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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
 
23 November 2021 | 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 our festive food & wine pairings - if there’s ever been a year to indulge it’s 2021!


Pétiyante & Gin Cured Salmon

Gin Cured Salmon with Islander Estate Vineyards Sparkling

The Food:  The perfect make-ahead entree or canape for any party.  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 traditional method bottle-fermented sparkling Chardonnay/Pinot Noirs, 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 on Sparkling for Party Season

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, no matter how it's prepared.  This Christmas Roast Chicken with Macadamia Herb Seasoning from Better Homes & Gardens is on our Christmas day menu.

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 mean 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 2021 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.

Treat yourself to The Investigator for Christmas Lunch

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 it's all about the glaze which most often has a sweet element to counteract the saltiness of the ham.  Glazes tend 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 blackberries and baking spices complement the spice of the glaze.  This highly rated shiraz shows just how elegant the variety can be.

Indulge in The Cygnet Shiraz this year

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 2021 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 winemaking craftsmanship to create a wine that is power and finesse in equal balance.

Bring in 2022 with The Independence

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 varietal range 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. 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 Sauv & Australia Day Lamb Roast lamb on Australia Day

The Food:  Australia Day wraps up the holiday period and 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 in 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 winemaking brings these two together with elegance and restraint.

Explore our newest Estate range release
Time Posted: 23/11/2021 at 6:00 PM Permalink to Festive food and wine pairings for every celebration Permalink
Cath Williams
 
24 September 2021 | Cath Williams

Kangaroo Island Cellar Door trails with something for everyone

Kangaroo Island Cellar Door Trails

Kangaroo Island is a destination for families, couples, and friends.  For wine lovers, the Kangaroo Island wine region is a new discovery, but it’s not always easy to keep the whole crew happy on a cellar door tour.  We’ve put together two one-day itineraries that blend cellar door experiences with loads of other attractions to keep everyone happy. 

Itinerary 1: Cruise the Cygnet River and Surrounds

Emu Bay Lavender Farm Cafe Kangaroo Island
Breakfast at Emu Bay Lavender Farm 

Start your day with a delicious breakfast at the Emu Bay Lavender Farm.  They’re famous for their lavender scones (legitimate breakfast food we think) but there’s so much more on the menu.   They have a stunning setting and when the scent of lavender is in the air, how can the morning be anything but relaxing?  www.emubaylavenderfarm.com
 

Emu Bay Beach Kangaroo Island
Stroll along Emu Bay beach 

Work off breakfast with a stroll along this stunning 5km beach, one of the most popular on Kangaroo Island.  The sheltered North Coast waters are mostly calm and clear making it a great spot for a morning swim.  The main car park also has a playground where the kids can work off breakfast or explore the jetty for sea creatures.

Get off the bitumen and head along Boxer Road

En route to your first wine tasting, stop to check out the White Lagoon salt lake.  This road will take you past traditional farming properties and at the right time of year, you’ll pass stunning fields of bright yellow canola.
 

The Islander Estate Vineyards Cellar Door Cygnet River Kangaroo Island
Get tasting at The Islander Estate Vineyards cellar door

Start your tasting day with an introduction to our world of wine at The Islander Estate Vineyards.  Come in for a personalised guided tasting of our French-influenced cool climate wines crafted by our owner, Jacques Lurton.  After a career spanning several decades making wine in his native Bordeaux and around the world, Jacques fell in love with Kangaroo Island in 2000, purchased a property and established a vineyard with a vision to showcase the true potential of our Island region on the world stage of wine.  On Kangaroo Island Jacques combines his expertise and traditional French winemaking techniques with the freedom of winemaking offered in Australia.  The result is a range of wines that blend old world and new world wine styles. 

If you want the royal treatment book one of our food and wine experiences.  Or after your tasting, choose your favourite wine and let our team help you create a picnic hamper of French charcuterie, regional cheeses, and local produce to match. 
 

Picnic at Duck Lagoon Cygnet River Kangaroo Island
Picnic in nature at Duck Lagoon

Just a few minutes from Islander Estate’s cellar door, Duck Lagoon is a stunning natural lagoon.  It's home to a huge array of birds, echidnas and resident koalas.  It has picnic facilities, BBQ’s, toilets, and a bird hide.  Duck Lagoon is a fantastic spot to relax with a picnic while the kids explore and count how many different animal species they can spot.
 

Kangaroo Island Spirits Cellar Door Cygnet River Kangaroo Island
Get in the spirit at Kangaroo Island Spirits 

Continue exploring the Cygnet River Artisan trail with a visit to Kangaroo Island Spirits for a paddle of their award-winning gins or settle in the garden with a cocktail.  KIS has a fantastic rustic atmosphere at their cellar door and if you have the time, you can even join in a cocktail masterclass (book ahead).  www.kispirits.com.au

Our pick:  We can’t help but be partial to the Wally White gin, aged in barrels used for our stunning Semillon.  It brings together the best of spirits and wine.
 

