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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
 
20 June 2022 | Cath Williams

Our favourite things to see & do on Kangaroo Island in winter

It’s a secret mostly only known by Island locals, Kangaroo Island is at its most beautiful in Winter. 

Our favourite things to see and do on Kangaroo Island in winter

Spectacular windswept coastline, deserted beaches washed clean by the sea, stunning green fields full of winter lambs and wildlife in abundance.  And the best part?  You can join the locals in feeling like you have Kangaroo Island almost to yourself.

Winter is a stunning time to visit Kangaroo Island.  The Islander Estate Vineyards team are sharing our favourite things to see and do on Kangaroo Island during these stunning cool months.

Visit The Islander Estate Vineyards cellar door on the Cygnet River Artisan Trail

Meander the Cygnet River Artisan Trail

Where else could we start but with the opportunity to spend time with our fantastic array of local artisan producers?

Our cellar doors and farm gates are more relaxed in winter.  Producers are always happy to see you and they have plenty of time to stop for a chat to share their stories - and to learn yours.

Central to the Island, the Cygnet River Artisan Trail offers two cellar doors (The Islander Estate Vineyards and our neighbours Springs Road Wines) and Australia’s most awarded gin at Kangaroo Island Spirits.

If you enjoy a brew as much as wine, then Kangaroo Island Brewery is a fantastic spot a little further afield on the way to Emu Bay.  Stop for a paddle of their fantastic hand-built beers and a platter by the fire (check their Facebook page for opening days).  A little along the road Emu Bay Lavender are super popular for their lavender products and their café fare – their lavender scones are legendary and their curries and burgers are favourites for lunch. 

Back a little towards Kingscote, the wine tasting trail continues at Bay of Shoals wines just five minutes outside of Kingscote.  You can’t visit Kangaroo Island without experiencing our famous Ligurian honey – both Island Beehive and Cliffords Honey Farm are worth a stop.

Head east, stop in at The Oyster Farm Shop in American River – oysters are at their prime in winter.  Then continue the tasting trail at Dudley Wines for wines with a view and great pizza.  In Penneshaw The Shy Wren is a fantastic wine and tapas bar, settle in for a cocktail and a shared feast by the fire (open Thurs to Sunday)

Winter bird watching on Kangaroo Island

A bird watcher's paradise

Kangaroo Island has over 260 bird species and they abound in winter in many sheltered spots.

Just minutes from The Islander Estate Tasting Room, Duck Lagoon fills with winter rains and attracts a huge array of birdlife (you might see more than one Koala sharing the trees with the birds).  Stop in for a visit at our Tasting Room, grab a bottle of wine, cheeses and French charcuterie then spend a peaceful hour or two picnicking and bird watching. If you're with the family, the kids will have a ball koala spotting here.

Stormy southerlies from the Southern Ocean often bring in albatross and other pelagic species – Cape du Couedic is a favourite location for local birders. Endangered Glossy Black-cockatoo are nesting at this time of year and feeding near Penneshaw, American River and Stokes Bay, as are Yellow-tailed Cockatoos. Cape Barren Geese are also seen in abundance with their young during winter. Be sure to view nesting areas from afar to avoid disturbing nesting pairs.

In the quiet of winter evenings (the stars on Kangaroo Island are definitely worth an evening venture), you may hear Cuckoos calling – hearing their distinctive “mo-poke... mo-poke” call is something special.

Kangaroo Island winter beach walks

Stormy beach walks

Nothing is as refreshing as a beach walk during a winter storm to restore the soul – and of course to give you a good excuse to recover with an afternoon curled up with a wine by the fire.

For spectacular rolling surf, visit the south coast beaches like D’Estrees Bay, Vivonne Bay and Hanson Bay.  Kangaroo Island's north coast offers more protected beach walks, washed clean by the rain.  Our favourites include Western River Cove, Snellings Beach and Stokes Bay 

On the east of the Island, Antechamber Bay is truly spectacular and you can follow up a beach walk with a sheltered picnic by the nearby Chapman River.

Winter lambs in the fields on Kangaroo Island

Green fields full of new life

Nothing represents the renewal that winter brings to our region like vibrant green fields full of bounding baby lambs, bright white with their new wool. They represent the promise of future prosperity for our region’s farmers and they simply make you smile.  It's worth keeping an eye out in paddocks all over the Island and stopping the car to watch their antics.

