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The Islander Estate Vineyards

News & Reviews

We love sharing our wines and our favourite parts of our beautiful Kangaroo Island.  Our blog shares our team's favourite ways to get the most from your visit when you're exploring Kangaroo Island.  And of course we like to share the latest news and wine reviews with you too!

Cath Williams
 
27 December 2020 | Cath Williams

Discover our neighbourhood - the Cygnet River gourmet trail

We chose to locate The Islander Estate Tasting Room in Cygnet River to join the growing and ever changing community of artisan producers with values similar ours - to showcase the true potential of Kangaroo Island. And we've never looked back. 

Sitting within easy reach for visitors, close to Kingscote and the south-coast touring route, the Cygnet River trail is compact making a great half or full day discovery, including two distinct styles of wine, award-winning spirits and liqueurs and delicious food – all hand-crafted with a shared philosophy, and authentically Kangaroo Island.

Come spend some time with us & we’ll introduce you to the neighbours!

Kangaroo Island Spirits

A visit to the Kangaroo Island Spirits cellar door is a must for any visitor to the Island (KIS to the locals).
Having won more than 130 awards including Best Gin in Australia, and most recently an array of high accolades from competitions in London and California.

KIS embrace native ingredients and use traditional processes to make spirits in their purest form, that have so much more to them. Their rustic cellar door offers tastings, sales and delicious seasonal cocktails to enjoy in the botanical Gin Garden. For the true romantics, indulge in one of their tailored experiences where you can learn to beauty of our native landscape.

This summer the About Thyme van will be serving up delicious food paired to their cocktail menu – winning! Discover KIS & book your experience:  kispirits.com.au

Springs Road Wines

We were so excited when Spring Road Wines joined us in the Cygnet River neighbourhood.  Kangaroo Island has a truly diverse range of wine styles, with something for everyone, so add a stop at Springs Road Wines to taste and enjoy the view at the newest cellar door in Cygnet River.

In 2016 McLaren Vale locals Joch Bosworth and Louise Hemsley-Smith bought the Springs Road vineyard (planted between 1994 and 2000), recognising that the property was an amazing site capable of producing beautiful wines.

Have a tasting then relax on the deck with a wine a delicious Second Valley Cheese platter made by one of their own team. Discover Springs Road Wines now:  springsroad.com.au

Café Scrumptious

Take a break on the trail and enjoy a delicious meal at Café Scrumptious located inside the picturesque Frogs N Roses garden centre.  Their handmade pizzas are phenomenal and make room for their homemade cheesecake.  They're fully licensed so you don’t even need to stop drinking!

Open for breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea.  Discover more:  facebook.com/CafeScrumptiouski

The Islander Estate Vineyards

Of course, no Cygnet River trail visit is complete without a visit to our own Tasting Room.  Experience the fruits of Jacques 20-year vision to showcase the true potential of Kangaroo Island wine.

Drop in to our intimate cellar door for a guided tasting, treat yourself to a Flagship tasting experience or relax on the deck with a regional cheese & charcuterie platter.

We have a range of experiences you can purchase or book ahead via our website: iev.com.au/Visit-Us/Explore-experiences.

Within 10 minutes of Cygnet River:

If you have a little more time, there is so much more to see and do all within 10 minutes of Cygnet River:

Kangaroo Island Brewery



 

Hand-built beers in a fantastic ‘brewery door’ on the way to Emu Bay.  Stop in for one of their famous beer paddles to try a range of brews or pick your favourite to enjoy overlooking the field.  It’s one of our favourite watering holes.  Check them out:  kangarooislandbrewery.com.au

Emu Bay Lavender

Closer to Emu Bay, the Lavender farm is one of our favourites for breakfast or lunch and a great spot to pick up gifts for friends and family back home.  We highly recommend their amazing scones and lavender jelly for afternoon tea - perfect refuel for after a swim.  Explore more:  emubaylavenderfarm.com

Emu Bay Beach  

Kangaroo Island is spoilt for choice when it comes to beach, but they don’t come much longer, whiter & more beautiful than Emu Bay beach.  A huge favourite with locals over summer for its stunning sands and safe swimming waters. 

The Mini De Lights van at the Emu Bay boat ramp serves up cocktails, wine & delicious snacks in season - a truly unique Kangaroo Island experience.  Check their facebook page for opening days & times: facebook.com/minidelightscatering

Time Posted: 27/12/2020 at 9:00 AM
Cath Williams
 
4 December 2020 | Cath Williams

Festive food and wine pairings for every celebration

Festive food and wine pairings

We’re officially on the countdown to Christmas and menu planning has begun in earnest. 
Whether your style is traditional or contemporary, indoor or outdoor, there are so many delicious menu options and the wine can make the meal.

We’re sharing a few of our favourite dishes to pair with our wine range, because if there’s ever been a year to indulge it’s 2020!


Pétiyante & Gin Cured Salmon

The Food:  Oh, so elegant, delicate flavours.  The acidity in the Pétiyante pairs perfectly with the creaminess of salmon in a fantastic dish for an entrée or light lunch.  Of course, we recommend your cure it with the fabulous Kangaroo Island Spirits gin.  Try this recipe for Gin Cured Salmon with cucumber and lime.

The wine:  Who doesn’t love sparkling through the whole festive season?  Our first sparkling, Pétiyante is beautifully balanced with fine, elegant acidity and creamy texture balancing the fruit flavours. Classic Champagne-like brioche notes on the nose and on the palate a super fine bead with hints of nashi pear and white peach leading to a long, crisp, elegant finish.

