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!
We chose to locate The Islander Estate Tasting Room in Cygnet River to join the growing and ever changing community of artisan producers with values similar ours - to showcase the true potential of Kangaroo Island. And we've never looked back.
Sitting within easy reach for visitors, close to Kingscote and the south-coast touring route, the Cygnet River trail is compact making a great half or full day discovery, including two distinct styles of wine, award-winning spirits and liqueurs and delicious food – all hand-crafted with a shared philosophy, and authentically Kangaroo Island.
A visit to the Kangaroo Island Spirits cellar door is a must for any visitor to the Island (KIS to the locals).
Having won more than 130 awards including Best Gin in Australia, and most recently an array of high accolades from competitions in London and California.
KIS embrace native ingredients and use traditional processes to make spirits in their purest form, that have so much more to them. Their rustic cellar door offers tastings, sales and delicious seasonal cocktails to enjoy in the botanical Gin Garden. For the true romantics, indulge in one of their tailored experiences where you can learn to beauty of our native landscape.
This summer the About Thyme van will be serving up delicious food paired to their cocktail menu – winning! Discover KIS & book your experience: kispirits.com.au
We were so excited when Spring Road Wines joined us in the Cygnet River neighbourhood. Kangaroo Island has a truly diverse range of wine styles, with something for everyone, so add a stop at Springs Road Wines to taste and enjoy the view at the newest cellar door in Cygnet River.
In 2016 McLaren Vale locals Joch Bosworth and Louise Hemsley-Smith bought the Springs Road vineyard (planted between 1994 and 2000), recognising that the property was an amazing site capable of producing beautiful wines.
Have a tasting then relax on the deck with a wine a delicious Second Valley Cheese platter made by one of their own team. Discover Springs Road Wines now: springsroad.com.au
Take a break on the trail and enjoy a delicious meal at Café Scrumptious located inside the picturesque Frogs N Roses garden centre. Their handmade pizzas are phenomenal and make room for their homemade cheesecake. They're fully licensed so you don’t even need to stop drinking!
Open for breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea. Discover more: facebook.com/CafeScrumptiouski
Of course, no Cygnet River trail visit is complete without a visit to our own Tasting Room. Experience the fruits of Jacques 20-year vision to showcase the true potential of Kangaroo Island wine.
Drop in to our intimate cellar door for a guided tasting, treat yourself to a Flagship tasting experience or relax on the deck with a regional cheese & charcuterie platter.
If you have a little more time, there is so much more to see and do all within 10 minutes of Cygnet River:
Hand-built beers in a fantastic ‘brewery door’ on the way to Emu Bay. Stop in for one of their famous beer paddles to try a range of brews or pick your favourite to enjoy overlooking the field. It’s one of our favourite watering holes. Check them out: kangarooislandbrewery.com.au
Closer to Emu Bay, the Lavender farm is one of our favourites for breakfast or lunch and a great spot to pick up gifts for friends and family back home. We highly recommend their amazing scones and lavender jelly for afternoon tea - perfect refuel for after a swim. Explore more: emubaylavenderfarm.com
Kangaroo Island is spoilt for choice when it comes to beach, but they don’t come much longer, whiter & more beautiful than Emu Bay beach. A huge favourite with locals over summer for its stunning sands and safe swimming waters.
The Mini De Lights van at the Emu Bay boat ramp serves up cocktails, wine & delicious snacks in season - a truly unique Kangaroo Island experience. Check their facebook page for opening days & times: facebook.com/minidelightscatering
The Food: Oh, so elegant, delicate flavours. The acidity in the Pétiyante pairs perfectly with the creaminess of salmon in a fantastic dish for an entrée or light lunch. Of course, we recommend your cure it with the fabulous Kangaroo Island Spirits gin. Try this recipe for Gin Cured Salmon with cucumber and lime.