Frogs and Roses Cafe Cygnet River Kangaroo Island
Get sweet at Frogs N Roses 

If you’re visiting on the weekend, refuel at Frogs and Roses, a green oasis incorporating a nursery with a café offering the best cheesecake on Kangaroo Island.  There’s plenty of room for the kids to roam or bounce on the trampoline while you relax under a tree.  www.facebook.com/frogsandrosesgardencenter
 

Springs Road Wines Cellar Door Cygnet River Kangaroo Island
Sip a new wine style at Springs Road Wines

Our neighbours and great friends, Joch and Louise Bosworth have a strong reputation for their organic wines in McLaren Vale under the labels Battle of Bosworth and Spring Seed wines.  So, we were excited when they also fell in love with Kangaroo Island and purchased an established vineyard in Cygnet River in 2016.  Joch and Louise bring a new dimension to the Kangaroo Island wine industry and their intimate tasting room set overlooking the vineyard is a must-visit for any lover.  One of their McLaren Vale staff members also runs Second Valley Cheese company, so a glass of wine paired with their cheese is a unique experience.  www.springsroad.com.au

Our wine pick:  James Halliday’s 2021 Wine Companion rates the Springs Road Wines Kangaroo Island Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz 2018 at 94 points and we can’t argue with that. 
 

Bay of Shoals Wines Cellar Door Reeves Point Kangaroo Island
Sundowners at Bay of Shoals 

Vineyards don’t get much closer to the ocean than at Bay of Shoals.  Their cellar door overlooking Reeves Point and the Bay of Shoals is a great place to wind up your tasting tour. Their grapes are grown, harvested, and made onsite alongside the Cellar Door, offering guided tastings and build your own platters to enjoy outdoors overlooking the bay. www.bayofshoalswines.com.au

Our wine pick:  Bay of Shoals produce some wines unique to their label on Kangaroo Island.  Try their Savagnin or popular Sparkling Shiraz.

Wind up the day

Finish your day with an early dinner and a cleansing ale at Kangaroo Island Brewery (www.kangarooislandbrewery.com.au) on the weekends or back in Kingscote where we recommend The Ozone Hotel for contemporary cuisine (www.ozonehotelki.com.au/restaurant-bar) or Café Bella for fantastic Italian fare (www.bellacafekangarooisland.com.au).

We’ve even created a Google map for our Cruise the Cygnet River & Surrounds itinerary, click here and you’re good to go!  

Stay

Get a good night’s rest because tomorrow has a whole new day of Cellar Door touring in store!  

There’s no shortage of unique luxury accommodation options within reach of today’s trail.  Some of our very favourite places to settle in are: At Emu Bay, Hamilton and Dune www.hamiltondune.com.au.  On the northwest coast,  Lifetime Private Retreats www.life-time.com.au and Top Deck at Snellings Beach www.topdeckatsnelling.com.  At Stokes Bay, Stow Away www.stowawayki.com.au


Itinerary 2:  Explore the East End
 

Millie Maes Pantry and Cafe Penneshaw Kangaroo Island
Get nourished with breakfast at Millie Mae’s

Start your day in Penneshaw with breakfast at Millie Mae’s Pantry.  This café has become a star of the east end’s eating scene.  Treat yourself to local pastries, great coffee, fresh juices, or a cooked breakfast.  They’ll even wet your whistle with a mimosa made with The Islander Estate Vineyards Petiyante sparkling.www.milliemaespantry.com

 

Kangaroo Island Sculpture Trail Penneshaw
Stretch your legs on the Kangaroo Island Sculpture Trail 

Just a few minutes walk along the Penneshaw foreshore from Millie Mae’s, this sculpture trail is a constant evolution, set amongst 4.5 hectares of dunes overlooking stunning Hog Bay beach with views back to the mainland.  The 1.5 kms of the trail, winds through the dunes and feature lookouts, steps, boardwalks, a swing bridge, seating, and scenic views with a surprise at every turn.  Stunning sculptures are dotted along the trail with new installations always appearing, each one bringing to life an aspect of our Island’s culture, community, and natural environment. www.kangarooislandsculpturetrail.com

Look for surprises on the Wallaby Track 

If you have kids on board with some energy still to burn, the ‘locals secret’ Wallaby Track a little further along the foreshore is an entirely different trail for the little visitors to explore.  Look out for the signs at the start of this 3 km return hike which follows a spring-fed creek bed with naturally occurring waterfalls (in winter) into limestone features. Look out along the way for hidden animals, real and play. Find it here:  
 


Land at Dudley Wines for lunch with a view

Head out of Penneshaw on the road towards Cape Willoughby lighthouse and you can’t miss your first cellar door stop at Dudley Wines.  Relax on the deck with a pizza or platter and a wine paddle while you look back over the Backstairs Passage to mainland Australia and see if you can spot a whale.  They have a great nature playground for little kids and a golf tee for the big ones.  The Howards have a true family-run business incorporating wine and traditional farming on Kangaroo Island.  www.dudleywines.com.au

Our wine picks?  Dudley Wines have some great options for wine drinkers who enjoy fruit-forward wines.  Try Thirteen Sparkling Shiraz NV, Dudley Ripple or Glossy Black Sweet Red.
 

