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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!

Yale Norris
 
17 August 2020 | Yale Norris

Halliday 2021 Australian Wine Companion



Your guide to the 2021 Australian Wine Companion's
favourite Islander Estate Vineyards Wines

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 just-released 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.

2019 Wally White Semillon
95 GOLD

(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. 

Current Vintage 2018 Wally White:  95 GOLD

2019 Old Rowley Shiraz/Grenache: 95 GOLD

(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 2019 Old Rowely:  95 GOLD

2019 Viognier: 
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.

2019 Sangiovese:
95 GOLD

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. 

2019 Tempranillo:
94 Silver

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.

2019 Bark Hut Rd Shiraz/Cab Franc: 93 Silver

(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 2018 Bark Hut Rd: 95 GOLD

Shop our current release Halliday favourites 

Time Posted: 17/08/2020 at 11:30 AM
Yale Norris
 
19 July 2020 | Yale Norris

From the Ashes by James Halliday, Wine Companion Magazine

James Halliday Feature Aug Sept 2020

Thanks to James Halliday for his feature on our Kangaroo Island wine journey and our future beyond the 2019/2020 bushfires.

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.

Click here to read James' feature "From the Ashes"

James Halliday's 3 Wines to Try

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.

James Halliday review of Wally White Semillon

2018 Wally White
"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. Drink to 2027."

Shop 2018 Wally White

James Halliday review of Old Rowley Shiraz Grenache

2019 Old Rowley
"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 & red earth aromas. Deliciously ripe palate with dark cherry, black fruits & grenache violets & confection. Tanins are firm. Bottle age is a must. Drink to 2032.


Shop current release 2018 Old Rowley 

James Halliday review of The Sangiovese

2019 The Sangiovese
"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.  Drink to 2030."


Shop 2019 Sangiovese


 

Time Posted: 19/07/2020 at 2:00 PM
Yale Norris
 
3 April 2020 | Yale Norris

Kangaroo Island's Best Tasting Experience - Cellar Door Awards by Australian Gourmet Traveller Wine

Best Tasting Experience. 
The one we want.

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.

Click here to explore our Tasting Room experiences and plan your visit

Time Posted: 03/04/2020 at 10:00 AM
Cath Williams
 
8 August 2019 | Cath Williams

Halliday's 2020 Wine Companion 95+ wines

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

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

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

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

2017 Wally White
Semillon
95 points



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

2018 Bark Hut Rd
Shiraz/Cab Franc

95 points
 

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

2018 Old Rowley
Shiraz/Grenache
95 points


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

2015 The Investigator
Cabernet Franc
95 points


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

2015 The Cygnet
Shiraz
97 points


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

2015 The Independence
Malbec
96 points


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

Shop the Halliday Range now

Time Posted: 08/08/2019 at 5:00 PM
Cath Williams
 
13 May 2019 | Cath Williams

Sports Illustrated Swimsuit gets up close and personal with Islander Estate

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.

Time Posted: 13/05/2019 at 1:55 PM
Cath Williams
 
18 August 2018 | Cath Williams

James Halliday has a taste for The Islander Estate Vineyards

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. 

Time Posted: 18/08/2018 at 2:15 PM