The wine: Who doesn’t love sparkling through the whole festive season? Our first sparkling, Pétiyante is beautifully balanced with fine, elegant acidity and creamy texture balancing the fruit flavours. Classic Champagne-like brioche notes on the nose and on the palate a super fine bead with hints of nashi pear and white peach leading to a long, crisp, elegant finish.
The Food: Whether you’re off on a picnic with friends, hanging by the BBQ or having a classic family roast, The White pairs beautifully with chicken however it’s prepared. For a relaxed meal with friends we fancy this classic Chicken Caesar from Donna Hay.
The Wine: The White Chardonnay is a contemporary unoaked style, but it has plenty of structure & sophistication to lend itself to special occasion drinking, made to demonstrate the elegant varietal character. Slightly toasty with flavours of peach, nectarine, melon and toasted nuts. The fruit sweetness is offset by steely, refreshing acidity and a long finish.
The Food: Elegant, delicious Christmas entertaining doesn’t always require slaving over a hot stove. Our friends at Les Deux Coq hand-make the most delicious range of authentic French Charcuterie we’ve come across outside France. A quick stop at their Adelaide Central Market stall or website and you have everything you need for the most delicious meal that pairs perfectly with an ice-cold Rose.
The Wine: One of our fastest selling wines, made in the classic Provence style of southern France, The Rose 2020 is light in colour with a focus on elegance, but full of flavour and texture. It’s dry, fresh and dangerously easy to drink. Flavours of strawberries and cream, even some peach notes with a light leesy grip adding complexity to the delicious freshness.
The Food: Pairing wine with Turkey can be a tricky affair. You have the white meat with some richness and gaminess, but often wine matching is about the sides which are more robust in flavour, stuffing, gravy, roast vegetables. Red can be an amazing pairing if the tannins don’t overwhelm. That’s where the elegance and delicacy of Bordeaux-style blends Bark Hut Road hits the perfect note. A fantastic complement to the flavours in this Turkey with Sour Cherry stuffing and pickled cherries recipe.
The Wine: A classic from our premium Estate range, Bark Hut Road is one of the first wines Jacques' released on Kangaroo Island and our current vintage continues a long tradition of excellence. This elegant Bordeaux-style blend offers firm tannins, natural acidity, beautiful blackberry and sarsaparilla notes at the darker end of the fruit spectrum with Oak notes – vanilla and coconut.
The Food: The ultimate luxury dish for a special occasion, rare beef fillet coated in pate & mushrooms, baked in pastry. If there’s ever a time to dedicate this much love to a dish, it’s at Christmas. Chef Gordon Ramsay has made Beef Wellington his signature dish, you can try his recipe here.
The Wine: If you’re preparing a dish like this, then only the very best wine will do. The Investigator Cabernet Franc from our Flagship range is the perfect foil for the richness of the dish. With elegance and structure it will complement rather than overwhelm, with the variety’s classic leanness and firm brooding tannins. There are loads of savoury and herbaceous notes, with balance and a composed structure across the palate.
The Food: What’s Christmas without a Ham as the centrepiece of the table (and what’s better we can eat it all month long). After hours of tender-loving-basting, this showstopper should be served with a wine to match. If you’re looking for new ham glazing ideas to spice it up this year, Australian Gourmet Traveller has collected glazing secrets of from Australia's best Chefs.
The Wine: When pairing a wine with ham its all about the glaze which most often has a sweet element to counteract the saltiness of the ham. Glazes tends to work well with medium weight wines with plenty of acidity and bold fruit. The Cygnet Shiraz from our Flagship range is often referred to as Christmas in a glass – steeped red and black berries and baking spices compliment the spice of the glaze. This highly rated shiraz shows just how elegant the variety can be.
The Independence Malbec & New Year’s Eve Rib Eye
The Food: Picture this, it’s New Year’s Eve, we’re finally seeing out 2020 and you’re celebrating with a delicious Rib Eye grilled over coals with an anchovy butter – a flavour bomb. You might even be sharing it with a few of your best mates. This New Year’s eve we might be checking out this delicious recipe from Australian Gourmet Traveller.