At this time of year, Echidnas begin breeding, if you see an Echidna train it’s a very lucky day indeed so keep an eye out on roadside verges and wherever you are hiking.  And baby joeys have begun venturing from their mother’s pouch to feed all over the Island, but often visible at Pelican Lagoon.

Winter beach fishing on Kangaroo Island

Hauling in a bounty 

Kangaroo Islanders often say the best meal you can have is fish, freshly caught yourself, cooked and shared with friends (with a fantastic local wine of course). 

The weather may be a little wilder, but the fishing can be at its best during winter, especially in the calm that follows a storm, when the fish often bite the hardest.  Whether you are fishing from a beach, a jetty or a boat, bringing home your bag limit of our famous King George Whiting is a satisfying way to spend a day.  They are at their plump best in winter and extra active as they breed.

Salmon Trout can be caught from beaches like Hanson Bay (our tip, cooked super fresh in a beer batter perfect with Pinot Gris) and squid from jetties.  If you have a boat, Nannygai is great for catching and eating.

Do make sure you’re familiar with Kangaroo Island’s protected by Marine Parks and Marine Park Sanctuary Zones and bag and size limits before you head out fishing.  Get all the essential info from Tourism Kangaroo Island's KI Fishing Guide. Or for a guaranteed catch, hook up with one of Kangaroo Island’s fishing charters and let the experts find the fish.

And if you can't catch them yourself, stock up in American River at The Oyster Farm Shop or KI Fresh Seafoods in Kingscote for the freshest local fish.


Southern Wright Whale in the waters around Kangaroo Island

Watching monsters leap from the sea

There are over 80 whale species in the world, 29 of these species visit our South Australian waters each year.

The Southern Right Whale, one of the largest, weighs up to 80 tons and grows to 18 metres in length. They are the most frequent whale visitors to Kangaroo Island waters and often travel past between May and September before they return to Antarctic waters in October. Look for them close inshore right around the coast. Mothers may rest with the young in more sheltered bays.

Blue Whales and Humpback Whales also visit, and Killer Whales (Orcas) sometimes drop by for a seal meal.

Kangaroo Island's native orchids flower in Winter

Hunting for native orchids

With such amazing vistas and coastlines, it can be easy to focus on the wider landscape when taking a winter hike on Kangaroo Island.

But for a mindfulness exercise that will have you reconnecting with the details, there is no better activity than a hunt for our native orchids. With over 80 native species, a hunt for these tiny but spectacular flowers really makes you slow to a meander and absorb the beauty to be found on a micro-level.

Whether it’s these tiny flowers, lichen and fungi, flowering native ground shrubs or the spectacular Wattle it’s worth slowing down and meandering.

One of our favourite spots is American River’s Cannery Walk.  Find out more here

Cooking around the campfire is a special Kangaroo Island winter experience

Slow cooking over a bonfire

Gather your mates, light a fire, have a few wines while you wait for the coals to burn low, and then nestle a camp oven on the coals.  It takes a while to cook but there's nothing better than passing the time with good conversation, plenty of red wine and a jam if you have a guitar on hand.

Spending an afternoon this way is iconically Kangaroo Island.  And there’s nothing better than slow-cooked local lamb, vegetables and red wine simmered for hours.

So what are you waiting for?  Start planning your cool-season trip to Kangaroo Island.  We'll see you soon!

Tourism Kangaroo Island
South Australian Tourism Commission
Time Posted: 20/06/2022 at 9:00 AM Permalink to Our favourite things to see & do on Kangaroo Island in winter Permalink
Yale Norris
 
1 June 2022 | Yale Norris

Vintage 2022 report. Getting back to business.

Vintage 2022 The Islander Estate Vineyards Kangaroo Island

Vintage 2022 has been an enormous milestone in our recovery from the 2019/2020 bushfires, which devastated our estate in the stunning Kohinoor Hills on Kangaroo Island.  

We were excited to be back producing again at our home winery & buoyed by the recovery of our vineyard.   

With international covid restrictions easing, Jacques Lurton was back on deck on Kangaroo Island to kick off vintage.
Having our dream team back together felt so good!  


Growing Season

Kangaroo Island experienced a wet winter in 2021, followed by a challenging flowering during November. These same conditions were experienced across much of South Australia, resulting in widespread lower fruit-set.  

