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Monday 1 August 2016

One of the biggest days on the wine calendar: Wynnsday

The Wynns winemaking team
It is one of the most eagerly awaited dates on the Australian wine calendar. For a few decades now Wynnsday - the launch of the new premium wines from Wynns Coonawarra Estate - has been held on the first Wednesday of August. 

I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek at the six wines from the 2013 and 14 vintages - and what a collection it is.

Winemakers Sue Hodder and Sarah Pidgeon, aided and abetted by viticulturist Allen Jenkins, have put together perhaps the most consistently excellent Wynnsday collections I can remember - and I go back to the first Wynnsdays in Coonawarra in the 1980s, when jovial Peter Douglas was the chief winemaker. 

Chief winemaker Sue Hodder
The fruit across both vintages is uniformly of top quality, the use of oak astutely judged. 

The 2016 collection aims to showcase Wynns’ house-style and includes the Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 (RRP $44.99), V&A Lane Shiraz 2014 ($59.99), V&A Lane Cabernet Shiraz 2014 ($59.99), Harold Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 ($79.99), Michael Shiraz 2013 ($149.99) and John Riddoch Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 ($149.99).

There are usually one or two clear standouts each Wynnsday. This year all six are excellent, reflecting the work that has been put in both in the vineyards and the winery. These are, effectively, boutique wines from mega international company Treasury Wine Estates.

“In 2013 we chose several of our older, and beloved, classic terra rossa soil vineyards for our John Riddoch, Michael and single vineyard wines," says chief winemaker Hodder. "It is pleasing to acknowledge these special parcels from a great year. Good ripening conditions after a wet winter resulted in wines with fine but abundant tannins.

“In contrast, the very wet winter and slightly above-average summer temperatures of 2014 combined with very low yields. The 2014 Black Label Shiraz and Cabernet and also the two V&A Lane Wines are, by comparison, more linear and medium bodied.
”I think the work that has been done in the vineyard is reflected in the wines. There is balance and when the textures are right, flavours follow."

Originally, Wynnsday marked the day that trade would visit the winery to taste and order their wines for that year. The event was always held on a Wednesday and still today the winery chooses this day to release the collection.

Next year will mark the 60th vintage for Wynns’ much-celebrated Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon. To celebrate, Wynnsday in 2017 will feature a tasting of all 60 vintages to show the changes in style to the wine over the years. My hand is certainly up for an invitation.
In the meantime, here is a brief rundown of the new releases given Hodder describes 2013 as "a really excellent vintage, as good as 2010 for balance and finesse". 

The two top wines now have recommended retail prices of almost $150, but Hodder says: "We are confident they are still good value given the wine quality".   

Black Label 2014  Cabernet Sauvignon: Initially lean, leafy and elegant in a Bordeaux style, but it opens in the glass gaining richness and intensity. Very poised. Good buying. 

V & A Lane 2014 Shiraz: Rounded, silky and very precise with hints of spice and brioche alongside bright berry fruit. 

V & A Lane 2014 Cabernet Shiraz: A classic blend with delightful balance. Silky and smooth and quite rich despite low alcohol levels. 

Harold 2013 Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon: A gentle wine with beautiful balance, with briary fruit combined with excellent structure. Long and lingering.

Michael 2013 Shiraz: Very textural and wine that needs time to mature. Layered and considered and it opens in the glass but definitely one for the cellar. 

John Riddoch 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon: One of the finest John Riddochs I have had the pleasure of tasting. Supple, stylish and downright fabulous. A vinous supermodel.  


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