Stock up through the New Year with our Festive Sparkling 6 pack

The White Chardonnay & Chicken
Chardonnay with Chicken Caesar Salad

The Food:   Whether you’re off on a picnic with friends, hanging by the BBQ or having a classic family roast, The White pairs beautifully with chicken however it’s prepared.  For a relaxed meal with friends we fancy this classic Chicken Caesar from Donna Hay.

The Wine:  The White Chardonnay is a contemporary unoaked style, but it has plenty of structure & sophistication to lend itself to special occasion drinking, made to demonstrate the elegant varietal character. Slightly toasty with flavours of peach, nectarine, melon and toasted nuts. The fruit sweetness is offset by steely, refreshing acidity and a long finish. 

Try The White Chardonnay now


The Rose with CharcuteriePair Rose with Charcuterie

The Food:  Elegant, delicious Christmas entertaining doesn’t always require slaving over a hot stove.  Our friends at Les Deux Coq hand-make the most delicious range of authentic French Charcuterie we’ve come across outside France.  A quick stop at their Adelaide Central Market stall or website and you have everything you need for the most delicious meal that pairs perfectly with an ice-cold Rose.

The Wine:  One of our fastest selling wines, made in the classic Provence style of southern France, The Rose 2020 is light in colour with a focus on elegance, but full of flavour and texture. It’s dry, fresh and dangerously easy to drink. Flavours of strawberries and cream, even some peach notes with a light leesy grip adding complexity to the delicious freshness.

Get some Rose on ice in time for Christmas Eve


Bark Hut Road Shiraz/Cabernet Franc & Roast Turkey
Roast Turkey paired with Bark Hut Road Shiraz Cabernet Franc

The Food:  Pairing wine with Turkey can be a tricky affair.  You have the white meat with some richness and gaminess, but often wine matching is about the sides which are more robust in flavour, stuffing, gravy, roast vegetables.  Red can be an amazing pairing if the tannins don’t overwhelm.  That’s where the elegance and delicacy of Bordeaux-style blends Bark Hut Road hits the perfect note. A fantastic complement to the flavours in this Turkey with Sour Cherry stuffing and pickled cherries recipe.

The Wine:  A classic from our premium Estate range, Bark Hut Road is one of the first wines Jacques' released on Kangaroo Island and our current vintage continues a long tradition of excellence. This elegant Bordeaux-style blend offers firm tannins, natural acidity, beautiful blackberry and sarsaparilla notes at the darker end of the fruit spectrum with Oak notes – vanilla and coconut.

Pop some Bark Hut Road in your basket

The Investigator Cabernet Franc & Beef Wellington
Pair Beef Wellington with Cabernet Franc

The Food:  The ultimate luxury dish for a special occasion, rare beef fillet coated in pate & mushrooms, baked in pastry.  If there’s ever a time to dedicate this much love to a dish, it’s at Christmas.  Chef Gordon Ramsay has made Beef Wellington his signature dish, you can try his recipe here.

The Wine:  If you’re preparing a dish like this, then only the very best wine will do.  The Investigator Cabernet Franc from our Flagship range is the perfect foil for the richness of the dish.  With elegance and structure it will complement rather than overwhelm, with the variety’s classic leanness and firm brooding tannins. There are loads of savoury and herbaceous notes, with balance and a composed structure across the palate.


The Cygnet Shiraz & Glazed HamThe Cygnet Shiraz and Glazed Ham

The Food:  What’s Christmas without a Ham as the centrepiece of the table (and what’s better we can eat it all month long).  After hours of tender-loving-basting, this showstopper should be served with a wine to match.  If you’re looking for new ham glazing ideas to spice it up this year, Australian Gourmet Traveller has collected glazing secrets of from Australia's best Chefs.

The Wine:  When pairing a wine with ham its all about the glaze which most often has a sweet element to counteract the saltiness of the ham.  Glazes tends to work well with medium weight wines with plenty of acidity and bold fruit.  The Cygnet Shiraz from our Flagship range is often referred to as Christmas in a glass – steeped red and black berries and baking spices compliment the spice of the glaze.  This highly rated shiraz shows just how elegant the variety can be.


The Independence Malbec & New Year’s Eve Rib Eye

Rib Eye Steak and Independence Malbec

The Food:  Picture this, it’s New Year’s Eve, we’re finally seeing out 2020 and you’re celebrating with a delicious Rib Eye grilled over coals with an anchovy butter – a flavour bomb.  You might even be sharing it with a few of your best mates.  This New Year’s eve we might be checking out this delicious recipe from Australian Gourmet Traveller.

The Wine:  There’s nothing that suits a flame grilled protein like Malbec.  Best known these days from Argentina, it originated in Jacques’ native Bordeaux and he is the only winemaker to have introduced it to Kangaroo Island.  The Independence 2015 is the first vintage in our Flagship range and it’s become one of our favourites.  On the palate, it demonstrates the plush fruit, full-bodied structure and firm tannins that Malbec is known for, balanced by Jacques wine making craftsmanship to create a wine that is power and finesse in equal balance.

Indulge in our ultimate Flagship 3-pack to explore the whole range

Sangiovese & AntipastoAntipasto and Sangiovese

The Food: The festive season can be non-stop catch ups and grazing makes it east, no cooking, just delicious easy food that can be laid out or taken to friends.  An antipasto platter can cover all the bases from a pre-dinner snack to dinner itself.  Salami, hard cheeses, grilled peppers, tomatoes, olives & dips.  Italian flavours are often salty or acidic and these cry out for a wine that is not too heavy but with a little extra tannin for balance (salty food makes a wine seem less tannic).