Vintage 2022 at The Islander Estate Vineyards flowering

Ripening

As always in viticulture, every challenge has a silver lining.  As a result of the below-average flowering, our vines concentrated their energy on a smaller amount of fruit.  Summer 2021/2022 has been mild, creating a long slow ripening period resulting in red varieties with an outstanding balance of fruit & acidity.

Vintage 2022 at The Islander Estate Vineyards veraison

Harvest

Harvest kicked off on the 10th of March with a small crew hand-picking an excellent crop of Sauvignon Blanc at the Haines vineyard.  Over the next 5 weeks, we processed around 70 tonnes of grapes concluding with a hand-pick of our signature variety Cabernet Franc on the 14th of April.  We celebrated our first harvest from our Kohinoor Hills vineyard with two volunteer picking days where we were joined by friends, community members & loyal customers.

It was exciting & energising to be harvesting from our estate just two years post bushfire. Our yield was small compared to pre-bushfire levels, but we are confident our recovery rate will improve significantly over the next two years.

Vintage 2022 harvest at The Islander Estate Vineyards

Volunteer picking crew at The Islander Estate Vineyards for vintage 2022

As always in a small wine business, vintage means all hands on deck.  The entire Norris family jumped in for long days & even longer nights. Yale's son Wynn became the #1 vintage hand. A next-generation winemaker in the making!  And it was wonderful to have Jacques' wife Natalie Lurton join our picking team.

Vintage 2022 crew at The Islander Estate Vineyards

Winemaking

It is energising to have our winery close to full capacity again with delicious wines in concrete, steel & oak.  While it is still early days, we are excited about our 2022 whites, including Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Viognier & Rose. In our red varietals, Cabernet Sauvignon is the early standout & we cannot wait to see how our Cabernet Franc develops in its first post-fire yield.

Vintage 2022 winemaking at The Islander Estate Vineyards

Upcoming Releases

We are preparing to bottle & release several new wines in the coming months. We can't wait to share them with you.

Don't forget our Discoverer's Wine Club members receive advance access to our new, most popular & limited release wines.
Click here to Explore the Benefits.
Time Posted: 01/06/2022 at 8:00 AM Permalink to Vintage 2022 report.  Getting back to business. Permalink
Cath Williams
 
26 May 2022 | Cath Williams

Close up on Chardonnay

Get up close to Chardonnay

May 26th is International Chardonnay Day.
It’s the most widely planted white grape variety in the world.  And its time has come around again.  So, let’s get reacquainted with Chardonnay.

Chardonnay’s Origins

Chardonnay’s birthplace is the Burgundy region of France, in a small village of the same name.  Chardon is the French name for a thistle, chardonnay’s name originates from “place of thistles”.  Believed to be from the Noirien family of grapes, chardonnay is descended from Pinot Noir and the ancient variety Gouais Blanc.

In Burgundy, where chardonnay is known simply as white Burgundy, it is the most prized white grape variety, seen as truly capturing the region’s incredible terroir. Although it originated in France, chardonnay is now grown in almost every wine region on Earth, mostly because of its ability to adapt to different environments and grow almost anywhere.

Chardonnay down under

Chardonnay was first bought to Australia by James Busby (widely known as the ‘father of Australian wine’) who planted the first cuttings in Australia in the 1830s.  It didn’t become a core Australian variety for almost a hundred years, but by the 1980s chardonnay became one of the most recognised Australian white wine varieties; flourishing in our climate and mainly produced in robust, rich, ripe and buttery styles.

Over the next several decade's Australian wine consumers' palates changed as they moved towards the zesty, higher acidity alternatives like Marlborough sauvignon blanc. Australian winemakers began to adapt, taking advantage of chardonnay's ability to take on many different characters guided by the winemaker’s technique. 

Today chardonnay accounts for more than half of Australia’s white wine production, having a renaissance in a lighter style closer to the Chablis style of France. This contemporary style has inspired The Islander Estate Vineyard’s The White Chardonnay.

Chablis Style Chardonnay

Located in the Burgundy region of France (also famous for Pinot Noir), the Chablis appellation lies in the north, alongside the River Serein with the best vineyards planted along the south-facing slopes.  Chardonnay here is all about the terroir.