The Wine: There’s nothing that suits a flame grilled protein like Malbec. Best known these days from Argentina, it originated in Jacques’ native Bordeaux and he is the only winemaker to have introduced it to Kangaroo Island. The Independence 2015 is the first vintage in our Flagship range and it’s become one of our favourites. On the palate, it demonstrates the plush fruit, full-bodied structure and firm tannins that Malbec is known for, balanced by Jacques wine making craftsmanship to create a wine that is power and finesse in equal balance.
The Food: The festive season can be non-stop catch ups and grazing makes it east, no cooking, just delicious easy food that can be laid out or taken to friends. An antipasto platter can cover all the bases from a pre-dinner snack to dinner itself. Salami, hard cheeses, grilled peppers, tomatoes, olives & dips. Italian flavours are often salty or acidic and these cry out for a wine that is not too heavy but with a little extra tannin for balance (salty food makes a wine seem less tannic).
The Wine: The Sangiovese has all the hallmarks of a true Tuscan style. Inviting vanilla oak notes supported by subtle red fruit and hints of leather. A medium weight on the palate but full of flavour and texture with spicy notes of cherries and fine tannins on the finish. A great wine for summer, we’ve been known to serve it lightly chilled on a warm day.
The food: The day after Christmas is time to cog back and relax. Backyard BBQ, thongs and sandy feet. No need for a recipe here, whatever you’re having on the BBQ from steak to burgers to sausages, our Cab Sauv is a great all-rounder.
The wine: Our brand-new release 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon, the first release from our estate for many years (and sadly our last after the Jan 2020 fires) is the ideal wine for BBQ meats. With high acidity and firm tannins, Cab Sauv is a great match for dishes with savoury flavours and a dose of fat. Our 2019 vintage is rich and plush but still elegant and delicate, the fruit fills the mouth early and soft tannins draw the finish out smooth and long.
The Food: If your Christmas tastes lend more towards seafood then our brand-new release Semillon Sauvignon Blanc is going to be a winner at the table. Pair it with a rich fish like grilled atlantic salmon, shellfish like BBQ scallops or crustaceans like prawns or if you’re lucky lobster with a rich homemade aioli.
The Wine: We're renowned for our Semillon from Kangaroo Island and as Semillon Sauvignon Blanc has been a classic blend in Australia for decades, we wanted to give it a try. Never ones to stick with the mainstream, we decided to barrel ferment ours and age it for 12 months in seasoned 600L French oak demis. The wine has a delightful nose, with hints of citrus and tropical fruit. The mouth is soft and round from the barrel aging and the acidity draws the finish out long and smooth.
The Food: Australia Day wraps up the holiday period amd marks the return to reality for many people. So, it’s worth celebrating with something truly Aussie and there is nothing more so than a leg of lamb slowly cooking while you enjoy a game of cricket and a few glasses of wine. Whether you fancy it butterflied or on the bone, marinated, stuffed or plain. Our new limited release Boxing Bay blend of Shiraz/Cab Sauv is a classic Aussie blend expressed on a whole new way.
The Wine: 2018 Boxing Bay brings a new dimension to our Estate premium range. Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon is a classic Aussie blend, but like all the wines from our Estate range this takes its inspiration firmly from Europe. While power and structure abound in the Cab Sauv, the Shiraz adds softness and elegance. A European approach in the winemaking brings these two together with elegance and restraint.
Spain and Portugal are home to Tempranillo, the fourth-most planted variety in the world. It’s a very old variety thought to have been introduced to the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal) by the Phoenicians over 3,000 years ago – that’s 1100BC!
Tempranillo draws its name from the Spanish word temprano, which means early. It’s usually one of the earliest ripening red varieties. By avoiding the hottest ripening period the wine is balanced and lower in sugars and therefore alcohol.