The Wine:  The Sangiovese has all the hallmarks of a true Tuscan style.   Inviting vanilla oak notes supported by subtle red fruit and hints of leather. A medium weight on the palate but full of flavour and texture with spicy notes of cherries and fine tannins on the finish.  A great wine for summer, we’ve been known to serve it lightly chilled on a warm day.

Add a little italian style to your Christmas wine selection

Cabernet Sauvignon & Boxing Day BBQ Cabnernet Sauvignon is a fantastic match with BBQ meats

The food:  The day after Christmas is time to cog back and relax.  Backyard BBQ, thongs and sandy feet.  No need for a recipe here, whatever you’re having on the BBQ from steak to burgers to sausages, our Cab Sauv is a great all-rounder.

The wine:  Our brand-new release 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon, the first release from our estate for many years (and sadly our last after the Jan 2020 fires) is the ideal wine for BBQ meats.  With high acidity and firm tannins, Cab Sauv is a great match for dishes with savoury flavours and a dose of fat.  Our 2019 vintage is rich and plush but still elegant and delicate, the fruit fills the mouth early and soft tannins draw the finish out smooth and long.

Be the first to try our new release Cabernet Sauvignon

Semillon Sauvignon Blanc & Australian Seafood
Seafood and Semillon Sauvignon Blanc

The Food:  If your Christmas tastes lend more towards seafood then our brand-new release Semillon Sauvignon Blanc is going to be a winner at the table.  Pair it with a rich fish like grilled atlantic salmon, shellfish like BBQ scallops or crustaceans like prawns or if you’re lucky lobster with a rich homemade aioli.

The Wine: We're renowned for our Semillon from Kangaroo Island and as Semillon Sauvignon Blanc has been a classic blend in Australia for decades, we wanted to give it a try. Never ones to stick with the mainstream, we decided to barrel ferment ours and age it for 12 months in seasoned 600L French oak demis. The wine has a delightful nose, with hints of citrus and tropical fruit. The mouth is soft and round from the barrel aging and the acidity draws the finish out long and smooth.

Discover the perfect Christmas seafood companion

Boxing Bay Shiraz/Cab Sav & Australia Day Lamb Roast lamb on Australia Day

The Food:  Australia Day wraps up the holiday period amd marks the return to reality for many people.  So, it’s worth celebrating with something truly Aussie and there is nothing more so than a leg of lamb slowly cooking while you enjoy a game of cricket and a few glasses of wine.  Whether you fancy it butterflied or on the bone, marinated, stuffed or plain.  Our new limited release Boxing Bay blend of Shiraz/Cab Sauv is a classic Aussie blend expressed on a whole new way.

The Wine: 2018 Boxing Bay brings a new dimension to our Estate premium range.  Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon is a classic Aussie blend, but like all the wines from our Estate range this takes its inspiration firmly from Europe.  While power and structure abound in the Cab Sauv, the Shiraz adds softness and elegance.  A European approach in the winemaking brings these two together with elegance and restraint.

Explore our newest Estate range release
Time Posted: 04/12/2020 at 11:00 AM
Cath Williams
 
7 October 2020 | Cath Williams

Our favourite Spring food and wine pairings

Here on Kangaroo Island, Spring is in full fling and as the days get longer and warmer, we start to think about wines to match the season.  Our team are sharing their favourite Islander Estate wines for Spring and the dishes they love to pair them with.


Tempranillo and Tapas

All About it:

Spain and Portugal are home to Tempranillo, the fourth-most planted variety in the world. It’s a very old variety thought to have been introduced to the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal) by the Phoenicians over 3,000 years ago – that’s 1100BC!

Tempranillo draws its name from the Spanish word temprano, which means early.  It’s usually one of the earliest ripening red varieties.  By avoiding the hottest ripening period the wine is balanced and lower in sugars and therefore alcohol.

Tempranillo is one of our team’s favourite drops for Spring, when you might want to stick with reds but move to lighter style.  We love it for its medium body, easy drinking style and great food matching potential.

Tasting Notes:
Our Tempranillo is made to honour the traditional lighter Spanish style - light, fresh and supple with easy drinkability the primary focus. Ideal as a summer wine, it tastes like a mouth full of fresh berries with hints of liquorice and tobacco leaf in the background.


We’ll be drinking it with:

As you’d expect with its Spanish origins, Tempranillo is a great picnic wine paired with tapas dishes like cured meats, grilled vegetables, and sheep’s cheese.  It’s also delicious with grilled meats when it’s time to break out the BBQ.  Or try a bottle of Tempranillo with your next Mexican feast.

 

Sangiovese and Napoli Pizza

All about it

Italy’s most planted wine variety and the pride of the Tuscan regional wine Chianti, Sangiovese is a sensitive soul, changing its character to reflect it’s growing conditions, it’s a variety that truly expresses regionality.

Tasting Notes

“In so many ways, The Islander produces wines that are more European than Australian. Note the degree of savouriness in its wines & the use of fruit as a conduit for complexity & not necessarily an end in itself. Sangiovese is such a wine. Fragrant with black cherries, capers, anise, bitter chocolate. It runs smooth across the palate, supple oak playing its part & imparting sweet mocha. Cherry pip, chalky tanning still melding” Halliday Wine Companion 2021

We’ll be drinking it with:

With its Italian origins, Sangiovese is our go-to variety for antipasto platters & pizza nights. Not too heavy, just enough savouriness & tannins to pair with those Italian flavours and it even lends itself to some light chilling as the evenings heat up.  It’s also a perfect pair for vegetarian dishes, especially tomato, red peppers and grilled vegetables.