Forget all your preconceptions of oaky, buttery Chardonnay.  The Chablis style is entirely different, some say this style is the purest form of Chardonnay, fermented in steel, usually with little or no oak so the Chardonnay grapes' taste and aroma can shine.  The Chablis wine style is dry, lean, and light-bodied with higher acidity and green apple, citrus and mineral notes.

At our Tasting Room, two of our most common guest comments are "I don't usually really like chardonnay but this is really nice" or "Sauvignon Blanc is my go-to white wine, but this is really delicious". 

Are you a champagne lover? Then you'll like Chardonnay. 

Chardonnay is the main component of most champagne (blended with its mother variety, Pinot Noir as it is in our Petiyante sparkling).  And if you’re a fan of Blanc de Blancs you’re drinking champagne made entirely of chardonnay.

Chardonnay’s food companions

Our The White Chardonnay is designed for everyday drinking, we think it makes a phenomenal sunset glass of wine with friends or with a simple soft cheese, but there are loads of cool weather matches with chardonnay.  Simply, chardonnay prefers subtle spices and creamy or buttery flavours with seafood, chicken or even port. Try it with a few of these classic Autumn dishes:

Vegetable Risotto
Classic Roast Chicken
Garlic Prawns Vegetable Soups

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Drink now or wait?

Contemporary unoaked styles just like our The White Chardonnay is made in an everyday drink now style but can happily hang out in your wine rack for two years.  More heavily oaked examples offer more cellaring potential.

Get intimate with The Islander Estate Vineyards The White Chardonnay

Priced for everyday drinking, now is a great time to get your hands on The White.  Click on the image below to add some to your shopping cart now.

The White Chardonnay by The Islander Estate Vineyards

Time Posted: 26/05/2022 at 8:00 AM Permalink to Close up on Chardonnay Permalink
Cath Williams
 
6 May 2022 | Cath Williams

Take a fresh look at Sauvignon Blanc

It's the white wine in almost every Australian wine fridge during the warmer months. Sauvignon Blanc may be popular but producing high-quality wine requires a skilled winemaker & impeccable timing.

With its huge rise in popularity in recent years, most Australian white wine drinkers have included Sauvignon Blanc in their wine repertoire. There is a lot to learn about this variety which can produce very varied characteristics with a careful winemaking hand.

Here are some facts about one of our favourite varieties you may not know:

  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 it features in famous French 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' 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 environments) 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 characteristics 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 it's grown & winemaking 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 aged in oak, giving it smoky notes (fumé means smoke), definitely one to try if you are looking for a more textural & complex Sauvignon Blanc.

Looking for foods that pair beautifully with Sauvignon Blanc? Easy, if a squeeze of lemon would enhance the dish, you'll be onto a winner serving them together.

We have minimal quantities of our 2021 Sauvignon Blanc left online & at our Tasting Room, order yours now

James Halliday Review of 2021 Sauvignon Blanc by The Islander Estate Vineyards

Time Posted: 06/05/2022 at 9:00 AM Permalink to Take a fresh look at Sauvignon Blanc Permalink
Cath Williams
 
29 April 2022 | Cath Williams

Falling in love with Viognier

Viognier at The Islander Estate Vineyards

If you haven't discovered viognier, you're about to fall in love.  One of the most beguiling white wines around, it's well worth hunting out producers with a dedication to bringing out its best.

Viognier's Origins

Originating from the Rhône Valley in France, Viognier is the only permitted grape variety in the Rhône appellations of Condrieu and Château Grillet, located on the west bank of the Rhône.

Viognier (pronounced vee-ohn-yay) almost became extinct as recently as the 1980s, when as little as 8 acres remained in France.  Thankfully it is now grown more extensively in the Rhone Valley & around the world, including in the USA &  Australia.

Yalumba planted the first viognier vines in Australia in 1980.  We weren't far behind, including viognier as one of the founding varietals at The Islander Estate Vineyards in 2000, the only viognier grown on Kangaroo Island.  We are thrilled that our vines are recovering from the 2020 bushfires.

Viognier is notoriously difficult to grow.  It is low yielding, subject to disease & picking must be carefully timed to get the best aromatics & balance of its oily character, so it's a grape grown by viticulturalists with a genuine love for it.

Why we love it

In Australia, viognier is often hidden away in Shiraz, with just a few per cent added to bring fragrance & texture to the red wine.  However, we know it is a stunning white wine as a single varietal & can't help but reserve a tiny quantity each year to showcase in our varietal range.
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Viognier sits in the middle of the scale between delicate unwooded varieties like pinot gris & sauvignon blanc and the richer, often-oaked varieties like chardonnay.