Tempranillo is one of our team’s favourite drops for Spring, when you might want to stick with reds but move to lighter style. We love it for its medium body, easy drinking style and great food matching potential.
We’ll be drinking it with:
As you’d expect with its Spanish origins, Tempranillo is a great picnic wine paired with tapas dishes like cured meats, grilled vegetables, and sheep’s cheese. It’s also delicious with grilled meats when it’s time to break out the BBQ. Or try a bottle of Tempranillo with your next Mexican feast.
Italy’s most planted wine variety and the pride of the Tuscan regional wine Chianti, Sangiovese is a sensitive soul, changing its character to reflect it’s growing conditions, it’s a variety that truly expresses regionality.
“In so many ways, The Islander produces wines that are more European than Australian. Note the degree of savouriness in its wines & the use of fruit as a conduit for complexity & not necessarily an end in itself. Sangiovese is such a wine. Fragrant with black cherries, capers, anise, bitter chocolate. It runs smooth across the palate, supple oak playing its part & imparting sweet mocha. Cherry pip, chalky tanning still melding” Halliday Wine Companion 2021
With its Italian origins, Sangiovese is our go-to variety for antipasto platters & pizza nights. Not too heavy, just enough savouriness & tannins to pair with those Italian flavours and it even lends itself to some light chilling as the evenings heat up. It’s also a perfect pair for vegetarian dishes, especially tomato, red peppers and grilled vegetables.
The White is our “House Style” wine created by Jacques Lurton to complement our Estate Range of premium wines. Leave behind all your perceptions of heavily oaked chardonnay, this is a modern Australian style with just a little nutty creaminess but fresh and clean on the finish.
Our 2019 Chardonnay is a classic example of the variety when grown in South Australia: fresh, fruity, and delicious with beautiful notes of nectarine and white peach underscored by refreshing acidity. This is Chardonnay for Pinot Gris drinkers with the fruit doing all the talking in a wine made for simple enjoyment and all occasions. An ideal choice for that midweek “Hump Day” tipple, or the first bottle with friends on a weekend afternoon.
We love it paired with a roast or BBQ chicken, If you’re heading alfresco it will pair beautifully with a charcuterie platter or a soft cheese like a ripe brie and nuts would be hard to beat too.
The SoFar SoGood range is all about preservative-free wines produced with minimal processing. The result is not your average Sav Blanc, our cellar door guests love it for its fresh take on the variety. A little more texture, fresh citrus & tropical fruits notes and classic crisp acidity on the finish without being overwhelming
A popular wine with those who are looking for a something different to the usual Sav Blanc.
Our no added preservative Sauvignon Blanc is complex, medium bodied and easy drinking. The nose is intense and typical of the variety with herbaciousness, tropical fruit, citrus and grapefruit. This wine flows in the mouth with fresh, crisp acidity and a long finish.
A delicious match for fresh herbaceous Asian salads, prawn & oyster dishes, BBQ spring vegetables & soft goats’ cheese. Classic pairings like oysters, abalone, and fish but we especially love it with spicy Asian dishes with some herbaciousness and spice, think Bao buns or Vietnamese coleslaw.
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.
Subscribe to our mailing list to be the first to acces this pre-Christmas release
(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.
Subscribe to our mailing list to be notified of this release
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
Spectacular windswept coastline, deserted beaches washed clean by the sea, stunning green fields full of winter lambs, wildlife in abundance. And the best part? You can join the locals in feeling like you have the Island almost to yourself.
With so many South Australians holidaying at home this year, the secret is out. And local businesses like ours are loving having the Island humming during winter. So, The Islander Estate team are sharing our favourite ways to make the most of Kangaroo Island during these stunning cool months.
Where else could we start but with the opportunity to spend time with our fantastic array of local producers?
Our cellar doors and farm gates are so much quieter in winter. Producers are always happy to see you and they have plenty of time to stop for a chat to share their story - and to learn yours.