Antechamber Bay and Chapman River Kangaroo Island
Explore where the river meets the sea at Antechamber Bay

After lunch, continue on the road towards Cape Willoughby lighthouse.  After about 10 minutes you’ll spy the signs for Lashmar Conservation Park which includes the vast Antechamber Bay and the Chapman River flowing to the sea.   A wonderland for kids, take the second Southern turn off and you’ll pass a great variety of picnic and camping spots dotted along the river.  Continue to the end of this trail and you’ll come to a picnic area beyond with a magical grove of stringybark trees to play amongst and gently sloping riverbanks, perfect for paddling, feeding the fish or kayaking.

Make your way down onto the Antechamber Bay beach where you can walk on white sand for miles.  Stunning views back to mainland Australia make this a tempting spot to stop for a play or an afternoon nap.  Explore more here:  


Step back in time at Cape Willoughby Lighthouse  

At the most easterly point of the island, Cape Willoughby Lighthouse has stood guard over this part of the Kangaroo Island coastline since 1852.  A guided tour offers the chance to walk in the shoes of the lighthouse keepers and their families who worked 24 hours a day to assist the safe journey of ships passing through the treacherous stretch of water known as Backstairs Passage. Explore here:  

Hint:  While you’re here, stop and explore the stunning granite boulders and surf of Windmill Bay.


False Cape Wines Cellar Door Kangaroo Island
Get back on the (wine) trail at False Cape Wines

By now you’ll be ready for refreshments and False Cape Wines cellar door is a great spot to explore another dimension to Kangaroo Island wine.  Head back from Cape Willoughby before taking a turn west along Wilson River Road.  You’ll drive by stunning Lashmar Lagoon and through farm country before finding the signs for False Cape’s cellar door.   Set amongst the vineyards where owners Julie and Jamie Helyar grow their fruit, False Cape Wines are made by Greg Follett of Lake Breeze in Langhorne Creek, bringing a signature style to their wines.

The kids will be happy feeding the farm animals and rolling on the lawn in the sunshine while you relax with a wine paddle and a platter (if you’re really hungry their pies are delicious).  If the weather is cool, they’ll have their indoor and outdoor fireplaces roaring.  www.falsecapewines.com.au/Cellar-Door

Our wine picks? We’re partial to False Cape’s Riesling and their new fortified Shiraz is an excellent way to top off a meal by the fire.

Sunset at Brown Beach Kangaroo Island
Watch the sun sink into the sea at Brown Beach 

After leaving False Cape, turn onto the East-West Road and within 10 minutes you’ll roll down the hill towards the coastline, landing at Brown Beach campground. A stunning place to pop open a bottle of wine you’ve collected during the day for a sundowner while the kids play or swim in the safe waters.  Explore more:  

If you’re equipped, take advantage of the excellent BBQ facilities here and stay for a casual dinner, head to American River to the Reflections Restaurant at the Mercure Hotel (see below) or otherwise complete your day's loop with a short drive back into Penneshaw for dinner at the Penneshaw Hotel (known as ‘The Penny’ by the locals).

Stay

Two of our favourite places to stay on the eastern end of Kangaroo Island are:  American River, Mercure Kangaroo Island Lodge www.kilodge.com.au or Cape Willoughby, Sea Dragon Lodge:  www.seadragonlodge.com.au

We’ve even created a Google map for our Explore the East End itinerary, click here you’re good to go! 

Don’t want to drive?

Let a local do the driving, there’s a range of local guides now offering unique cellar door trail experiences, two of our favourites:  Exceptional Kangaroo Island www.exceptionalkangarooisland.com or Kangaroo Island Hire A Guide  www.kiguide.com.au.

Time Posted: 24/09/2021 at 8:00 AM Permalink to Kangaroo Island Cellar Door trails with something for everyone Permalink
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:

Time Posted: 07/05/2021 at 7:08 AM Permalink to Take a fresh look at Sauvignon Blanc Permalink
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.

Time Posted: 17/04/2021 at 9:00 AM Permalink to Demystifying Malbec Permalink
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

Time Posted: 31/03/2021 at 9:00 AM Permalink to Our Favourite Easter Food and Wine Pairings Permalink
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 Permalink to Our favourite Spring food and wine pairings Permalink