It is medium to full-bodied, dry & often golden in colour.  It can be unoaked but most often oaked to add texture, viscosity, spice & a touch of vanilla.

Viognier is a distinctive wine.  It has been described as reminiscent of apricots, rose, honeysuckle, ripe peaches & musk.  The best are floral & textural, even voluptuous.  

Viognier has a distinctive oily character in the mid-palate, which is 'tell' for the variety along with its unique floral & stone fruit aroma.

Viognier's Food Friends

Viognier is a food-friendly wine pairing with a wide range of dishes. Its fragrant characteristic pairs well with spicy Thai herb-based dishes or creamy mild Indian curries, hearty Moroccan & African dishes, freshly grilled seafood or barbecued chicken.

As a textural oaked white wine, serving viognier at the right temperature is important to get the best from its flavour & aroma.  We recommend lightly chilling viognier rather than serving it fridge-cold to allow its stunning aromas to come to the forward.

Viognier is also an excellent wine to add to your cellar & age for several years.

How we produce viognier

The Islander Estate Vineyards produced just a single barrel of viognier each year.  The grapes are wild fermented in seasoned barrels, cold settled for 24 hours, then the wine is placed in 400 litre seasoned French oak puncheons for ageing, with lees stirring for three months.  Malolactic ferment is avoided to preserve freshness and acidity.  After ageing, the wine is filtered and hand bottled with only 30 cases produced.

Tasting Notes

COLOUR:  Deep Straw
NOSE:  Fresh apricots, honey, orange blossom
PALATE:  Creamy, viscous middle palate with a slight nuttiness, apricot & dried fruit.
FINISH: A soft textural mouthfeel does not detract from the freshness in the finish.

Reviews 

Our new 2021 vintage is yet to be reviewed however, Jenni Port's review of our 2019 vintage for the Halliday Wine Companion tells you all you need to know.

"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."  95/100 points

Ready to discover viognier?  Our 2021 vintage has just been released exclusively to our Discoverer's Wine Club Members. 
Click here to order yours.

Time Posted: 29/04/2022 at 8:00 AM Permalink to Falling in love with Viognier Permalink
Cath Williams
 
26 April 2022 | Cath Williams

Secret Autumn Sunset Spots on Kangaroo Island

Secret Autumn Sunset spots on Kangaroo Island

When summer’s warm weather passes & Anzac Day is over, visitor numbers to Kangaroo Island traditionally slow.

But ‘Islanders’ know the cooler months are some of the most stunning on Kangaroo Island.  Warm days, crisp nights, and rains transform dry paddocks into vibrant green almost before your eyes. 

And our favourite part?  The light in the late afternoon & at sunset is magic.  Autumn sunsets are our favourite.  We asked our team to share their favourite spots to end the day with a glass of wine.
 


Yale, Managing Director, Winemaker, Wrangler of Staff

Sunset over West Bay Kangaroo Island, image courtesy of www.instagram.com/garrettlaur/

Favourite Sunset Spot?  West Bay Beach, Flinders Chase National Park

“I love watching the sun sink behind the horizon into the southern ocean at West Bay. Sitting on the beach with a glass of wine, feeling like you’re at the end of the earth.  Such a secluded spot but still totally accessible to anyone willing to make the drive.”

Favourite Sunset Wine?  Wally White Semillon
“Our white wine for red wine drinkers.  With enough  creaminess & texture to go with some rich Australian salmon caught fresh from the beach & cooked in a pan with a little wine over a beach fire”

Image courtesy of Lauren Garret on Instagram


Sophie, Cellar Door Manager extraordinaire

Favourite Sunset Spot? Flagstaff Hill Lookout, Reeves Point.  “Just a few minutes from my home in Kingscote, Flagstaff Hill is a stunning elevated spot for an evening after-work walk to watch the sunset over the Bay of Shoals.  With elevated views for almost 360 degrees, there’s no better place to let go of the day.” 

