Tasting the 2004 Stonewell Shiraz with winemaker Ian Hongell

A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to have lunch and taste wines with Ian Hongell, the Senior Winemaker from Peter Lehmann. It was a great opportunity, to taste and also have the guided tour of each of his wines while pairing it with food is as always a wonderful experience. We tasted a total of 7 wines:

  • 2008 Layers White Blend

  • 2008 Eden Valley Riesling

  • 2006 Barossa Semillon

  • 2006 Barossa Cabernet Sauvignon

  • 2006 Barossa Shiraz

  • 2004 Mentor Cabernet Sauvignon

  • 2004 Stonewell Shiraz

My favorite of the bunch and one of the wines that I had never tried before was the 2004 Stonewell Shiraz ($90). Hailed by Peter Lehmann as their “best wine of each vintage”, it is a power house Shiraz. They select grapes from a dozen or so of their oldest vineyards, some dating back to 1885, and yielding less than 1.5 tons per acre. The vineyards come from 4 different districts within the Barossa Valley, the Kabiningie, Greenock, Vine Vale and the Nuriootpa. The 2004 spent 18 months in a combination of 90% French and 10% American Oak before being bottled.

PLW_Stonewell_BtlMy Tasting Notes –

Nose: blackberry, olive, bacon

Taste: black currant, leather, tobacco, cassis, toast

Mouthfeel: rich and full bodied with big leathery tannins

Finish: weeks later I think I’m still tasting this – loads of dark fruit and bacon flavors lingered on

This is a big, in your face Shiraz that is definitely over the top but in all the right ways. It wasn’t an all fruit show, olive, bacon and leather notes joined the cast of characters to give this New World explosion layers of “goodness”. At $90 it compares with other Shiraz’ like Ben Glaetzers “Amon Ra” or “Annaperenna”. And although this was fabulous and definitely a collectible like Glaetzer’s Shiraz’ or Penfolds Grange, I have a hard time paying this amount of money for Shiraz when there are great ones out there from $20 – $50. If you have the opportunity to taste it or can afford the price tag I definitely recommend it.


Categories: $40+, barossa, shiraz, wine review | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Snakes and Pizza

Tasting the Langmeil 2006 Hangin’ Snakes Shiraz – Viognier

Megan and I purchased this wine after tasting it a little while ago at the Wine Cellar. We took it over to my parent’s house for my dad’s birthday, as we were having pizza from his favorite local spot Angelo’s, and thought it would be a good match. (which it was!)

The 2006 Hangin’ Snakes Shiraz – Viognier ($21) is a blend of 95% Shiraz and 5% Viognier all from the Barossa Valley. The Barossa Valley is located in South Central Australia which is characterized by a Mediterranean climate with cool, wet winters and dry summers between 86 and 95 degrees on average.  Langmeil (which means long mile) dry farms almost all of their vines as do most farmers in Barossa. Doing so forces the vines to set their roots deeper in the soil to find water, which in theory leads to better grape quality and flavor than ones grown on irrigated vines.  The wine saw time in both new and old French Oak before making it’s way into the bottle. 

My Tasting Notes – 

Nose – Earth, Blackberry, Barnyard

Taste – Raspberry, green olive, coffee, fudge

Mouthfeel –Not Hot (14.9% alcohol), really solid mouthfeel, very soft especially for a Shiraz

Finish – Medium to long with the chocolate and coffee flavors lingering on the palate 

This was a very nice wine, that started off really fruity, but after being open for only around a half hour to 45 minutes, it started to show off some old world character.  The fruitiness was still present throughout but notes of earth and funky barnyard started to come through that provided a very nice flavor combination.  I had already tasted this wine before I bought it so I knew I liked it, but actually progressing through the whole bottle gave a different experience with each glass we poured.  I didn’t get many aromatic notes from the Viognier, but I really think it contributed to the softer and heavier than normal mouthfeel of the wine. 

If you see it at your local wine shop, I recommend picking up a bottle and giving it a try.

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Categories: barossa, shiraz, wine tasting | Leave a comment