Sunday, February 28, 2021


Elderton is known for its classic Barossa Shiraz. It seems it has fallen on harder times. Volume has halved in the last ten years despite having increased its product range. I had an opportunity to taste most of its current wines.

The 2017 Shiraz is quite a lively drink, matured in 20% new oak. The vanilla sweetness is noticeable on the palate. The 2019 Western Ridge Grenache/Carignan is equally light and fresh, whereas the 2020 version has more depth. This wine includes Mataro. It is very pretty and nicely balanced, although the tannins are a bit coarse.

The 2017 Ode to Lorraine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Merlot. The capsicum flavour of the Cabernet stands out, and the wine is a bit short on the finish (91 points). The 2018 Grand Tourer is a 100% Shiraz from 70 year old vines of the home block and 40 year old vines from the Greenock vineyard. It sees 60% new French oak. It expresses the blackberry fruit in an elegant fashion, with a slightly light finish (92 points). The 2017 Ashmead Cabernet Sauvignon comes from the home block of 75-80 year old vines. This block is struggling, but still produces good fruit, though at ever reducing volumes. I enjoyed the fresh drive from the 2017 vintage and the linear profile of this wine. There is no hole in the mid palate. Blackberry and cassis is supported by tobacco infused tannins (93 points). 


The top Elderton wine has always been the Command Shiraz. I could compare the 2016 and 2017 editions. The 2016 from the low yielding home block (1t per acre) is matured mostly in new oak lightly toasted puncheons, 2/3 American. Attractive blue fruit dominates the palate. The wine has good energy, and the acidity is well balanced (94 points). By comparison, the 2017 is lighter and fresher, but has enough fruit weight and attractive chocolate notes (94 points).

The 2018 Helbig 1915 wine is a hedonistic expression of Barossa Shiraz. From a low yielding (1/2t per acre) 100 year old block in Greenock, this is a big wine. The 15.5% alcohol gets soaked up by the blackberry and plum fruit and does not stand out on its own. This is a rich wine with layers of fruit and a surprisingly smooth mouthfeel.This wine is not for everybody, but it is well made, and I would happily drink a glass any day (95 points).  

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