 

The White Chardonnay and BBQ Chicken

All about it:

The White is our “House Style” wine created by Jacques Lurton to complement our Estate Range of premium wines.   Leave behind all your perceptions of heavily oaked chardonnay, this is a modern Australian style with just a little nutty creaminess but fresh and clean on the finish.

Tasting Notes:

Our 2019 Chardonnay is a classic example of the variety when grown in South Australia: fresh, fruity, and delicious with beautiful notes of nectarine and white peach underscored by refreshing acidity. This is Chardonnay for Pinot Gris drinkers with the fruit doing all the talking in a wine made for simple enjoyment and all occasions. An ideal choice for that midweek “Hump Day” tipple, or the first bottle with friends on a weekend afternoon.

We’ll be drinking it with:

We love it paired with a roast or BBQ chicken, If you’re heading alfresco it will pair beautifully with a charcuterie platter or a soft cheese like a ripe brie and nuts would be hard to beat too.

 

SoFar So Good Sauvignon Blanc and Asian Salads

All about it:

The SoFar SoGood range is all about preservative-free wines produced with minimal processing.  The result is not your average Sav Blanc, our cellar door guests love it for its fresh take on the variety.  A little more texture, fresh citrus & tropical fruits notes and classic crisp acidity on the finish without being overwhelming

A popular wine with those who are looking for a something different to the usual Sav Blanc.

Tasting Notes:

Our no added preservative Sauvignon Blanc is complex, medium bodied and easy drinking.  The nose is intense and typical of the variety with herbaciousness, tropical fruit, citrus and grapefruit. This wine flows in the mouth with fresh, crisp acidity and a long finish. 

We’ll be drinking it with:

A delicious match for fresh herbaceous Asian salads, prawn & oyster dishes, BBQ spring vegetables & soft goats’ cheese.  Classic pairings like oysters, abalone, and fish but we especially love it with spicy Asian dishes with some herbaciousness and spice, think Bao buns or Vietnamese coleslaw.
 

Stock up on our Spring wine selections now

Time Posted: 07/10/2020 at 12:10 PM
Cath Williams
 
24 July 2020 | Cath Williams

The Islander Estate’s favourite things to see & do on Kangaroo Island in winter

It’s a secret mostly only known by 'Islanders'.
Kangaroo Island may receive most visitors in warmer months,
but it is at its most beautiful in Winter. 

Spectacular windswept coastline, deserted beaches washed clean by the sea, stunning green fields full of winter lambs, wildlife in abundance.  And the best part?  You can join the locals in feeling like you have the Island almost to yourself.

With so many South Australians holidaying at home this year, the secret is out.  And local businesses like ours are loving having the Island humming during winter.  So, The Islander Estate team are sharing our favourite ways to make the most of Kangaroo Island during these stunning cool months.

Meander the delicious Tasting Trail

Where else could we start but with the opportunity to spend time with our fantastic array of local producers?
Our cellar doors and farm gates are so much quieter in winter.  Producers are always happy to see you and they have plenty of time to stop for a chat to share their story - and to learn yours.

Central to the Island, Cygnet River trail offers two cellar doors (The Islander Estate Vineyards and our neighbours Springs Road Wines), Australia’s most awarded gin at Kangaroo Island Spirits and the cosy, rustic Frogs N Roses the perfect spot for a handmade pizza by the fire (and save room for their fantastic cheesecake).

If you enjoy a brew as much as wine, then Kangaroo Island Brewery is a fantastic spot a little further afield on the way to Emu Bay.  Stop for a paddle of their fantastic hand-built beers by the fire (check their Facebook page for opening days).  A little along the road Emu Bay Lavender are super popular for their lavender products and their café fare – their lavender scones are legendary. 

Back a little towards Kingscote, the wine tasting trail continues at Bay of Shoals wines just five minutes outside of Kingscote.  You can’t visit Kangaroo Island without experiencing our famous Ligurian honey – both Island Beehive and Cliffords Honey Farm are worth a stop.

Head east, stop in at The Oyster Farm Shop in American River – oysters are at their prime in winter.  Then continue the tasting trail at Dudley Wines and the fantastic new False Cape Wines cellar door, their platters are fantastic.

 

A bird watcher's paradise

Kangaroo Island has over 260 bird species and they abound in winter in many sheltered spots.

Just minutes from The Islander Estate Tasting Room, Duck Lagoon fills with winter rains and attracts a huge array of birdlife (you might see more than one Koala sharing the trees with the birds).  Stop in for a visit at our Tasting Room, grab a bottle of wine, cheeses and French charcuterie then spend a peaceful hour or two picnicking and bird watching.

Stormy southerlies from the Southern Ocean often bring in albatross and other pelagic species – Cape du Couedic is a favourite location for local birders. Endangered Glossy Black-cockatoo are nesting at this time of year and feeding near Penneshaw, American River and Stokes Bay, as are Yellow-tailed Cocktaoos. Cape Barren Geese are also seen in abundance with their young during winter. Be sure to view nesting areas from afar to avoid disturbing nesting pairs.

In the quiet of winter evenings (the stars on Kangaroo Island are definitely worth an evening venture), you may hear Cuckoos calling – hearingtheir distintictive “mo-poke... mo-poke” call is something special.

 

Kangaroo Island winter beach walks

Stormy Beach Walks

Nothing is as refreshing as a beach walk during a winter storm to restore the soul – and of course to give you a good excuse to recover with an afternoon curled up with a wine by the fire.

