1996 Seppeltsfield Para Tawny 19.7%

We are not allowed to use the term “port”, but that’s the style, in this example probably using Grenache, Shiraz and Mourvedre (Mataro). Unusually for a tawny style, this wine is from a single vintage, and aged 21 years before release.
seppelt 1996 para
The Seppeltsfield (and previously Seppelt) Barossa tawny often has some green, or khaki tints- and this wine which is a bright clear amber colour- conforms. Black coffee, almond and some walnut, shortbread biscuit, rancio, and vanilla bean are beguiling scents. The palate manages to be intense and supple, with beautifully integrated brandy spirit, and has tremendous verve, the acidity balancing its rich sweetness, teasing to further tasting. All the flavours come in waves. 22 years old, and what a privilege that it’s available.

At around $80 for $750 ml (retail or at Seppeltsfield – for the 1997 vintage) – this wine is outstanding quality and value.

Decant (to freshen it up), drink now – it will keep, but not change -and 94 points.



2010 Petaluma Botrytis essence 13%

From Coonawarra, with a label showing astonishing (albeit tiny-fonted) detail,  174.7 g/l residual sugar, Sav blanc 53%, Semillon 47%, and much more about its oak handling, and vintage conditions.
2010 petaluma botrytis essence
Meanwhile the wine is a brilliant gold colour, with scents of botrytis, lime and orange marmalade; the palate is full-throttle, unctous and rich, ultra decadent, with flavours ranging through ripe stonefruit – apricot, peach – plus honey and orange. It’s a lovely drinking experience, good VFM, but a little less oak and a dash more acidity would have elevated my score.

Under screwcap, this wine has a long life ahead I but cannot see an upside in the flavour profile with further cellaring, and suspect it will taste very similar in 5 years.

Drink to 2025 and 88 points

2001 MF Richter Mulheimer Helenkloster Riesling Eiswein 9.5%

Eiswein is a rare beast; grapes are left out to freeze (picked when at least 8 degrees Celsius below freezing), running the dangers of assorted undesirable rots, birds,  and greatly reduced yields.  Picking (in Germany) usually takes place in December, and sometimes into the next year. Eiswein is  troublesome to make, and expensive to purchase, with the residual sugars generally between BA and TBA levels.

Richter (from the Mosel) is blessed with a site (Helenkloster) that usually produces an Eiswein -(sometimes more than one- that may be differentiated on the label by an ** and of course the AP number). And several Richter wines are imported into Australia, although I am more familiar with their rich Kabinetts and Spatlese Rieslings.

I visited the Richter estate in 2007 and was treated to a range of wines, a lightning tour of the winery and its museum, and left with a purchased armload including several back-vintage wines.

2001 richter eiswein

Information kindly – and promptly- provided by Dr Dirk Richter about the wine “grapes were picked on 24 December at minus 13C; 255 g/l residual sugar, 12.1 g/l acidity” and a meagre 200 litres were made. These are very serious numbers! An eiswein ** was also made with equally sobering statistics.

The wine is a light copper colour with a khaki rim; there are exotic aromas of raisin, dried fruits, even coconut. The palate is still lively, with assertive apricot, orange citrus, and with some breathing, more lime characters. Brisk, clean, dense, and delightfully decadent.

While this style can live for decades, with its inherent acidity, on the evidence of this half-bottle, I favour the conservative side of the drinking window.

Drink to 2025, and 94 points.





2009 William Downie Petit Manseng 12.5%

The grapes came from King Valley (Victoria) – a one-off wine as untimely bushfires in Victoria possibly tainted sources of Bill’s usual range of Pinot Noirs. A pretty presentation – the  wax top was easily removed, as was a diam cork, and a there is very impressive Reg Mombassa label. Petit Manseng is the key variety of the long-living sweet wines of south-west France- and I doubt I’ve tried any! Some information is here.

2009 willliam downie
But this wine is still a bright clear lemon colour; aromatics are subdued but lemon and lanolin are present. The palate has more interest- stonefruit, lime, candied peel, green apple, and quince. There is perhaps 40 g/l residual sugar, but this is very neatly absorbed in its balanced tangy acidity. Some phenolic texture rounds out the picture. This wine is right in the slot, and more time won’t add to its nuances. Unusual, and a pleasant, enjoyable surprise.

Drink to 2020 (for its brisk and refreshing aspects) and 88 points.

Merry Xmas from Stoney Goose Ridge CEO Hector Lannible

My annual message to suppliers, staff, and customers is clear – have a merry non-denominational seasonal festivity.

Another breathtaking fiscal year is almost  over, and I’m blessed that my well -deserved bonus will be sumptuous, reflecting a year of extra-ordinary achievements; the culmination of extensive and rigorous debates with the Board, the executive remuneration committee and my personal legal representatives. Truly, the bucks stop with me.

Our tax strategies once again bore fruit; with new entities established in Panama, the Bahamas and Cayman Islands . Our cross-rate triage hedging bridge mezzanine exchange exposure tiered collateralised tranches are the envy of many enlightened companies. And our numerous ongoing “discussions” with taxation authorities are a source of pride.

Stoney Goose Ridge has won many national and international awards – just a few highlights

  • Best social and new media campaign alignment strategies –Pure Blondette red wine- Thailand
  • Best innovative adhesive wine packaging –Emoh Ruo– Hong Kong
  • Platinum medallion for Pantone synergy wine labelling – Brosé – Venezuela
  • Short-listed for brand segmentation data-mining -Chicago
  • Best psychometric analytical personal development program (UK)
  • Enormous traction with our SEO and SEM performance
  • Record hits on my TED talk on “the China syndrome”
  • Best new beverage brand performance (wine) – Chamsecco® – Venice
  • Best new beverage brand performance (spirits) – The old Wood Duck – St Petersburg
  • Best new beverage brand (beer) – Seasonable Smashable – Geelong

And most importantly,

  • Record YOY sales uplift and EBITDA
  • New export to Nigeria, Cambodia and Myanmar
  • Record number of litigations initiated in numerous jurisdictions
  • Record level of damages awarded and costs retrieved, for copyright, libel, and contract breaches.
  • Record numbers of legal appeals in progress on technical grounds.
  • Various medals in wine (and beer, and spirit) shows
  • Record NPS scores, record brand recognition, recall – and brand financial valuation
  • Recognition of several wines as “emerging cult wines”.

