The Courier-Mail

WYNNING TRANS­FOR­MA­TION

- Alcoholic Drinks · Wine · Coonawarra · Australia · France · Allen Jenkins · Carling Black Label

A quiet revo­lu­tion is un­der way at Wynns Coon­awarra Es­tate, one of Aus­tralia’s top winer­ies whose fa­bled terra rossa soils pro­duce some of the world’s great caber­nets.

Un­pro­duc­tive vines at Wynns are be­ing culled be­cause they have poor genes, the na­tion’s lead­ing fe­male wine­maker, Sue Hod­der, says.

Hod­der has just com­pleted her 23rd vintage at Wynns, de­scrib­ing her work there as a cre­ative priv­i­lege. She and her viti­cul­tur­ist, Allen Jenk­ins, tread care­fully with their “rein­vig­o­ra­tion” of the vine­yard be­cause they are aware of the her­itage val­ues placed on many of the vines.

“Nev­er­the­less, we have be­gun a re­plant­ing pro­gram,” Hod­der says.

“We’ve taken out some ries­ling, pinot and caber­net.’’

Some of the caber­net vines planted in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s are prone to a mid­dle-age virus she likens to arthri­tis.

The cull will cover sev­eral hun­dred hectares, and new clones and root­stock will be in­tro­duced in the hunt for plusher, more healthy fruit.

Caber­net clones from France will be in­tro­duced.

“It’s all about bal­ance. We want to pro­tect our her­itage while try­ing new things,” Hod­der says.

Bal­ance is the key word also to de­scribe the re­cent re­lease of the 2015 col­lec­tion from Wynns.

The line-up in­cludes Wynns John Rid­doch Caber­net Sauvi­gnon 2012 ($150), Wynns Michael Shi­raz 2012 ($150), Childs Sin­gle Vine­yard Caber­net Sauvi­gnon 2012 ($80), V&A Lane Shi­raz 2013 ($60), V&A Lane Caber­net Shi­raz 2013 ($60), Black La­bel Shi­raz 2013 ($50) and the pop­u­lar Black La­bel Caber­net Sauvi­gnon 2013 ($45).

The wines are finely struc­tured with a clearly de­fined “Wynns style” of bal­anced fruit ex­pres­sion.

“They are both cur­rent drink­ing and age­wor­thy ex­pres­sions of a truly great Coon­awarra vintage,” Hod­der says.

I road-tested the new vintage V&A Lane Caber­net Shi­raz (76 per cent caber­net, 24 per cent shi­raz) a wine of daz­zling force be­hind silky tan­nins.

It’s a wel­com­ing crim­son colour with a nose of mul­berry and spice.

On the palate there are hints of to­bacco, tar, fig and black pep­per.

It will be even bet­ter in five to 15 years, Hod­der says.

 ??  ?? Care­ful cull:
Wine­maker Sue Hod­der wants a bal­ance be­tween new vines and her­itage value.
Care­ful cull: Wine­maker Sue Hod­der wants a bal­ance be­tween new vines and her­itage value.

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