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!
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.