Central to the Island, Cygnet River trail offers two cellar doors (The Islander Estate Vineyards and our neighbours Springs Road Wines), Australia’s most awarded gin at Kangaroo Island Spirits and the cosy, rustic Frogs N Roses the perfect spot for a handmade pizza by the fire (and save room for their fantastic cheesecake).
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 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.
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 and the fantastic new False Cape Wines cellar door, their platters are fantastic.
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.
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 Cocktaoos. 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 – hearingtheir distintictive “mo-poke... mo-poke” call is something special.
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
In the east of the Island, Antechamber Bay is truly spectacular and you can follow up a beach walk with a sheltered picnic by nearby Chapman River.
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 begun venturing from their mother’s pouch to feed all over the Island, but often visible at Pelican Lagoon.
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 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 are great 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.
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 young in more sheltered bays.
Blue Whales and Humpback Whales also visit, and Killer Whales (Orcas) sometimes drop by for a seal meal.
With such amazing vistas and coastlines, it can 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 and forgetting everything, there is no better activity a hunt for our native orchids. With over 80 native species, a hunt for these tiny but spectacular flower 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
Gather your mates, light a fire, have a few wines while you wait for the coals to burn low, 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 iconicially Kangaroo Island. And there’s nothing better than slow cooked local lamb, vegetables and red wine simmered for hours.
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
Seasons rains have broken across the region bringing green pasture grasses back into the parched and burned fields. Areas of native bush devastated by the fires have spurred regeneration, bringing a ground level blanket of green amongst the burnt treetops.
While there are still years of recovery ahead, the Island is collectively taking a deep breath at these signs of recovery.
A video this week by our great mate Craig Wickham of Exceptional Kangaroo Island was filmed in the Parndana Conservation park who borders and blends into The Islander Estate Vineyard’s property. Craig is an expert and offers a great update on the regeneration in the park.
The rebuild of the Islander Estate property continues and Winter offers no reprieve. At this time, our Estate begins to come to life with winter rains. Our fields are beginning to fill with pasture and our neighbours, both also impacted by the fires, have ewes beginning to drop lambs. So, rebuilding our boundary fencing has become the critical priority with over 1,000 fence posts to be individually replaced and rewired.
Yale has a reputation for being able to turn his hand to anything and working harder than anyone we know. And he’s been proving this in spades, taking on the weeks (or months) long task of refencing one day at a time with our farmer neighbours Fox and Colin, regardless of the weather. Luckily, our brand-new fence post digger is making the task a little easier.
We are liaising with the Glossy Black Recovery Project to begin replanting essential habitat on our property for these endangered birds. Hopefully several thousand trees will be planted though winter.
While the remainder of our property springs to life in Winter, in the vineyard we prepare for winter dormancy.
With the help of amazing volunteers from many organisations, we have placed the vineyard in the best position possible to hand over to Mother Nature during winter. We have seen reshooting across areas of the vineyard and vines producing tertiary fruit, however we will need to await Spring to gain a real indication of the vineyard recovery. We wait and watch.
Our 2019 vintage wines are now all in bottle and ready for release over the coming months. In addition to new vintages of all our established wine we’re excited to be introducing two brand new white wines and two red wines to our every growing varietal range.
Our Discoverer’s Wine Club members have already had a pre-release sample of some of these wines and we’ll announce release dates via our social media channels.
Chardonnay’s birthplace is the Burgundy region of France, in a small village of the same name. Chardon being 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 was first bought to Australia by James Busby (widely known as the ‘father of Australian wine’) who planted the first cuttings to Australia in the 1830s. Chardonnay didn’t become a core Australian variety for almost a hundred years, but by the 1980’s chardonnay became on 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 decades 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 more contemporary style closer to the Chablis style of France. This contemporary style has inspired The Islander Estate Vineyard’s The White.