For spectacular rolling surf, visit the south coast beaches like D’Estrees Bay, Vivonne Bay and Hanson Bay.  Kangaroo Island's north coast offers more protected beach walks, washed clean by the rain.  Our favourites include Western River Cove, Snellings Beach and Stokes Bay 

In the east of the Island, Antechamber Bay is truly spectacular and you can follow up a beach walk with a sheltered picnic by nearby Chapman River.

 

Winter lambs in the fields on Kangaroo Island

Green fields full of new life

Nothing represents the renewal that Winter brings to our region like vibrant green fields full of bounding baby lambs, bright white with their new wool. They represent the promise of future prosperity for our region’s farmers and they simply make you smile.  It's worth keeping an eye out in paddocks all over the Island and stopping the car to watch their antics.

At this time of year Echidnas begin breeding, if you see an Echidna train it’s a very lucky day indeed so keep an eye out on roadside verges and wherever you are hiking.  And baby joeys begun venturing from their mother’s pouch to feed all over the Island, but often visible at Pelican Lagoon.

Winter beach fishing on Kangaroo Island

Hauling in a bounty 

Kangaroo Islanders often say the best meal you can have is fish, freshly caught yourself, cooked and shared with friends (with a fantastic local wine of course). 

The weather may be a little wilder, but the fishing can be at its best during winter, especially in the calm that follows a storm, when the fish often bite the hardest.  Whether you are fishing from a beach, a jetty or boat, bringing home your bag limit of our famous King George Whiting is a satisfying way to spend a day.  They are at their plump best in winter and extra active as they breed.

Salmon Trout can be caught from beaches like Hanson Bay (our tip, cooked super fresh in a beer batter perfect with Pinot Gris) and squid from jetties.  If you have a boat, Nannygai are great catching and eating.

Do make sure you’re familiar with Kangaroo Island’s protected by Marine Parks and Marine Park Sanctuary Zones and bag and size limits before you head out fishing.  Get all the essential info from Tourism Kangaroo Island's KI Fishing Guide. Or for a guaranteed catch, hook up with one of Kangaroo Island’s fishing charters and let the experts find the fish.

And if you can't catch them yourself, stock up in American River at The Oyster Farm Shop or KI Fresh Seafoods in Kingscote for the freshest local fish.


Southern Wright Whale in the waters around Kangaroo Island

Watching monsters leap from the sea

There are over 80 whale species in the world, 29 of these species visit our South Australian waters each year.

The Southern Right Whale, one of the largest, weighs up to 80 tons and grows to 18 metres in length. They are the most frequent whale visitors to Kangaroo Island waters, and often travel past between May and September before they return to Antarctic waters in October. Look for them close inshore right around the coast. Mothers may rest with young in more sheltered bays.

Blue Whales and Humpback Whales also visit, and Killer Whales (Orcas) sometimes drop by for a seal meal.

 

Kangaroo Island's native orchids flower in Winter

Hunting for native orchids

With such amazing vistas and coastlines, it can easy to focus on the wider landscape when taking a winter hike on Kangaroo Island.

But for a mindfulness exercise that will have you reconnecting with the details and forgetting everything, there is no better activity a hunt for our native orchids. With over 80 native species, a hunt for these tiny but spectacular flower really makes you slow to a meander and absorb the beauty to be found on a micro-level.

Whether it’s these tiny flowers, lichen and fungi, flowering native ground shrubs or the spectacular Wattle it’s worth slowing down and meandering.

One of our favourite spots is American River’s Cannery Walk.  Find out more here

Cooking around the campfire is a special Kangaroo Island winter experience

Slow cooking over a Bonfire

Gather your mates, light a fire, have a few wines while you wait for the coals to burn low, then nestle a camp oven on the coals.  It takes a while to cook but there's nothing better than passing the time with good conversation, plenty of red wine and a jam if you have a guitar on hand.

Spending an afternoon this way is iconicially Kangaroo Island.  And there’s nothing better than slow cooked local lamb, vegetables and red wine simmered for hours.

So what are you waiting for?  Start planning your cool season trip to Kangaroo Island. 
We'll see you soon!

Tourism Kangaroo Island
South Australian Tourism Commission
Time Posted: 24/07/2020 at 9:00 AM
Cath Williams
 
21 May 2020 | Cath Williams

Close up on Chardonnay

May 21 is International Chardonnay Day.
It’s the most widely planted white grape variety in the world. 
And its time has come around again. 
So, let’s get reacquainted with Chardonnay.

Chardonnay’s Origins

Chardonnay’s birthplace is the Burgundy region of France, in a small village of the same name.  Chardon being the French name for a thistle, chardonnay’s name originates from “place of thistles”.  Believed to be from the Noirien family of grapes, chardonnay is descended from Pinot Noir and the ancient variety Gouais Blanc.

In Burgundy, where chardonnay is known simply as white Burgundy, it is the most prized white grape variety, seen as truly capturing the region’s incredible terroir. Although it originated in France, chardonnay is now grown in almost every wine region on Earth, mostly because of its ability to adapt to different environments and grow almost anywhere.

Chardonnay down under

Chardonnay was first bought to Australia by James Busby (widely known as the ‘father of Australian wine’) who planted the first cuttings to Australia in the 1830s.  Chardonnay didn’t become a core Australian variety for almost a hundred years, but by the 1980’s chardonnay became on of the most recognised Australian white wine varieties; flourishing in our climate and mainly produced in robust, rich, ripe and buttery styles.

Over the next several decades Australian wine consumers palates changed as they moved towards the zesty, higher acidity alternatives like Marlborough sauvignon blanc. Australian winemakers began to adapt, taking advantage of chardonnay's ability to take on many different characters guided by the winemaker’s technique. 