Favourite Sunset Wine?  Varietal Range Semillon Sauvignon Blanc. “A limited release wine, this is my new favourite for when you want something a little more textural & sophisticated in the white wine spectrum.  I’ve visited Jacques in Bordeaux & this reminds me so much of the Bordeaux Blanc blends that I tried there.”
Image courtesy of Ross Evans Photography on Instagram


Sunset over Pennington Bay Kangaroo IslandCarmen, Cellar Door host with most

Favourite Sunset Spot?  Pennington Bay.  “Most people visit Pennington Bay in the height of summer to swim & surf.  It is absolutely stunning in the cooler months just after a storm when it’s almost deserted & the sunset views are ours alone, it totally refreshes the mind & spirit.”

Favourite Sunset Wine?  Boxing Bay Shiraz/Cab Sauv "I love that this is a European take on a classic Aussie blend. A glass watching the sunset is perfect to ward the chill off & the rest goes down perfectly by the fire when we get home".

Image courtesy of Grant Coutts on Instagram


Sue, Cellar Door Hand, Luxury Accommodation Specialist, Farmer

Favourite Sunset Spot? One Kangaroo Island, Brown Beach
“There is no more luxurious experience on Kangaroo Island than sitting in a warm outdoor bubble bath on a crisp evening, in total privacy, overlooking Brown Beach & the sunset to the west.  Unforgettable”

Favourite Sunset Wine?  Petiyante
What else is there to drink in an outdoor bath at sunset than a delicious glass of Methode Champenoise sparkling?

Image courtesy of One Kangaroo Island on Instagram


Tracey,  Wrangler of all things financial

 Favourite Sunset Spot?  Cygnet River
“In the late afternoon just as dusk descends, the light through the trees surrounding the Cygnet River is something else.  And it only happens during the cooler months.  It makes you look up from your computer at our Tasting Room, step outside & take a deep breath.”

Favourite Sunset Wine?  Tracey’s been drinking Bark Hut Road, Shiraz/Cabernet Franc, our signature blend for 15 years ago.  It brings together our French & Australian heritage in a bottle & it suits just about any cool evening dish.

Image courtesy of Cath Williams on Instagram


Cath, Marketing & Story Teller

Favourite Sunset Spot?   Baudin Beach
“My home, Baudin Beach.  We live in a cottage snuggled behind a sand dune.  Just near our house is a path along the cliffs with a special chatting seat in honour of a much loved local.  After a long day on the social media tools, I can be there with a glass of wine, my partner, daughter & dog in just a couple of minutes.  We all take a deep breath & let go of the day.  Then back home out of the evening chill & into the warm cosiness of the fire.”

Favourite Sunset Wine? Old Rowley Shiraz/Grenache I am a grenache fan & absolutely love Old Rowley.  Elegant but robust, complex but drinkable.  Simply one of my go-to blends & I’m yet to find one I love more than the one we make at The Islander Estate Vineyards.”

Image courtesy of Cath Williams on Instagram


Plan your cool weather visit to Kangaroo Island now

Click to Visit The Islander Estate Vineyards
map of Favourite Autumn Sunset Spots

and
Visit the Tour Kangaroo Island Website

 

Time Posted: 26/04/2022 at 8:00 AM Permalink to Secret Autumn Sunset Spots on Kangaroo Island Permalink
Yale Norris
 
17 April 2022 | 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 to France until the mid-1970's.

Luckily then, a French agronomist Michel Aimé Pouget had introduced the variety to South America in the mid-1800s, 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 southwest 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 Australia, 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 to increase from 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, a 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 to The Islander Estate’s Vineyards' Malbec

The Independence Malbec from our Flagship range has just been rated as one of the best in the country, with both the 2015 & yet to be released 2016 vintages receiving 96/100 point ratings by The Australian Wine Companion team.  Pop this one away and try not to think about it for a few years – it will pay off.

The Independence Malbec

Time Posted: 17/04/2022 at 9:00 AM Permalink to Demystifying Malbec Permalink
Yale Norris
 
11 April 2022 | Yale Norris

Two to Tango by James Halliday

The Making of The Islander Estate Vineyards
by James Halliday
The Weekend Australian Magazine 9 April 2022

Our thanks to James Halliday and The Weekend Australian magazine for sitting down with Jacques Lurton and Yale Norris to catch up on the stunning recovery of our Kohinoor Hills estate and to share some of our upcoming releases.

Read the article online here & click on the links below to access reviewed wines.

