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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
 
7 May 2021 | Cath Williams

Take a fresh look at Sauvignon Blanc

One of the comments we hear most often at our Tasting Room is "wow, I've never tasted a Sauvignon Blanc like this". 

With its huge rise in popularity in recent years, all Australian white wine drinkers have included Sauvignon Blanc in their wine repertoire.  But we think there's lots more to learn about this variety that can produce such varied characteristics.  Here's some new facts about one of our favourite varieties:
  1. It’s no new kid on the wine-block.  Sauvignon Blanc originated in France in the 1500’s the Loire Valley & Jacque Lurton’s native Bordeaux where is features in famous wines like Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé.
     
  2. Sauvignon Blanc has a wild side.  Its name comes from the French words ‘sauvage’ meaning wild and ‘blanc’ that meaning white.
     
  3. Sauvignon Blanc in Bordeaux is most known as a major player in the sweet wine Sauternes.
     
  4. Bordeaux’s most famous white blend, Bordeaux Blanc, pairs Semillon & Sauvignon Blanc in the world’s original Sem-Sauv-Blanc blends.
     
  5. Believe it or not Sauvignon Blanc is the mother of the robust tannic red wine variety Cabernet Sauvignon (Cabernet Franc is the father).
     
  6. Sauvignon Blanc grows best in cool or maritime climates (both Bordeaux & Kangaroo Island feature maritime climates) where long even growing conditions balance its crisp acidity with fresh fruit character. 
     
  7. Sauvignon Blanc was one of the first varieties to be described in terms of one of its dominant flavour compounds, methoxypyrazines. This compound is responsible for the Sauvignon Blanc’s herbaceous nature, including characters like asparagus, cut grass, capsicum, dried herbs and gooseberries. Next time you taste wine with friends, drop this term!
     
  8. Not all Sauvignon Blancs are the same.  It can vary wildly based on where its grown & wine making techniques, so try a wide range of regions & styles.
     
  9. It has an alias. Fumé Blanc –coined in California in the 1960s and popularized by Robert Mondavi. Fumé Blanc is Sauvignon Blanc. Sometimes it is aged in oak, giving it smoky  notes (fumé means smoke), but it is not required that it be aged in oak.
     
  10. Looking for foods that pair beautifully with Sauvignon Blanc?  Easy, if the dish would be enhanced by a squeeze of lemon, you’ll be on a winner serving them together.

We have very limited quantities of our 2019 Sauvignon Blanc left online & at our Tasting Room, order yours now:

Yale Norris
 
17 April 2021 | Yale Norris

Demystifying Malbec

Let's get intimate with stunning Malbec

Malbec's Provenance

Malbec originated in Jacques' native Bordeaux (and also Cahors) where it primarily played a bit-part in classic Bordeaux blends, never really getting the chance to shine in the spotlight in France.  In the late-19th century, phylloxera nearly destroyed the Malbec wine business. The vines eventually recovered, before being later hit by the deadly frosts in the mid-1950s. The variety struggled to return in France until the mid 1970's.

Luckily then, that a French agronomist Michel Aimé Pouget had introduced the variety South America in the mid-1800's, where the variety found its day in the sun in the hot high-altitude Argentinian climate around Mendoza.  Malbec finally found its place centre stage as a single varietal, becoming the shining star of Argentinian wine. 

In modern day wine, Malbec has travelled all over the world, but Argentina still produces 75% of the world's Malbec & Cahors in France’s south-west the second largest producer. 

It found its way to Australia in 1860 where is grows particularly well in South Australia, production is still selective, Malbec represents less than 0.5% of Aussie grape and wine production.  In Australia Malbec’s beginnings were as a blending grape, these days a small but growing number of producers are taking inspiration from South America and showing Malbec’s potential as a single varietal.

A Malbec love affair spanning 3 continents

Jacques Lurton’s relationship with Malbec began in his native France where the variety originated, the love affair really took off when he spent extensive time in South America establishing vineyards in partnership with his brother Francois in Argentina & Chile, experiencing Malbec as the powerhouse of the wine industry there.