Today chardonnay accounts for more than half of Australia’s white wine production, having a renaissance in a more contemporary style closer to the Chablis style of France.  This contemporary style has inspired The Islander Estate Vineyard’s The White.

Chardonnay’s Characteristics

Chardonnay’s adaptability doesn’t stop in the vineyard. It is just as adaptable in the winery, making it a favourite with winemakers.  It is often said chardonnay is made in the cellar rather than the vineyard.  It can be found in a wide range of styles depending on the growing region, picking stage and the crafting techniques used by the winemaker.

Chardonnay’s Primary Flavours:  Cool climate versions tend to be lighter in body with higher acidity and more subtle flavours of citrus, apple, pear, and peach. Warm climate versions are generally more full-bodied with richer, riper fruit and bolder flavours often in the tropical fruit zone like pineapple, mango or passionfruit.  Chardonnay can also show some floral character like honeysuckle and jasmin.

Chardonnay’s Secondary Characters: Winemaking processes like oak fermentation or aging impart a range of secondary notes, like coconut, vanilla and baking spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. The buttery characteristics of aged chardonnay come from malolactic fermentation, which winemakers use to reduce the perception of acidity and create rounder, creamier lactic acid, with buttery, vanilla, or pastry characters.

Are you a champagne lover? Then you like Chardonnay. 

Chardonnay is the main component of most champagne’s (blended with its mother variety, Pinot Noir as it is in our Petiyante sparkling).  And if you’re a fan of Blanc de Blancs you’re drinking a champagne made entirely of chardonnay.

Chardonnay’s food companions

Our The White Chardonnay is designed for everyday drinking, we think it makes a phenomenal sunset glass of wine with friends or with a simple soft cheese, but there are loads of cool weather matches with chardonnay.  Simply, chardonnay prefers subtle spices and creamy or buttery flavours with seafood, chicken or even port. Try it with a few of these classic Autumn dishes:

Vegetable Risotto
Classic Roast Chicken
Creamy Pasta Dishes
Garlic Prawns Vegetable Soups Grilled Fish

 

Drink now or wait?

Contemporary unoaked styles just like our The White Chardonnay is made in an everyday drink now style but can happily hang out in your wine rack for two years.  More heavily oaked examples offer more cellaring potential.

Get intimate with Islander Estate The White Chardonnay

Priced for everyday drinking, now is great time to get your hands on The White, while our free shipping offer for orders of 6 or more bottles ends 31st May.  Click on the image below to add some to your shopping cart now.

Time Posted: 21/05/2020 at 9:00 AM
Cath Williams
 
21 May 2020 | Cath Williams

What's (So Far) So Good about preservative free wines?

Every day in our Tasting Room we chat to guests interested in our preservative free wines.  These days we’re all a little more aware of ensuring we know what’s in our food and wine, so join us for a closer look at preservative free wine.

Why make a preservative free range?

Our owner Jacques Lurton introduced the SoFar SoGood range around 4 years ago.  After he found himself developing a reaction to the sulphites we find in many everyday foods and drinks.  Chatting to friends and customers, he identified a growing trend in seeking out products with less preservatives and decided that his vineyard on Kangaroo Island was the ideal place to trial a no-added preservative wine range.

What is preservative free wine?

A small amount sulphur dioxide is released naturally by the grapes during fermentation (nature’s own preservative) so all wine contains trace amounts of naturally produced preservative.

Wines labelled preservative free mean the winemaker has not added any preservatives during the winemaking process.

What preservatives are added to wine?

Wines generally contained sulphur dioxide (SO2), or you may see “sulphites added” on the label, this can mean S02 or HS03 (bisulphites) and H2SO3 (sulphurous acid).  In Australia strict restrictions on the amount of sulphites are in place and where they exist in the wine labelling laws require it to be declared.  This is not the case with wines from many countries outside Australia.

You will find these same preservatives in higher concentrations in many supermarket products including dried fruit, jams, candy, processed meats and many packaged foods.  So if you react to these foods it may be an indication of a sulphite sensitivity.

Why are they used?

Sulphites have been used in wine since the early 1900s to help preserve the wine and slow down the deterioration process.  It is used to get the wine into the bottle and to the drinker in the best condition.

Generally low or preservative free wines require pristine grapes in the best possible condition, handled carefully in the winery.  Less faults with the grapes mean less (or no) sulphites are required.

Do Sulphites give you a headache?

Lots of guests our feel they can drink more of our preservative free wines without getting a hangover. Science indicates this is not the case but people with asthma are thought to be more likely to have a sulphite sensitivity and if you feel you react to any of other foods listed above it may be worthwhile giving a preservative free wine a try.

What’s different about how we make preservative free wine?

The goal in producing preservative free wines is to use the utmost care and keep intervention to a minimum.  For our SoFar SoGood range, nature does much of the winemaking with the winemaker playing supervisor.

The first step is to start with pristine grapes free of disease or bird damage.  Then the grapes are handled carefully in the winery, kept cool and away from air as much as possible.

At The Islander Estate Vineyard, we pick by hand, destem and send the wine to tanks for ferment (by wild yeast for our Shiraz).  We use temperature control and soft extraction during ferment phase, pressing the skins off early.

As soon as fermentation is complete, the wine is clarified, filtered and into the bottle within around 8 weeks of picking (even earlier for our preservative free Sauvignon Blanc).

Our SoFar SoGood range is designed to be enjoyed young as are most preservative free wines. 

How are preservative free wines different to drink?

Because of the minimal intervention approach, we find our preservative free wines tend to tell a pure story of the fruit and vineyard.  They are easy drinking, vibrant and packed with fruit flavours.

