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!
As part of Wine Australia’s US Market Entry Program, a range of our wines were recently reviewed by the Wine Enthusiast’s rating panel. Wines from around the world are tasted by the Wine Enthusiast’s expert tasting panel at their New York Office.
The tasting gives us the opportunity to test how our wines are received by USA wine experts, alongside some of the best from Australia & Europe.
We were really pleased to receive solid results. Our Estate wines were placed in the Highly recommended category, with one of scoring 93 points, a score awarded to less than 1% of all Australian wines tasted by the panel. Our everyday drinking varietal wines also scored in the good value, well-recommended category, exactly where we would place them. Check out the reviews & order a selection for your wine cellar.
Wine Enthusiast Rating Scale
|Classic 98–100||The pinnacle of quality|
|Superb 94–97||A great achievement|
|Excellent 90-93||Highly recommended|
|Very Good 87 - 89||Often good value, well recommended|
|Good 83 - 86||Suitable for everyday consumption; often good value|
|Acceptable 80-82||Can be employed in casual situations|
Dark purple at the core, this supremely ripe wine’s nose bursts in aromas of cassis, oodles of menthol, Black Mission fig and Morello cherry. All at once sweet in fruit and savory in spice, this is a vibrant and slightly baroque wine in aromas and flavors. In structure, it is well-proportioned and seamless, leaving the taster to revel in the complex flavor dimensions. Creamy tannins are juxtaposed by roaring, refreshing acidity. The spicy finish recalls memories of walking through Istanbul’s Spice Market. Buckle up, this is quite a flavor ride. Drink now–2026.
This is an energetic, engaging wine with tremendous aromatic appeal and racy palate lift. The nose shows distinctly different aromas with black peppercorn popping up first, followed by a refreshing herbal lift. The palate gorges on popping-ripe blackberry and blueberry fruits. The tannins are strapping but well-placed and the acidity is marked and vibrant. The medium-plus body is nicely weighty with solid extraction but no heaviness. Lovely now, this should evolve nicely in the coming years. Drink now–2025.
Sultry on the nose, with graphite and game dominating the blackberry undertones, the palate follows in the same vein. This is definitely one to decant. The palate opens up with time in the glass. Black plums, Dr. Pepper soda and dried wildflowers create a whirlwind of flavor with a solid caramel tone on the medium finish. That finish is also just a touch warm, but if the wine is served at cellar temperature, it will be fine with a hearty meal. The midpalate is a bit cherubesque, but it is nicely framed by sassy acidity and sculpted tannins. Drink now–2024.
This is a snappy, youthful and delightfully intricate white. It shows classic Sauvignon Blanc aromatic markers of ripe yellow citrus and fresh green beans while offering a solidly ripe core balanced by roaring acidity. Hints of sweet and savory spice grace the pretty fruit on the medium finish, which is flecked with crushed slate. Lovely now, this should hold nicely in the bottle for a couple more years. Drink now–2024
This wine is rambunctious and inviting on the nose. Generous in floral perfume, it also reveals honeydew melon, green gauge plum and toasty baking spice. Nicely rounded on the midweight palate, the buttery undertones are a bit domineering for the reserved, lighter fruit flavors that finish with moderate length. Still, the pleasant mix of tropical fruit and sweet spice influence is an attractive profile that will appease a wide sphere of consumers. Drink now–2024.
This wine’s vivid aromas are a dance party for the nose. Sassy red and black cherries and plums pop out of the glass along with a spray of black peppercorns and an undercurrent of hard-stemmed herbs. The attack is a burst of perfectly ripened fruits with acidic verve and streamlined tannins. Nicely extracted but not unctuous, and neither cloying nor heavy, this shimmies across the palate with incredibly energetic, youthful fruit. Given the fairly fast finish, this crowd-pleaser is perfect for casual settings. Drink now–2024
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. The annual Halliday Wine Companion is a guide to where to visit, what to taste, buy and cellar for Australian wine lovers.
We're proud to submit our wines each year for tasting and rating, it gives us a great feel for how our wines sit amongst the best in the country.
In the 2021 Haliday Wine Companion we were excited to receive the highest possible Red 5-star winery rating and a range of new wines rated Gold and Silver from our premium Estate and everyday drinking Varietal ranges.
See the Halliday Wine Companion team's tasting notes and ratings below.
