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!
Being recognising in one category of Australian Gourmet Traveller Wine's annual Australia's Best Cellar Door Awards is compliment enough, but we're positively blushing at the recognition in the 20201 awards.
Kangaroo Island has a great range of Cellar Doors, each offering a different experience, a different approach & a range of cool-climate wines to explore. Everything that helps promote our island wine region is a positive and of course we don't mind when we share in the recognition.
Jump over to GT Wine Magazine to read their fantastic write up on our region & our other great winemakers to visit. Thanks so much for showcasing Kangaroo Island wine. Read Here
Vintage 2021 is the first page in our new chapter
This time a year ago we were still coming to terms with the impact of January's fires. Jacques Lurton was here taking steps to protect our precious wine stocks. Yale Norris focussed on the endless task of fire recovery which would take many more months and included the very difficult move of cutting down a good proportion of our vineyard to aid its regrowth. The path ahead was long & unclear. There have been innumerable challenges to overcome since.
In a huge contrast, earlier this month we returned to the business of making wine with the first pick of Vintage 2021. We did so with the help of an amazing group of customers, friends and supporters who volunteered to help us hand-pick Sauvignon Blanc and Tempranillo from Michael Lane's vineyard at American River. It was a truly uplifting way to get back to business.
Since then, our General Manager Yale Norris has been working tirelessly to ensure we can offer our customers the complement of our wine ranges from vintage 2021.
We’ve sourced some amazing fruit from Kangaroo Island growers and a little further away in McLaren Vale where we needed to.
In our cooler maritime climate on Kangaroo Island, many of the red grapes are still ripening, but we have some fantastic Sauv Blanc, Semillon, Rose, Tempranillo and Malbec all fermenting &/or ageing.
This is a vintage unlike any other in the history of The Islander Estate Vineyards and one we will never forget. But for us is a step that means we have left recovery behind and are rebuilding our business each and every day.
We look forward to introducing you to our Vintage 2021 wines.
Oysters and Champagne are a classic match: the clean, palate-cleansing sparkle, acidity and minerality of the Champagne counterbalances the subtle brininess and creaminess of the oyster. They both contain unami flavour that make a match made in heaven.
A classic blend originating in Jacques' native Bordeaux, Semillon Sauvignon Blanc's hints of citrus and tropical fruit, texture that's soft and round from the barrel aging and acidity drawing out a long finish complements the sweetness of prawns and barbequed flavours.
The flavours of salmon can vary from extremely delicate to rich and lingering. Whether it's baked, grilled or a stunning salad, our dry Provence style Rose is the perfect compliment.
For lots of Australians, Good Friday night is fish and chips on the beach. Fried fish dishes love the natural acidity of white wines like The White Chardonnay. Slightly toasty with flavours of peach, nectarine, melon and toasted nuts, with fruit sweetness is offset by steely, refreshing acidity and a long finish.
The richness and texture of roast lamb needs the the deep, intense colour rich fruit flavour and firm tannin structure of Cabernet. Our varietal range Cab Sauv is a perfect match for your Easter roast.
Our Cotes du Rhone style Shiraz/Grenache blend undergoes whole bunch carbonic maceration to develop a deliciously ripe palate with dark cherry, black fruits, spicy mocha, gernache violets and confection. The fruit character and balanced tannins match beautifully with bitter dark chocolate.
Ready to try a wine match that's a little more unconventional? Take a risk on Cabernet Franc's mouth drying fruit cherries, raspberries, stewed plums and classic herbaciousness as a contrast to Hot Cross Bun's spices richness and dried fruit flavours.
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.
Kangaroo Island Spirits
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
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.
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).
So many wine lovers from all over the world come to spend their precious holiday time with us learning a little about why Kangaroo Island is the world's undiscovered wine treasure.
We miss that connection dearly & can't wait to crack open our best wines for tasting and throw open the door to our Tasting Room. Next time you visit, treat yourself to a Flagship wine tasting.
2. Simple pleasures with family and friends
Finishing a day on KI with fresh fish you've caught yourself is unbeatable. We love doing it with the people we love & a great glass of wine by our side (we recommend our Pinot Gris with local fish).
Our favourite spots for an evening fish? We'll it's hard to beat Snellings Beach on our stunning north coast, Brown Beach on the Dudley Peninsula (if you're lucky for a few flathead) or Emu Bay for a family favourite (park the car up on the beach, open the boot so you have somewhere to rest your wine & cheese platter).
With the cooler seasons coming on, we'll be packing up & heading out with friends with a bottle (or 10) of red and plenty of firewood to get us through the night - in our book the Majestic Plough Malbec is perfect for sharing with friends on cool nights.
Our top Kangaroo Island camping spots? Antechamber Bay campground where you can camp right next to the river & have a stunning beach just a few minutes away. Stokes Bay Campground with the fantastic Rockpool Cafe right next door & one of the best beaches on the Island. Vivonne Bay on the south coast to watch the surf roll in.
With a selection of Kangaroo Island restaurants each showcasing local cuisine in their own unique way & we can't wait to get out & enjoy it with friends again.
Whether its refined cuisine & spectacular views at Sunset Food & Wine, rustic seafood at Rockpool Cafe, high end pub food at the Ozone Hotel, Italian fare at the intimate Bella Cafe or contemporary cuisine in peaceful surrounds at Reflections Restaurant in American River, just to name of few options.
We love heading inland for a walk amongst nature - finished off with a picnic & wine of course! There are so many spectacular inland hikes across the whole Island, many remain open after January's bushfires & the regeneration of bushland will be spectacular as winter progresses.