James Halliday article in The Weekend Australian Magazine April 2022

Buy 2018 Boundary Track Shiraz
Buy current vintage 2015 The Independence Malbec (2016 yet to be released)
Buy 2021 Sauvignon Blanc

 

 

 

Time Posted: 11/04/2022 at 10:00 AM Permalink to Two to Tango by James Halliday Permalink
Cath Williams
 
29 March 2022 | 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 traditional to the unexpected.

Sauvignon Blanc and Prawns

Our Sauvignon Blanc is pale straw in colour, on the nose there's passionfruit, lime zest, citrus & sea spray.  On the palate, it's delicate & aromatic with a light herbalness, ripe citrus & tropical fruits.  Rounded off with just enough acidity to finish elegant, and crisp to complement the sweetness of prawns and barbequed flavours.

Pinot Gris and Fish

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 Pinot Gris.  Fesh and flavourful with zesty acidity and beautiful texture. On the nose, it's floral and discreet with hints of lychee and rose petal. On the palate, it’s fresh with flavours in the pear-zone and a touch of texture. On the finish, it's all classic Pinot Gris zippy acidity

Chardonnay and Roast Chicken

In a contemporary Australian style, made to demonstrate Chardonnay's elegant varietal character. The White has slightly toasty with flavours of peach, nectarine, melon and toasted nuts. The fruit sweetness is offset by steely, refreshing acidity and a long finish.  It has just the right amount of texture to match a moist roast chicken.

Wally White Semillon and Pork Belly

Our signature white, Wally White is 100% Semillon. Rich and textural from barrel fermentation with mouth-filling notes of lemon curd and vanilla custard creaminess, bound together by mouth-watering natural acidity.  This is one of our most phenomenal wine and food pairings, making the perfect foil to the richness of roast pork.

Boxing Bay and Roast Lamb

The richness and texture of roast lamb needs the deep, intense colour rich fruit flavour and firm tannin structure of Cab Sauv and Shiraz. Boxing Bay is classic Aussie blend, but like all the wines from our Estate range, our takes its inspiration firmly from Europe. 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. 

Old Rowley and Chocolate

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.

The Red Shiraz and BBQ

When you're firing up the BBQ, you want a wine that goes with everything from sausages to vegetables. The Red 2021 is all elegant cool-climate Shiraz. On the nose there's notes of pepper, eucalyptus, toasted vanilla.  On the palate it's seriously tasty with flavours in the mulberry and red fruit spectrum, a hint of charry oak and slightly gamey notes working beautifully with the fleshy fruit.  It has a generous round mouthfeel leading to a lingering finish. 

Bark Hut Road and Cheese

Ready to try a wine match that's a little more unconventional?  Bark Hut Road is an elegant Bordeaux-style blend of Shiraz & Cabernet Franc.  Offering firm tannins, natural acidity, beautiful blackberry and sarsaparilla notes at the darker end of the fruit spectrum with Oak notes – vanilla and coconut.  It's a phenomenal match to soft and goat's cheese, charcuterie and grilled vegetables.

Try our Autumn favourites pack

Try our Autumn Wine Selection dozen, all our Easter wines at phenomenal value

Time Posted: 29/03/2022 at 9:00 AM Permalink to Our Favourite Easter Food and Wine Pairings Permalink
Yale Norris
 
15 February 2022 | Yale Norris

The Islander Estate Vineyards wines rated by USA Wine Enthusiast

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

              

Wine Enthusiast rating of Islander Estate Boxing Bay Shiraz Cab Sauv 93 points2018 Boxing Bay Shiraz-Cabernet Sauvignon

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.


Wine Enthusiast rating of Islander Estate Bark Hut Road Shiraz Cabernet Franc 91 points2019 Bark Hut Rd Syrah-Cabernet Franc

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.


Wine Enthusiast rating of Islander Estate Old Rowley Shiraz Grenache 90 points2019 Old Rowley Shiraz-Grenache

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.


Wine Enthusiast rating of Islander Estate Sauvignon Blanc 89 points2021 Sauvignon Blanc

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


Wine Enthusiast rating of Islander Estate The White Chardonnay 88 points2020 The White Chardonnay

 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.


Wine Enthusiast rating of Islander Estate The Red Shiraz 88 points

2021 The Red Shiraz

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

 

Shop a selection of Wine Enthusiast's favourites 

 

Time Posted: 15/02/2022 at 9:00 AM Permalink to The Islander Estate Vineyards wines rated by USA Wine Enthusiast Permalink