Grampians masterclass

Grampians (Western Victoria), centred around Stawell and Ararat is less known for its Rieslings than its Shiraz, – probably overshadowed by the Rieslings from Henty (Seppelt Drumborg and Crawford River). However the Grampians can produce long-living, floral and mineral styles. Judicious use of low levels of residual sugar seems to help. The wines below are firmly in the “fruity” camp, not sweet.

Seppelt Great Western Riesling 2014

Varietal bath-salts, talc, mineral tang, zippy, delicious (14 g r/s) balanced, versatile

Drink now-2020, Score 92

Mt Langi Ghiran Langi Riesling 2010

Geisenheim clone of Riesling. Some bottle age-characters, honey and limes, but is on the austere side

Drink now- 2020, Score 88

Halls Gap Estate Riesling 2015

Obviously very youthful, residual sugar (8 g/l) is subdued by the beautifully judged.acidity, Fruit tingles. A producer new to me, although winemaker Duncan Buchanon is well known

Drink now- 2025, score 94

Best’s Great Western ‘Foudre ferment’ Riesling, 2014

Alsace-inspired, but thankfully at 11% not overblown as Alsace can be. Moderately soft, with some musk, citrus peel and florals, but the reward is the palate- slippery, slinky, textured, rounded.

Drink now- 2022, score 91

Jamsheed Garden Gully Riesling 2013

Skin contact, some barrel ferment. unfined, unfiltered, Looked a bit cloudy, and had some sour/bitter characters. Full on, very determined winemaking, very individual, but definitely didn’t appeal to me.

Not recommended

The Story Westgate Vineyard Marsanne Roussanne Viognier 2014

OK its not a Riesling, but was included in the bracket. There’s only a few rows of these varieties around in the district, and it’s a field blend. Bright, clear, tell-tale citrus and honeysuckle with a rounded palate. Comfortable rich wine, but I think some extra acidity would be my preference.

Drink now-2017, Score 86


Grampians shiraz is the “hero” wine; like many of the red wines grown in alluvial areas, it’s robust in flavours while being only medium bodied – likely benefitting from old vines, and restrained yields. The array of exotic spices and pepper integrated with natural acidity means the wines are long-lived, savoury and food-friendly. A move to whole bunches in the ferment means care has to be taken in techniques and judgement to avoid green characters and the technical composition including pH of finished wines.

2013 was a warm vintage with the added issue of varieties ripening together, complicating the typical vintage task of matching capacities of the right kind of vessel and picking best blocks at right times while crossing fingers and toes for the rest. All colours of wines tasted below were very youthful, with oak and tannins just beginning to really integrate. Alcohol levels were generally around 14%. Patience will be rewarded, as they are a pretty bracing now, with their best well ahead, as demonstrated with the bracket of wines following.

I feel that maybe it was not the best season to be brash on whole bunch inclusions.

Seppelt St. Peter’s Grampians Shiraz 2013

A riot of mixed spices matched with fine mocha-oak. Mix of black and red berries. Balanced but possibly lacking the usual concentration of this marque. Whole bunch used as “blend-in” material. Curiously disappointing after recalling the quality of the VFM Seppelt 2013 Chalambar Shiraz.

Drink 2018 – 2030, score 91

Bests Bin 0 Great Western Shiraz 2013

No “Thompson” made in 2013, so this wine has benefited from the “trickle-down”. A very health rude purple colour, there is upfront oak, but built in over savoury, clove-y, cocoa notes. I find the Bests Bin 0 often not especially varietal except via elimination, but this is a splendid wine regardless.

Drink 2016-2030, score 94

Jamsheed Garden Gully Vineyard Syrah 2013

80% whole bunch – high pH, high TA (a curious combination). I found the tannins here hard and green, Time may help, and I may be entirely wrong.

Drink 2015-2019, score 82

Halls Gap Estate Shiraz 2013

Seems, rawer and sweeter-fruited than other wines in the bracket. Tannins make their presence felt, but ultimately seems a bit straightforward – although keenly priced.

Drink 2016-2020, score 86

The Story Westgate Vineyard Grampians Shiraz 2013

Crisp, savoury, smooth, slinky, classy wine. There is some hardness in the tannins here too. I’m a fence-sitter on this one

Drink now-2020, score 89

Mt Langi Ghiran Langi Shiraz 2013

Slightly medicinal bouquet (forgiveable) which dissipated over time, oak is prominent, acid is poking through and this wine looks entirely backward; hard to describe which means it is “right”, with all in place; best course is to revisit in a few months

Drink 2017 – 2027, score 91

Now we get to look at the time capsule; older wines as a pointer to how the 2013’s could develop. Most of these wines are lower alcohol.

Seppelt Great Western Hermitage 1971

A wine I have agonised over on previous occasions; is it a bit of TCA, or is it a combination of some hay/straw and some garlicky sulphides and varietal mushroom? It resuscitates on the palate as a fully mature, generously flavoured old wine with tremendous now-vinous fruit concentration. Remember its 44 years old, and deserves respect.

Drink now, Score 87

Bests Bin 0 Shiraz 1984

Chewy, some Ribena-like characters, and dark cherries. No rush!

Drink now-2020, score 86

Bests Bin 0 Shiraz 1998

Vibrant, beautiful medium bodied wine of length, charm and finesse. Astounding.

Drink now- 2025, Score 95

Mt Langi Ghiran Langi Shiraz 1998

Also very alive, with some sweet toasty oak, a decent wine but wouldn’t place it as Victorian

Drink now – 2018, score 87

Mt Langi Ghiran Langi Shiraz 2004

Colour seems to show its been in a deep freezer; ultra youthful. But it seems a bit “stretched”, and I cannot see improvement with further maturation.

Drink up 84

Jamsheed Shiraz 2006 (magnum)

Colour is a bright bomb; there is some slight reduction on the bouquet, but the wine is dense, and flavour packed. Very happy here, and future is extensive.

Drink now- 2022, Score 93

Seppelt Show Sparkling Shiraz 1986

Disgorged in last week or so, there are some unattractive decayed elements on the bouquet, and the degree of bubbliness is subdued; BUT the fruit power remaining on the palate is extra-ordinary; full ripe plums, and blackberries, a wine at peace with itself.

Drink now, score 90


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