As well as people with sulphite allergies, we find the SoFar SoGood range appeals to wine lovers who enjoy fruit forward and well balanced but less tannic or structured wines (think Pinot Noir or Merlot lovers). 

Why not try our 2019 SoFar SoGood preservative free range?

 

Time Posted: 21/05/2020 at 9:00 AM
Cath Williams
 
7 April 2020 | Cath Williams

Our top 10 post-corona wine connections moments



10 ways our team will be reconnecting 
over a few wines post "the rona"

If you're like us at The Islander Estate Vineyards, you're passing isolation-time dreaming of all the things you'll do as soon as we're free to move around as we used to. 

And won't we all just appreciate the simple things so much more?  This is our team's list of way's we'll be re-connecting with the people and the place we love.
 

1.  At our heart centre

We had to start here.  It's our passion to connect with visitors to our share stories,
our passions & a good chat over a glass of wine.  

So many wine lovers from all over the world come to spend their precious holiday time with us learning a little about why Kangaroo Island is the world's undiscovered wine treasure.
We miss that connection dearly & can't wait to crack open our best wines for tasting and throw open the door to our Tasting Room.  Next time you visit, treat yourself to a Flagship wine tasting.

2.  Simple pleasures with family and friends

Is there anything better than the simple pleasures Kangaroo Island offers
like beach fishing while the sun sets? 

Finishing a day on KI with fresh fish you've caught yourself is unbeatable. We love doing it with the people we love & a great glass of wine by our side (we recommend our Pinot Gris with local fish). 

Our favourite spots for an evening fish?  We'll it's hard to beat Snellings Beach on our stunning north coast, Brown Beach on the Dudley Peninsula (if you're lucky for a few flathead) or Emu Bay for a family favourite (park the car up  on the beach, open the boot so you have somewhere to rest your wine & cheese platter).
 

3.  Campfire Catch-ups

If you live on Kangaroo Island, or you love visiting,
it's pretty much assured you love camping. 

With the cooler seasons coming on, we'll be packing up & heading out with friends with a bottle (or 10) of red and plenty of firewood to get us through the night - in our book the Majestic Plough Malbec is perfect for sharing with friends on cool nights. 
Our top Kangaroo Island camping spots?  Antechamber Bay campground where you can camp right next to the river & have a stunning beach just a few minutes away.  Stokes Bay Campground with the fantastic Rockpool Cafe right next door & one of the best beaches on the Island.  Vivonne Bay on the south coast to watch the surf roll in.

 

4.  Over a meal at our amazing local restaurants

Dinner with friends - oh how we can't wait

With a selection of Kangaroo Island restaurants each showcasing local cuisine in their own unique way & we can't wait to get out & enjoy it with friends again.
Whether its refined cuisine & spectacular views at Sunset Food & Wine, rustic seafood at Rockpool Cafe, high end pub food at the Ozone Hotel, Italian fare at the intimate Bella Cafe or contemporary cuisine in peaceful surrounds at Reflections Restaurant in American River, just to name of few options.

 

5.  Connecting to nature in our interior

Kangaroo Island has spectacular beaches & coastline,
but the interior comes to life in the cooler months. 

We love heading inland for a walk amongst nature - finished off with a picnic & wine of course!  There are so many spectacular inland hikes across the whole Island, many remain open after January's bushfires & the regeneration of bushland will be spectacular as winter progresses.
Or book a weekend away at one of the Island's many nature-based accommodation like our wonderful friends at Ecopia Retreat, where nature is right on your doorstep.

6.  Cool season weekends away with friends

If you're a Kangaroo Island local, then you know
the cooler seasons are the best time on Kangaroo Island.

Fires lit all season, stormy walks on the beach, flora & fauna at their peak (& the best season for fishing).  Plus, in these quieter seasons it feels almost like the Island is just yours.  We'll be inviting friends to reconnect with a weekend (or week) on the Island. 
If we're lucky we'll do it at spectacular accommodation like Hamilton & Dune - what a stunning place for long chats, board games & wine by the fire.  Pop some local lamb in the slow cooker to simmer all day & pair it with the Old Rowley for a simple but spectacular shared meal.

7.  Friday night sunset beach catchups

Friday night post-work wine on the beach - it's a Kangaroo Island ritual

Kids running wild in the surf, mates downloading news of the week.  For Islander's it beats rush hour traffic & crowded bars hands-down. 
Our absolute favourite for beach sundowners is The Rose but when even we can't get it, we turn to our other bestie SoFar SoGood Sauvignon Blanc all those tropical fruit notes suit the setting so well. Popular spots include Hog Bay Penneshaw, Island Beach and Emu Bay.

8.  Sharing home cooked feasts

Who else is brushing up on their cooking skills during home isolation? 
We can't wait to share all the new dishes we've learned with mates & family.

While we're all home cooking right now with our isolation-buddies, there's nothing like spending the whole day preparing a feast for extended family & friends. 
It's an act of love that deserves some cracking wines to while away the afternoon (Bark Hut Road hits the spot & pairs with so many dishes).  How spectacular is the spot at Lifetime Retreat's The Cliff House?  

9.  Family picnics

The simple act of sunshine, a picnic rug, friends or family & the shade of a tree

Don't we miss the simple things?  For us picnics need be no further than the lawns of our Tasting Room.
But we also love putting together a picnic of French charcuterie from Les Deux Coq, Alexandrina Fleurieu Peninsula cheeses, local produce & wine for guests (SoFar SoGood Shiraz is our favourite picnic red), then sending them to our team's favourite picnic spots.   Just a few minutes away from the Tasting Room in Cygnet River, Duck Lagoon is a great place to start. 

