Dan's Blog


Friday, September 06, 2019

There is always something happening in the world of wine. Here are a few interesting snippets that you may have missed along the way.

CYPRUS:  Cypriot native grape varieties, Xynisteri (white) and Maratheftiko (red), have recently been released from Australian Quarantine. They are now in the process of being propagated at the Waite Campus of the University of Adelaide, as they are significantly drought tolerant and have the potential to produce good quality wine as they do in their home country.

While we won’t be seeing Australian wines made from these two varieties any time soon, it is one more step in the process of securing our industry against climate change and as such, should be applauded.

GREECE:  I have written about the unique vineyards on the Greek Island of Santorini before. It is a former volcano, is sand blasted by the Mistral winds and so to grow grapes they trellis them in a “birds nest” (called kouloura) style of trellis so as to protect them as much as possible from the howling winds. Their wines are almost entirely white wines and the main variety is, Assyrtiko. The island produced some of the very best Assyrtiko, with delightful, crisp flavours and significant but not overpowering acidity.

Over recent years their wines have gained popularity and the price of the scarce grapes has skyrocketed – all good for the growers. EXCEPT that between the months of January to March 2019 the island received almost twice its annual rainfall of 300mm and over the spring the vines have gone ballistic growing. Unfortunately, as they are not trellised this has led to mould and disease, so that what was initially God sent has turned into a major challenge and significant problem. It will be interesting to see the quality of the 2019 Santorini Assyrtiko.

UNITED KINGDOM:  The top five UK retail wine brands in 2018, in terms of sales volumes were as follows:

No.1: Hardy’s

No.2: Barefoot – California

No.3: McGuigan

No.4: Yellow Tail

No.5: Casillero del Diablo – Spain

So as you can see there is a lot riding for the Australian wine industry on the effect that outcome of what Brexit will have on the UK economy. If the predictions of “doom & gloom” come true, the above Australian companies will suffer a considerable decline in sales volumes as economic conditions in the UK nose dive. This in turn will have an impact on the Australian wine industry in general and warmer climate grape growers in particular.

USA – San Francisco: The mega, massive Amazon has recently and very quietly opened a “Bricks & Mortar” liquor outlet in a commercial area in Los Angeles. It is also now in the process of applying to open a wine shop in a San Francisco residential suburb called, “Dogpatch”. The locals are up in arms as the area has a number of small “mum & dad” liquor stores and they are concerned that Amazon will drive them out of business.

USA – New York: The Mayor of New York has recently issued an executive order banning alcohol advertising on all bus shelters, newsstands, billboards and kiosks across the city. Those who have existing alcohol adverts are allowed to keep them until their current contract expires.

ITALY:  Over fifty Italian companies are currently under investigation for putting lesser wine into higher appellation/higher value wines. It would seem to be rather widespread as there are companies under investigation, including bottling operators, from widespread regions such as Puglia, Modena, Pordenone, Udine, Treviso, Venice, Ravenna, Florence, Padova, Livorno and Naples. These sort of occurrences damage a country’s international reputation, so let us hope that it never happens in Australia. Mind you, not having a rigid appellation system like the Europeans have, makes it much less likely that anybody here would resort to such jiggery-pokery.

Well that’s it for another week. I hope you have a great week and enjoy some sensational wines – preferably Australian ones!


This week I am talking about one of several super-stars in the Barossa, KALLESKE WINES.

The Kalleske family has been in the Barossa growing grapes since 1853, with their oldest surviving vines dating back to 1875. However, it was only with their first release in 2004, that they transitioned into wine making under the leadership of the extremely talented brothers, Troy and Tony Kalleske.  It is a family affair with Mum, Lorraine, and Dad, John, tending to the vineyards.

Since their launch the wines of KALLESKE have impressed whilst at the same time being innovative. All their wines are certified Organic & Biodynamic with the vineyards having being certified back in 1998, before it became trendy to do so.

I recently had the joy of receiving a six-pack of KALLESKE WINES to review – boy what an onerous task!!!

The (Biodynamic) wines were:

KALLESKE 2018 ‘MERCHANT’ CABERNET SAUVIGNON: This traditionally made Cabernet is a corker! Deep, dark and dense in colour. A gorgeous bouquet with lively blackcurrant, cherries and cigar box cedar aromas. A fabulously rich palate, smooth, beautifully balanced, great depth of flavour and a classy finish. An outstanding wine!

KALLESKE 2019 ‘ZEITGESIT’ SHIRAZ:  Interestingly innovative in that apart from being wild fermented the wine was bottled almost straight away without “normal” maturation, i.e. it is unoaked.

When was the last time you heard of an unoaked Shiraz? Well, this one works superbly. It has deep, inky-purple colour, fabulous perfumed bouquet with plums, blueberries, olives and a whiff of cloves. The palate is full flavoured, super smooth, uber appealing and strikingly complex for so young a wine. Masses of flavours and a divine finish make this wine eminently drinkable right now, yet it offers great aging potential as well.

KALLESKE 2018 GREENOCK SHIRAZ: An aromatic experience with cinnamon, vanillin oak, plum pudding and a twist of herbs in the complex and alluring bouquet. The sophisticated palate is very rich but still youthfully tight, beautifully balanced and superbly structured – designed to be cellared as it will age superbly for as long as you have the patience to do so.

KALLESKE 2018 MOPPA SHIRAZ: A sensational wine which has just a smidge of Viognier and a splash of Petit Verdot included so as to add a little extra dimension to the magnificent Shiraz that this wine is. Deep, bright purple in colour with a delightful bouquet of red berries and a hint of forest floor. A gorgeous BIG mouthful of flavours, with tight but not OTT tannins making it a divine, hugely drinkable, young, Barossa Shiraz from the bottom end of the valley.

KALLESKE 2019 PARALLAX GRENACHE: Sorry guys but this wine does not appeal to me. While I can recognise it as a really good wine in its own right by showing a different facet of Grenache, it is not for me.  I am “Old School” and like my Grenache big, blousy, rich and ripe, whereas this is a light and bright wine.  I’ll stick with your fabulous “Old Vine” Grenache, thanks!

KALLESKE 2018 ‘CCCLXV’ DURIF 365: OMG! What a mind blowing wine!! No oak maturation at all – instead it is left on skins for a year (hence CCCLXV – 365 days). It is right up there with the biggest, brightest, boldest Durif I have ever tasted. Almost black in colour with crisp, complex aromas of blackberries and plums, and has great viscosity. A big, bold, beautiful palate teaming with rich flavours, just a hint of natural fruit sweetness and a delightful, tight, slightly grippy finish.  Bloody Amazing! Totally different style to the Kalleske “Buckboard” Durif, but equally as brilliant. It would be interesting to line the two up side by side.

Whether you go for “Traditional” style wines or the “New Style/Innovative” wines (or like me – some of each) the gang at KALLESKE have a wine to suit you, delight your palate and warm your heart.

So I urge you visit and check out what these wine magicians have to offer, it will be worth your while and your palate will thank you. Cheers!