Australian wines seem to be on a quest to conquer the hearts and minds of wine enthusiasts everywhere. Even charismatic Europeans now admit that Australian wines are fine and import huge quantities. Still, the U K is the best export market, followed by the U S A, E U, Canada and Japan, Australian wine makers like to experiment and have accumulated enough vitivinicultural experience to proceed in a logical and beneficial manner.
Grant Burge Wines has been able to create a brand that stands out, because the founder had a foresight of acquiring vineyards with a range of terroirs enabling him to make technically perfect and appealing wines.
Australia has now 1300 wineries producing over 14,000 different wines. It is clear that to create an outstanding brand requires talent, dedication, planning, and above all a vision.
By all measures, Grant Burge Wines must be considered a success since it now sell half a million cases. Considering that the establishment goes back to 1988, it becomes clear how much market share it has captured in such a short period.
Grant Burge’s family roots go back to 1855 in Australia when his great-great-great-
Grandfather John Burge emigrated from England and settled in the Barossa Valley north of Adelaide. From the very beginning, the family was involved in vitiviniculture in one way or another, and in 1988 Grant and his wife Helen formed Grant Burge Wines.
Barossa Valley, by Silesian farmers and craftsmen fleeing religious persecution, was settled in the early 1840’s, and is considered the cradle of quality Australian wines.
The Mediterranean climate of the valley helps produce suitably fine fruit, and refined, balanced wines. Government agricultural officials have been able to avoid the phylloxera scourge by implementing quarantine rules, and today the valley is a repository of century-old Shiraz vineyards,
Some 42 percent of the half a million tourists to Australia visit Barossa Valley. Grant Burge’s cellar in Moorooroo in Barossa valley is by all accounts impressive, not only architecturally, but also from a point of functionality.
From the very beginning Grant Burge decided to use the fruit of his vineyards. Today he manages 400 hectares in 13 different types with varying terroirs to suit his needs. Some 50 percent of the vineyards are older than 20 years. In addition, Grant Burge purchases fruit from vignerons well known to9 him.
The Australian wine industry was built on family tradition, but starting in the 1990’s more and more small wineries were purchased by a few mega corporations, and even mid-sized wineries felt compelled to merge in an attempt to remain competitive.
However, mergers and disappearance of small wineries result in compromising philosophies and values. If all wines taste the same and are made on industrial scale following the same formula, there would be no distinction. Uniformly tasting wines soon become insipid and tiring.
Luckily Grant Burge Wines’ philosophy is uncompromising and committed to quality and value.
During a recent tasting of his wines staged for the Wine Writers Circle of Canada, the following were evaluated:
VIRTUOSO, 2001, – pale straw colour, with typical grassy herbal aromas of Sauvignon Blanc. (954552 $ 13.55 ).Refreshing with cleansing acidity, soft and creamy with a clean lingering finish.
SUMMER’S EDEN VALLEY CHARDONNAY, 2001, (special order
$ 17.00) – Rich golden in colour, typical Chardonnay aromas, buttressed by peaches, figs and smoky oak. Good balance, medium-bodied, with a seamless texture. Refreshing aftertaste.
CAMERON VALE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2000 ( 937276 $ 19.95 Fall Classics Catalogue ) -Dark, vibrant crimson , typical Cabernet Sauvignon aromas of soft berries. Rich and fat in the mouth with integrated tannins. Seamless and full-bodied. An excellent finish.
HOLY TRINITY 1998 ($ 30.00) blended from Shiraz, Grenache and Mourvedre is a wine of deep red colour, balance and flavour. Ready to drink with beef stews and old cheeses.
FILSELL SHIRAZ 2000 ( 987453 $ 22.45 ) Made from old vines fruit, this outstanding Shiraz has a vibrant, dark red colour, full body, a lot of fruit, smooth and superb balance.
A memorable wine to enjoy on its own or with well aged grilled steaks. Aged in white American oak, the wine has some vanilla underlying overall flavour. Good value.
MESHACH SHIRAZ 1998 (700310 $ 75.00) – a blockbuster, monumental, powerful Shiraz from the best vineyards of Grant Burge Wines. Chocolaty
Flavours dominate the wine’s full body. Rich and alcoholic but well supported with extract. Overall, a wine to remember. Only 2000 cases were produced and LCBO got 20 cases. Well priced. Could improve up to 2015. Good to enjoy now.