10. Getting the team back together

What are we most excited about?  Getting back to the business of wine.

Between January's bushfires & the current Coronavirus we're most excited about the prospect of having the full team back together at The Islander Estate Vineyards.
Later in the year we hope to begin welcoming guests back for private barrel room tastings & to see the vineyard rejuvenation.  It's a prospect that drives us forward in our mission to make the region's best wines.

We thank you for support during this difficult time,
we appreciate every order we receive online &
we can't wait to connect over a wine very soon.

Time Posted: 07/04/2020 at 11:30 AM
Cath Williams
 
8 August 2019 | Cath Williams

Halliday's 2020 Wine Companion 95+ wines

Halliday's Half Dozen:
Our 95+ point wines from the 2020 Australian Wine Companion

James Halliday is an unmatched authority in Australia on every aspect of the wine industry, a respected wine critic and vigneron with a career that spans almost 50 years.  His annual Halliday Wine Companion is recognised as Australia’s most comprehensive tasting note library.

It goes without saying that any winery is proud to have their wines featured in the Australian Wine Companion.  And while, every wine lover's own palate is the most important judge of the wine they like to drink, many wine lovers also rely on the Wine Companion as a guide to the best of Australian wine.

Any wine that rates between 94 and 100 points in the Halliday Wine Companion is considered to be outstanding, of the highest quality, and often with a distinguished pedigree. So we're thrilled to share the wines rated 95+ points in this year's Wine Companion.  See the Wine Companion team's tasting notes and ratings below.

2017 Wally White
Semillon
95 points



Hand-picked, whole-bunch pressed, cloudy juice fermented with cultured yeast in demi-muids, left on fermentation lees for two years with low sulphur. A very complex, full-bodied semillon that has no parallel I have tasted or read about. It's layered, with notes of biscuit and honey, the acidity ample to provide balance.

2018 Bark Hut Rd
Shiraz/Cab Franc

95 points
 

70% cabernet franc, 30% shiraz, wild-fermented, some whole bunches. Deep colour; unashamedly full-bodied, with velvety black fruits, the depth seeming to come from the shiraz licorice and tar. Not for us to argue - it is what it is. And beyond doubt decades away from its use-by date.

2018 Old Rowley
Shiraz/Grenache
95 points


A hand-picked 60/40% grenache/shiraz blend, matured in a demi-muid for 7 months on heavy lees. A full-bodied wine with tannins part of the landscape, sultry red and black fruits the major part. Finishes with conviction, and a savoury farewell. Built to age

2015 The Investigator
Cabernet Franc
95 points


Hand-picked, destemmed into demi-muids for wild fermentation, 20% skins return, maceration continued until mlf complete, the wine drained and the skins and stems passed through the hand basket press, matured for 2 years on lees in demi-muids. Jacques Lurton has always loved cabernet franc, and this spicy red-fruited wine, plus its diamond dust tannins, shows why.

2015 The Cygnet
Shiraz
97 points


Hand-picked bushvine vineyard, destemmed into demi-muids for wild fermentation and extended maceration on skins until mlf completed, the juice run off and the skins pressed in a hand-operated basket press, blended after 2 years in demi-muids. An extremely complex and powerful wine with black fruits, spices, oak, tannins, earth and sea spray moulded into a single flame of flavour.

2015 The Independence
Malbec
96 points


Barrel-fermented in specially adapted demi-muids, followed by 5-6 week post-fermentation maceration, then pressed to 50/50% new and used demis. It makes no apologies for its full-bodied palate, but the primary flavours are profoundly varietal, the tannins firm but ripe.

Shop the Halliday Range now

Time Posted: 08/08/2019 at 5:00 PM
Cath Williams
 
16 July 2019 | Cath Williams

Jacques Lurton, new president of Les Vignobles André Lurton

Vignobles André Lurton announce
Jacques Lurton as new group President

The Islander Estate Vineyards has always represented the connection of two vastly different worlds of wine.  The remote, untamed environment of Kangaroo Island, one of the world's newest wine regions.  And the history and finesse of the Lurton family's six-generation Boardeaux wine heritage.  

Our connection has never been stronger than now, as Jacques Lurton takes the reins as President and Chairman of the André Lurton group, following his father's passing in May. 

Vignobles André Lurton includes 9 Châteaux including Château Couhins-Lurton, Château Dauzac, Château La Louvière and Château Bonnet, across 7 appellations - Pessac-Léognan, Margaux,  Lussac-Saint-Emilion, Bordeaux, Bordeaux Supérieur, Entre-Deux-Mers and Graves.

Jacques role as owner and lead winemaker for The Islander Estate Vineyards will remain unchanged.  As it has for the past 19 years, Kangaroo Island and The Islander Estate Vineyards remains the Jacque's special place for  creative, hands-on winemaking.

Read the full annoucement at www.andrelurton.com

 

Time Posted: 16/07/2019 at 8:30 AM
Cath Williams
 
13 May 2019 | Cath Williams

Gourmet Traveller Wine Best Cellar Door Awards 2019

It's part of The Islander Estate Vineyard's mission to help put the Kangaroo Island wine region on the world map of fine wine.  Our Tasting Room established in September 2017 has enabled us to connect many thousands of visitors to the region with our regional wine story and Jacques Lurton's inspiration for making cool climate wines here.

A big thanks to Australian Gourmet Traveller Wine magazine for recognising our efforts in their 2019 Best Cellar Door Awards, we love the variety of wine and experiences offered by our region's cellar doors.

 

Time Posted: 13/05/2019 at 2:34 PM