As a flying winemaker, he had also spent time in Austalia, seeing how well the variety transferred from the hot high-latitude climate of Argentina to South Australia’s moderate Mediterranean climate.  When Jacques set up his own Australian business, The Islander Estate Vineyards on Kangaroo Island he had it planted to use as a blending wine with flagship varieties. 

Those plans changed from almost the first vintage, when the quality of his Malbec on Kangaroo Island impressed Jacques so much, he saw it deserved to shine on its own. The Majestic Plough was born as the region’s only single variety Malbec.

The quality continued increase vintage to vintage.  Jacques was determined to show the true potential of Malbec on Kangaroo Island, so in 2015 The Islander Estate's flagship wine range was joined by The Independence Malbec – rated as one of the country’s best single variety Malbecs (96 points James Halliday's 2021 Wine Companion). 

The Islander Estate Vineyards is the only winery commercially producing Malbec on Kangaroo Island.

So, what's so special about Malbec anyway?

Often considered as an alternative to Cabernet Sauvignon or Shiraz, Malbec is a powerhouse wine in its own accord, the most structured and tannic wine we produce on Kangaroo Island.

Malbec is a thick-skinned, purple grape variety with an inky red hue.  On Kangaroo Island the vines are low yielding and always the first red variety to be picked at vintage.

In the glass, it has an intense deep red colour, magenta-tinged at the rim.  On the nose you’ll find savoury aromas of leather, tobacco, blackberry, dried herbs and spices with plenty of toasty oak.

In the mouth expect big, juicy and plush flavours of dark fruit with a robust structure and moderately firm tannins with natural acidity and a longer finish than you expect from overseas examples.

Malbec’s best food friends

Malbec loves a lean protein like a good quality steak barbecued over coals (even better with a herb or chimichurri sauce on the side), roast lamb with robust stuffing, roast game like duck or pheasant. 

It also loves hard or blue cheeses and sits beautifully alongside charcuterie.

Drink now or wait?

Malbec has great cellaring potential 15+ years if you have the patience!

 

Get up close The Islander Estate’s Malbec

The Independence Malbec from our Flagship range has just been rated as one of the best in the country by James Halliday with a 96pt rating in the 2020 Wine Companion.  Pop this one away and try not to think about it for a few years – it will pay off.

Our Estate Range Majestic Plough Malbec has a huge following. While it's sold out for now due to the impact on our Malbec vines in the 2020 bushfires, jump onto our mailing list to be the first to get your hands on our 2021 vintage Majestic Plough.

Cath Williams
 
31 March 2021 | Cath Williams

Our Favourite Easter Food and Wine Pairings


No matter what's on your Easter menu we have a wine to match, from the conventional to the unexpected.

Oysters and Champagne are a classic match: the clean, palate-cleansing sparkle, acidity and minerality of the Champagne counterbalances the subtle brininess and creaminess of the oyster. They both contain unami flavour that make a match made in heaven.

A classic blend originating in Jacques' native Bordeaux, Semillon Sauvignon Blanc's hints of citrus and tropical fruit, texture that's soft and round from the barrel aging and acidity drawing out a long finish complements the sweetness of prawns and barbequed flavours.

The flavours of salmon can vary from extremely delicate to rich and lingering.  Whether it's baked, grilled or a stunning salad, our dry Provence style Rose is the perfect compliment.

For lots of Australians, Good Friday night is fish and chips on the beach. Fried fish dishes love the natural acidity of white wines like The White Chardonnay. Slightly toasty with flavours of peach, nectarine, melon and toasted nuts, with fruit sweetness is offset by steely, refreshing acidity and a long finish.

The richness and texture of roast lamb needs the the deep, intense colour rich fruit flavour and firm tannin structure of Cabernet.  Our varietal range Cab Sauv is a perfect match for your Easter roast.

Our Cotes du Rhone style Shiraz/Grenache blend undergoes whole bunch carbonic maceration to develop a deliciously ripe palate with dark cherry, black fruits, spicy mocha, gernache violets and confection.  The fruit character and balanced tannins match beautifully with bitter dark chocolate.

Ready to try a wine match that's a little more unconventional?  Take a risk on Cabernet Franc's mouth drying fruit cherries, raspberries, stewed plums and classic herbaciousness as a contrast to Hot Cross Bun's spices richness and dried fruit flavours.

Choose your Easter wine selection now

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
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