Or book a weekend away at one of the Island's many nature-based accommodation like our wonderful friends at Ecopia Retreat, where nature is right on your doorstep.
Fires lit all season, stormy walks on the beach, flora & fauna at their peak (& the best season for fishing). Plus, in these quieter seasons it feels almost like the Island is just yours. We'll be inviting friends to reconnect with a weekend (or week) on the Island.
If we're lucky we'll do it at spectacular accommodation like Hamilton & Dune - what a stunning place for long chats, board games & wine by the fire. Pop some local lamb in the slow cooker to simmer all day & pair it with the Old Rowley for a simple but spectacular shared meal.
Kids running wild in the surf, mates downloading news of the week. For Islander's it beats rush hour traffic & crowded bars hands-down.
Our absolute favourite for beach sundowners is The Rose but when even we can't get it, we turn to our other bestie SoFar SoGood Sauvignon Blanc all those tropical fruit notes suit the setting so well. Popular spots include Hog Bay Penneshaw, Island Beach and Emu Bay.
While we're all home cooking right now with our isolation-buddies, there's nothing like spending the whole day preparing a feast for extended family & friends.
It's an act of love that deserves some cracking wines to while away the afternoon (Bark Hut Road hits the spot & pairs with so many dishes). How spectacular is the spot at Lifetime Retreat's The Cliff House?
Don't we miss the simple things? For us picnics need be no further than the lawns of our Tasting Room.
But we also love putting together a picnic of French charcuterie from Les Deux Coq, Alexandrina Fleurieu Peninsula cheeses, local produce & wine for guests (SoFar SoGood Shiraz is our favourite picnic red), then sending them to our team's favourite picnic spots. Just a few minutes away from the Tasting Room in Cygnet River, Duck Lagoon is a great place to start.
Between January's bushfires & the current Coronavirus we're most excited about the prospect of having the full team back together at The Islander Estate Vineyards.
Later in the year we hope to begin welcoming guests back for private barrel room tastings & to see the vineyard rejuvenation. It's a prospect that drives us forward in our mission to make the region's best 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. His annual Halliday Wine Companion is recognised as Australia’s most comprehensive tasting note library.
It goes without saying that any winery is proud to have their wines featured in the Australian Wine Companion. And while, every wine lover's own palate is the most important judge of the wine they like to drink, many wine lovers also rely on the Wine Companion as a guide to the best of Australian wine.
Any wine that rates between 94 and 100 points in the Halliday Wine Companion is considered to be outstanding, of the highest quality, and often with a distinguished pedigree. So we're thrilled to share the wines rated 95+ points in this year's Wine Companion. See the Wine Companion team's tasting notes and ratings below.
2018 Bark Hut Rd
70% cabernet franc, 30% shiraz, wild-fermented, some whole bunches. Deep colour; unashamedly full-bodied, with velvety black fruits, the depth seeming to come from the shiraz licorice and tar. Not for us to argue - it is what it is. And beyond doubt decades away from its use-by date.
2018 Old Rowley
A hand-picked 60/40% grenache/shiraz blend, matured in a demi-muid for 7 months on heavy lees. A full-bodied wine with tannins part of the landscape, sultry red and black fruits the major part. Finishes with conviction, and a savoury farewell. Built to age
Hand-picked, destemmed into demi-muids for wild fermentation, 20% skins return, maceration continued until mlf complete, the wine drained and the skins and stems passed through the hand basket press, matured for 2 years on lees in demi-muids. Jacques Lurton has always loved cabernet franc, and this spicy red-fruited wine, plus its diamond dust tannins, shows why.
Hand-picked bushvine vineyard, destemmed into demi-muids for wild fermentation and extended maceration on skins until mlf completed, the juice run off and the skins pressed in a hand-operated basket press, blended after 2 years in demi-muids. An extremely complex and powerful wine with black fruits, spices, oak, tannins, earth and sea spray moulded into a single flame of flavour.
Barrel-fermented in specially adapted demi-muids, followed by 5-6 week post-fermentation maceration, then pressed to 50/50% new and used demis. It makes no apologies for its full-bodied palate, but the primary flavours are profoundly varietal, the tannins firm but ripe.
The Islander Estate Vineyards has always represented the connection of two vastly different worlds of wine. The remote, untamed environment of Kangaroo Island, one of the world's newest wine regions. And the history and finesse of the Lurton family's six-generation Boardeaux wine heritage.
Our connection has never been stronger than now, as Jacques Lurton takes the reins as President and Chairman of the André Lurton group, following his father's passing in May.
Vignobles André Lurton includes 9 Châteaux including Château Couhins-Lurton, Château Dauzac, Château La Louvière and Château Bonnet, across 7 appellations - Pessac-Léognan, Margaux, Lussac-Saint-Emilion, Bordeaux, Bordeaux Supérieur, Entre-Deux-Mers and Graves.
Jacques role as owner and lead winemaker for The Islander Estate Vineyards will remain unchanged. As it has for the past 19 years, Kangaroo Island and The Islander Estate Vineyards remains the Jacque's special place for creative, hands-on winemaking.
Read the full annoucement at www.andrelurton.com
It's part of The Islander Estate Vineyard's mission to help put the Kangaroo Island wine region on the world map of fine wine. Our Tasting Room established in September 2017 has enabled us to connect many thousands of visitors to the region with our regional wine story and Jacques Lurton's inspiration for making cool climate wines here.
A big thanks to Australian Gourmet Traveller Wine magazine for recognising our efforts in their 2019 Best Cellar Door Awards, we love the variety of wine and experiences offered by our region's cellar doors.