Chardonnay’s adaptability doesn’t stop in the vineyard. It is just as adaptable in the winery, making it a favourite with winemakers. It is often said chardonnay is made in the cellar rather than the vineyard. It can be found in a wide range of styles depending on the growing region, picking stage and the crafting techniques used by the winemaker.
Chardonnay’s Primary Flavours: Cool climate versions tend to be lighter in body with higher acidity and more subtle flavours of citrus, apple, pear, and peach. Warm climate versions are generally more full-bodied with richer, riper fruit and bolder flavours often in the tropical fruit zone like pineapple, mango or passionfruit. Chardonnay can also show some floral character like honeysuckle and jasmin.
Chardonnay’s Secondary Characters: Winemaking processes like oak fermentation or aging impart a range of secondary notes, like coconut, vanilla and baking spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. The buttery characteristics of aged chardonnay come from malolactic fermentation, which winemakers use to reduce the perception of acidity and create rounder, creamier lactic acid, with buttery, vanilla, or pastry characters.
Chardonnay is the main component of most champagne’s (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 a champagne made entirely of chardonnay.
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:
Classic Roast Chicken
Creamy Pasta Dishes
|Garlic Prawns||Vegetable Soups||Grilled Fish|
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.
Priced for everyday drinking, now is great time to get your hands on The White, while our free shipping offer for orders of 6 or more bottles ends 31st May. Click on the image below to add some to your shopping cart now.
Our owner Jacques Lurton introduced the SoFar SoGood range around 4 years ago. After he found himself developing a reaction to the sulphites we find in many everyday foods and drinks. Chatting to friends and customers, he identified a growing trend in seeking out products with less preservatives and decided that his vineyard on Kangaroo Island was the ideal place to trial a no-added preservative wine range.
A small amount sulphur dioxide is released naturally by the grapes during fermentation (nature’s own preservative) so all wine contains trace amounts of naturally produced preservative.
Wines labelled preservative free mean the winemaker has not added any preservatives during the winemaking process.
Wines generally contained sulphur dioxide (SO2), or you may see “sulphites added” on the label, this can mean S02 or HS03 (bisulphites) and H2SO3 (sulphurous acid). In Australia strict restrictions on the amount of sulphites are in place and where they exist in the wine labelling laws require it to be declared. This is not the case with wines from many countries outside Australia.
You will find these same preservatives in higher concentrations in many supermarket products including dried fruit, jams, candy, processed meats and many packaged foods. So if you react to these foods it may be an indication of a sulphite sensitivity.
Sulphites have been used in wine since the early 1900s to help preserve the wine and slow down the deterioration process. It is used to get the wine into the bottle and to the drinker in the best condition.
Generally low or preservative free wines require pristine grapes in the best possible condition, handled carefully in the winery. Less faults with the grapes mean less (or no) sulphites are required.
Lots of guests our feel they can drink more of our preservative free wines without getting a hangover. Science indicates this is not the case but people with asthma are thought to be more likely to have a sulphite sensitivity and if you feel you react to any of other foods listed above it may be worthwhile giving a preservative free wine a try.
The goal in producing preservative free wines is to use the utmost care and keep intervention to a minimum. For our SoFar SoGood range, nature does much of the winemaking with the winemaker playing supervisor.
The first step is to start with pristine grapes free of disease or bird damage. Then the grapes are handled carefully in the winery, kept cool and away from air as much as possible.
At The Islander Estate Vineyard, we pick by hand, destem and send the wine to tanks for ferment (by wild yeast for our Shiraz). We use temperature control and soft extraction during ferment phase, pressing the skins off early.
As soon as fermentation is complete, the wine is clarified, filtered and into the bottle within around 8 weeks of picking (even earlier for our preservative free Sauvignon Blanc).
Our SoFar SoGood range is designed to be enjoyed young as are most preservative free wines.
Because of the minimal intervention approach, we find our preservative free wines tend to tell a pure story of the fruit and vineyard. They are easy drinking, vibrant and packed with fruit flavours.
