraz is currently being prepped for bottling and will be ready for your glass….. mid-2019. Ok, ok, I know it’s a way off yet, but this little beauty needs a lot of love and care before it’s ready to drink. Let’s a have a closer look at what is happening behind the scenes.

Rob Moody, Somerled winemaker, pictured in the barrel hallSo, a couple of weeks ago you would have read that the 2015 Shiraz has been in barrel for well over two and a half years. It has now been racked out of those barrels for the last time and is sitting in tank waiting for the next steps in the process.

Step 1: Fining

Firstly, a specific quantity of fining agent will be added to the tank to bind all the unwanted compounds in the wine together in clumps so they sink to the bottom of the tank.

The purpose of adding a fining agent to wine is to soften or reduce its astringency and/or bitterness; remove proteins capable of haze formation; or reduce colour by the adsorption and precipitation of polymeric phenols and tannins (in white wines). The fining agent reacts with wine components either chemically or physically, to form a new complex that can separate from the wine (Australian Wine Research Institute)

Commonly-used fining agents include…

  • Gelatine
  • Isinglass (derived from fish!)
  • Egg albumen
  • Casein
  • Skim Milk
  • Bentonite
  • Carbon
  • Polyvinylpolypyrrolidone (PVPP)

Rob Moody in the lab with the Somerled 2015 ShirazThis is a photo of a very serious looking Rob in the winery last week trying to decide which fining agent to use on the Shiraz. The quantity and type of agent used can cause subtle changes in the structure and taste of a wine.  Although Rob adores the 15 Shiraz as is, he did wonder if it needed a little softening on the tannins. So, in the lab, he compared samples using 50 parts per million (ppm) of gelatin, 100 ppm gelatin and one using PVPP against the standard to come up with the right one for the job. The sample using 100 ppm gelatin was the winner – the tannins were softened nicely and the middle palate became a lot rounder and softer, without damaging any other characters of the wine.

Step 2: Cold stabilisation

Have you ever drunk a wine and found what looks like shards of glass in the bottom of the bottle or, even worse, your glass? Well, don’t freak out… it’s not glass, but completely harmless and natural tartrate crystals which can form when a wine hasn’t been properly temperature stabilised. They are scientifically known as potassium bitartrate, but if you’re a whizz in the kitchen you might also know them as cream of tartar!

Tartrates occur in wines when potassium and tartaric acid, both naturally occurring products of grapes, bind together to form a crystal. They are a normal bi-product of a wine as it ages, but cold temperatures (usually below around 4 degrees Celsius) can make them naturally combine with potassium to form a crystal.

The way to avoid this happening is to force this process in the winery before bottling. The tank is chilled down so far that ice forms on the outside and the tartrates form and sink to the bottom.

Step 3: Filtration

So, now that we have all these clumps (!) and crystals in the wine, what to do with them?

The final step in the process is to pass the wine through a filter on its way to the bottling line. This will remove all those unwanted particles and leave us with a beautifully clean wine, ready to be enjoyed by you…… in a year or so. But, hey! We have plenty of 2013 (and the 2014 still to come) to keep us going until then.

It should also be pointed out that the removal of these tiny fractions adds to the remarkable cellaring potential of Rob’s wines. Last weekend, I was lucky enough to sip on a 1998 Shiraz that Rob made and it definitely did NOT taste like a 20 year old wine! So, not only will we be enjoying Rob’s 2013 Shiraz at the cellar bar this weekend but also for years to come (if we can hang onto it for that long!).

Looking for something to do this weekend? If you’re in Adelaide and would like to see what the 2015 will taste like this time next year, we have a few bottles of 2014 that we’ll open for tasting at the Cellar Bar in Handorf. Mention this post for your chance to try it before anyone else does!

Stop the presses!

(did you see what I did there?!)

Last week, I explained what was happening with the Sparkling vintages in the pipeline. If you missed it, catch up here.

Since then, Rob has filled us in on some sneaky experimenting he has been doing behind our backs.

Back in 2012 he kept two barrels of 2012 Sparkling aside with the view to adding them to the 2013 – he had the idea that adding slightly aged wine to the sparkling would increase it’s body and complexity. In the end, he only used one of those barrels.

Anyway, the point is, it’s been racked off into bottles and shaken down (to get the lees into the neck ready for disgorging) and now Rob is testing out ideas for it. Watch this space…!