And there is naturally, our strong community support, evidenced by matters including

  • Staff employed, and staff turnover
  • GST and other unavoidable levies paid
  • Tax relief, relocation allowances, export facilitation grants, royalty holidays, and other Government support that Stoney Goose Ridge has championed, and my charismatic networking mesmerisation has enabled
  • Support to charities – through contra, and a proportion of donations noted as “anonymous”

But at Stoney Goose Ridge we don’t rest. Our staff commit fully- or else.

I give 120% of my intellectual prowess and expect no less from my underlings and minions.

We plan ahead; in 2018 expect new products, new markets, and new ventures (even a cookbook is in progress). On a personal note, I acknowledge I can’t do it all; the commitment of my hand-picked executive team (I steer, they row), the support of my family, the care from my agent, PA, personal lawyer, media team, stylist and biographer.

Lastly, the enduring love from our customers for Stoney Goose Ridge is our greatest achievement; whether its from people reaching for our most basic entry-level wines, or the more sophisticated drinkers persuaded by our omni-channel approach to savour our premium, ultra-premium, hyper-premium, icon, uber, mega-rare and our myriad of other lifestyle segmented brands.

I recognise that competition in my chosen industry is ferociously endemic; and there is jealousy at our raging logarithmic success; there are also extensive CV’s in our slush pile, from people desperate to join our ranks. One very senior executive in a major beverage concern noted his extensive and wide-ranging experience – but we’re not interested in a jackass of all trades; we recruit congruently to fill strategic key niches.

As a family oriented company, staff will recall that annual leave is inflicted by meddling regulators – make the most of it by seeking improvements in our logistics, contracts, brand performance and so on, and return fully refreshed for the marathon tasks that will be assigned, and your increased KPI BHAG challenges. My senses are hyper-alert to your actions, and any diminution in enthusiasm, output or innovation will be crushed with astonishing rigour. But my motivational mastery and incisive guidance will continue to inspire your performances.

Once again, congratulations to those that have had their contracts renewed for their contributions in 2017, and we set sail into the stratosphere of the nouveau calendar 2018.

Raise a glass to the growing domination of Stoney Goose Ridge!

Yours passionately, Hector”

2005 Joh. Jos. Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese (AP 03 07) 7%


The wizened cork has nevertheless done its duty, but I hope my remaining bottle will be preserved for at least another 5 years.

The wines of JJ Prum are easily available in Australia; the Wehlener Sonnenuhr is my “go-to” vineyard, and the Auslese level hits my personal “sweet spot” of complexity and affordability. But the JJ Prum wines- like so many Mosel Rieslings – reward cellaring. 2005 was an exceptional vintage in the Mosel.

The colour of this Mosel wine is a bright clear light lemon; there are enticing scents of ripe red apple, dried pear, lemon, smoke, petroleum, stones and a twist of ginger. The palate is rich, clean and overwhelmingly pretty; it’s viscous with natural acidity that is refreshing, and insists that further tasting is mandatory. My guess was around 90 g/l of residual sugar, but beautifully integrated. The palate shows white honey,  red apple, some emerging lime, and of course flint. A wine that is easily approachable, enjoyable and complex.

Drink to at least 2035 , and 95 points for now – with enormous prospects for improvement in the future.

Lifting the lid – a class on wine fermentation and microbiology

At a brief educational class (sponsored by Lallemand’s Jason Amos) where  presenters included Eveline Bartowsky and Sam Harrop MW, I was able to try several “trial” wines; these are unfinished wines , but demonstrated complex differences when using several different yeasts, malo etc.

Where I started

  • Various yeasts exist on grapes (and in the winery) at harvest time, generally these are not very efficient, and in low numbers
  • Cultured yeast basically drives the fermentation – (temperature and other factors play a part too). The key yeasts are strains of saccharomyces cerevisiae
  • Winemakers look for efficiency of the yeasts converting the sugars -fructose and glucose- into alcohol, and “cleanness” (no VA, H2S etc)
  • Fermentation may not be steady, but can proceed sulkily – and a fear of stuck/incomplete ferments exists
  • Winemakers may use different yeast strains to ferment different varieties
  • For red wines, nice to get malo to happen at end of fermentation – or near the end; converting malic acid to lactic acid – there are more stresses and complications if this doesn’t occur (although some wineries are happy to wait until malo occurs months later).

Where I ended up

  • Different cultured yeasts make much more of an impact than I thought, both aromatically and structurally,
  • Malo in conjunction with ferment (co-inoculation) made an attractive sensory and structural difference- making the wine seems more polished, less raw, and apparently this difference persists)
  • Different malo bacteria also make a sensory difference (oenococcus oeni vs lactobacillus plantarum)
  • Co-inoculation may have some practical difficulties in a larger winery with many fermentation vessels and batches coming in several times per day.
  • So, altogether much more complex than I had assumed, with more winemaker control than previously imagined.

Further questions, and some homework

  • use of (some) whole bunch; is co-inoculation effective to the same degree?
  • use of slow fermenting yeast strains – pros and cons
  • effect of using combinations of yeast strains

All up, the session was enough to disturb my benign neglect of fermentation and its intricacies, and propel me towards seeking further information,