(Not yet released)
Semillon on Kangaroo Island clearly has a future. Wally White responds to the terroir with generosity, offering up an intriguing complexity that attacks all the senses. Eye-catching medium-deep yellow in hue. Aromas of honeysuckle, beeswax and baked pear. Waves of flavour ride the mouth, concentrated, intense with abiding texture and acidity. As a 2yo it comes across as developed, but the acidity ensures a long life.
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(Not yet released)
A brilliant purple sheen is an enticing introduction to this smart, young shiraz grenache. Softness is the key here together with a discreet, still emerging personality. It has a way to go. Pepper, spice, blackberries and red earth aromas. Deliciously ripe palate with dark cherry, black fruits and grenache violets and confection. Tannins are firm. Bottle age is a must.
Current Vintage 2018 Old Rowely: 95 GOLD
(Not yet released)
Archetypal viognier with the scent of honey-drizzled peaches and pears, orange blossom and fruit peel. Intoxicating stuff. Golden and creamy style with a slightly nutty demeanour that lasts to the finish, the apricot stone and dried fruit savouriness complete the textbook example. A wine of many parts and with many years ahead.
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In so many ways, The Islander produces wines that are more European than Australian. Note the degree of savouriness in its wines, and the use of fruit as a conduit for complexity and 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 and imparting sweet mocha. Cherry pip, chalky tannins still melding.
From a winery founded by a Frenchman comes a wine made by an American and featuring a Spanish grape from an up-and-coming Aussie wine region, is it any wonder there is so much happening in this unusually savoury and complex tempranillo? Layer upon layer of black fruits, spice, vanilla oak with chocolate mocha overtones, saline brightness and sturdy tannin lines all adds up to an exciting wine. The charcuterie, smoked meat savouriness on the back palate adds a special touch.
(Not yet released)
Kangaroo Island's maritime climate is a dominating presence in the wines produced at The Islander. That, and the role of the native bush lands of old-growth eucalyptus and mallee. Both are evident here. Sea spray, red currant, raspberry and spice with an earthy savouriness, reveal a sense of place. A tad reductive on the palate, but it blows away with some swishing to reveal a savoury-infused palate, charcuterie and game with a rising pepper imprint. A complex lovely just starting out.
Current Vintage: 2017 Bark Hut Rd
Jacques Lurton's relationship with James Halliday goes back to his first experiences in Australia as a young winemaker learning new world winemaking techniques in the freedom of the Aussie wine industry.
In this month's Wine Companion magazine, James reflects on the journey that led Jacques to select Kangaroo Island as the location for his only Australian wine business, with a vision to showcase the true potential that the region offers. And how our vision remains just as strong after the devastating fires of 2020.
Three of James Halliday's favourite Islander Estate Vineyards wines have received scores of 95 points in his Wine Companion magazine feature. All fantastic cool weather wines to feature in your wine cellar at this time of year.
2018 Wally White
Waves of flavour ride the mouth, concentrated, intense with abiding texture and acidity. As a 2yo it comes across as developed, but the acidity ensures a long life. Drink to 2027."
2019 Old Rowley
2019 The Sangiovese
For wine lovers, there are many wonderful styles of cellar doors to experience.
When we took the leap to open our Tasting Room it was with a clear vision. We wanted it to be rustic, intimate, simple & most importantly, unassuming. Just time spent chatting with our guests about wine. Sharing stories. Sharing passions. Letting the wine speak for itself.
We want our guests to leave feeling they’ve connected and perhaps learned something new in their personal wine journey.
We can’t wait to start welcoming you back. Many thanks to Gourmet Traveller WINE for the work they do recognising small wineries in these tough times. You've added a smile to our dial.
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.
2018 Bark Hut Rd
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
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
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.
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.
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.
Kangaroo Island was featured extensively in Sports llustrated's 2019 Swimsuit issue. The SI Swimsuit team sat down with Islander Estate's General Manager Yale Norris to chat about what drew him across the world to Kangaroo Island and makes it the perfect place to make wine and a home. Check out the article here.
One of Australia's most respected wine critics, James Halliday's annual Wine Companion is the bible for Australian wine lovers and winemakers.
A big thanks to James for his articles featuring The Islander Estate Vineyards, in The Weekend Australian's Weekend magazine.
Featuring reviews of 2017 Sangiovease (92 points, sold out, click to find our 2018 vintage online), 2015 Majestic Plough Malbec (91 points, sold out, join our mailing list for our next release) and our latest Flagship range launch 2015 The Independence Malbec (96 points, available online and via our Tasting Room).
You can read the article online here.