As well as people with sulphite allergies, we find the SoFar SoGood range appeals to wine lovers who enjoy fruit forward and well balanced but less tannic or structured wines (think Pinot Noir or Merlot lovers).
Malbec originated in Jacques' native Bordeaux (and also Cahors) where it primarily played a bit-part in classic Bordeaux blends, never really getting the chance to shine in the spotlight in France. In the late-19th century, phylloxera nearly destroyed the Malbec wine business. The vines eventually recovered, before being later hit by the deadly frosts in the mid-1950s. The variety struggled to return in France until the mid 1970's.
Luckily then, that a French agronomist Michel Aimé Pouget had introduced the variety South America in the mid-1800's, where the variety found its day in the sun in the hot high-altitude Argentinian climate around Mendoza. Malbec finally found its place centre stage as a single varietal, becoming the shining star of Argentinian wine.
In modern day wine, Malbec has travelled all over the world, but Argentina still produces 75% of the world's Malbec & Cahors in France’s south-west the second largest producer.
It found its way to Australia in 1860 where is grows particularly well in South Australia, production is still selective, Malbec represents less than 0.5% of Aussie grape and wine production. In Australia Malbec’s beginnings were as a blending grape, these days a small but growing number of producers are taking inspiration from South America and showing Malbec’s potential as a single varietal.
Jacques Lurton’s relationship with Malbec began in his native France where the variety originated, the love affair really took off when he spent extensive time in South America establishing vineyards in partnership with his brother Francois in Argentina & Chile, experiencing Malbec as the powerhouse of the wine industry there.
As a flying winemaker, he had also spent time in Austalia, seeing how well the variety transferred from the hot high-latitude climate of Argentina to South Australia’s moderate Mediterranean climate. When Jacques set up his own Australian business, The Islander Estate Vineyards on Kangaroo Island he had it planted to use as a blending wine with flagship varieties.
Those plans changed from almost the first vintage, when the quality of his Malbec on Kangaroo Island impressed Jacques so much, he saw it deserved to shine on its own. The Majestic Plough was born as the region’s only single variety Malbec.
The quality continued increase vintage to vintage. Jacques was determined to show the true potential of Malbec on Kangaroo Island, so in 2015 The Islander Estate's flagship wine range was joined by The Independence Malbec – rated as one of the country’s best single variety Malbecs (96 points James Halliday's 2020 Wine Companion).
The Islander Estate Vineyards is the only winery commercially producing Malbec on Kangaroo Island.
Often considered as an alternative to Cabernet Sauvignon or Shiraz, Malbec is a powerhouse wine in its own accord, the most structured and tannic wine we produce on Kangaroo Island.
Malbec is a thick-skinned, purple grape variety with an inky red hue. On Kangaroo Island the vines are low yielding and always the first red variety to be picked at vintage.
In the glass, it has an intense deep red colour, magenta-tinged at the rim. On the nose you’ll find savoury aromas of leather, tobacco, blackberry, dried herbs and spices with plenty of toasty oak.
In the mouth expect big, juicy and plush flavours of dark fruit with a robust structure and moderately firm tannins with natural acidity and a longer finish than you expect from overseas examples.
Malbec loves a lean protein like a good quality steak barbecued over coals (even better with a herb or chimichurri sauce on the side), roast lamb with robust stuffing, roast game like duck or pheasant.
It also loves hard or blue cheeses and sits beautifully alongside charcuterie.
Malbec has great cellaring potential 15+ years if you have the patience!
Get up close The Islander Estate’s Malbec
Devastatingly, the January fire which impacted our Kangaroo Island vineyard has put a stop to our Malbec production for now. Our Majestic Plough is always a small production which sells out before the next vintage is released and we’re down to the last small batch of 2016 Majestic Plough, so grab some now to lay down as we are down to the very last of our stocks.
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.