Fly high with these cool climate Barossa gems – and bag a free $80 magnum
The story behind one of the Barossa’s most iconic cool-climate vineyards begins in the restless mind of David Wynn, an innovator whose revolutionary ideas have helped shaped the Australian wine industry.
Mountadam, a five-star winery with vineyards sitting along a high ridge in the Barossa’s Eden Valley, was founded by Wynn in 1972 after he explored Australian wine regions in a Citroën fitted with an altimeter so he could precisely determine the height of potential sites.
He was determined to find the ultimate place to grow chardonnay in the style of Burgundy and fell in love with Mountadam, whose vineyards lie up to 550m above sea level.
Fifty years later, Mountadam is blossoming under the eye of winemaker Caitlin Brown, who grew up on the property as a teenager.
Mountadam’s array of stunning whites and reds is the centrepiece of The Australian Wine Club’s deal of the week, with the collection spanning from aromatic riesling and pinot gris, to award-winning chardonnays and cool-climate shiraz and cabernet. Seeing it’s the festive season, we’re also throwing in a magnum of Mountadam’s pinnacle High Eden Estate Chardonnay 2019 with every dozen (RRP $80 a bottle).
Wynn, who passed away in 1995, is regarded by our club president, James Halliday, as a marketing genius best known for reviving the fortunes of Coonawarra by establishing Wynns Coonawarra Estate in the 1950s and turning it into a powerhouse for premium reds.
As he prepared to publicly list Wynn Winegrowers Ltd in 1970, which resulted in Allied Breweries Ltd and Tooheys Ltd buying it for $7.5m two years later, Wynn discovered High Eden and founded Mountadam.
After a series of ownership shuffles involving Möet Hennessy and Treasury Wine Estates, Limestone Coast graziers and grape growers David and Jenni Brown acquired the winery in 2000 and have gradually purchased adjoining properties to piece back together Wynn’s original holdings of about 1000 hectares.
Daughter Caitlin has been on her own winemaking adventure, working vintages at Leeuwin Estate in Margaret River, Sidewood Estate in the Adelaide Hills and at Killian Hunn Baden in Germany, before becoming assistant winemaker at Hardys Tintara in McLaren Vale.
“Coming back to Mountadam has been special as it’s a pretty unique place and such a beautiful property,’’ says Caitlin, who has now overseen three vintages at Mountadam.
With chardonnay, shiraz and cabernet vines stretching back 40 to 50 years, and more than 60 different blocks to draw fruit from, Caitlin knows she is working in a winemaker’s paradise.
She admits Wynn’s vision, to create wines of great elegance and structure expressing cool-climate fruit purity, has been a driving force in shaping her winemaking style.
“We have such beautiful, pristine fruit that my job is about consistency, not trying to change the wines too much but letting those cool-climate flavours and natural acids do the work,’’ she says.
While chardonnay, riesling and shiraz are established Mountadam heroes, Caitlin is quietly excited about cabernet.
“We’re seeing that nice subtle spice with violets and purple fruits but with rich dark chocolate and olive tapenade characters – it’s not too green,’’ she says. “Cabernet is definitely one to watch.”
Mouth-filling and opulent: white peaches, nectarines, grapefruit, white flower blossom, creamy vanilla and nougat, cashews and spice. Fine, tense, balanced acidity. A cracker. 93 points from Team Halliday. 13.5% alc; RRP $28 a bottle.
This site, planted in 1968 and 1974, was once the source of the great Leo Buring Leonay rieslings. You’ll find freshly squeezed lime and grapefruit along with hints of jasmine and fennel. Racy, thirst-quenching acid an Eden Valley trademark.
Red star for exceptional value from Team Halliday. 12% alc; RRP $28 a bottle.
Cool-climate characters of nashi pear, grapefruit and nectarine, with hints of rose petals and soft spice. Clean citrusy palate driven by soft acid to a refreshing finish.
I’m thinking Vietnamese-style green papaya salmon salad. 92 points from Team Halliday. 12% alc; RRP $28 a bottle.
Blackberries and blackcurrants swirl with forest-floor earthiness and a sprinkle of dried herbs and black olives. Cigar-box tannins run along a balanced line of natural acid.
Drinking beautifully six years in. 93 Halliday points. 14.5% alc; RRP $28 a bottle.
Ripe blue plums on the nose along with vanilla and spice from the French oak. Dense, sweet fruits on the palate mingle with dark chocolate and licorice bullets. Tannins are firm but mellow. 14.5% alc; RRP $22 a bottle.
Enticing aromas of mulberries, plums and sweet spice lift from the glass. Juicy palate balancing between savouriness and ripeness.
As respected critic Tyson Stelzer writes: “The signature of this cool, high site is articulated impeccably here, a beautiful expression of red fruits and pepper with the gentle support of dark chocolate oak.”
Fantastic value for money. 14.5% alc; RRP $28 a bottle.
Bright citrus, white peach, nectarine, vanilla and coconut characters slide seamlessly together in a triumph of fruit purity, minerality and oak integration.
Complex and charismatic. 13.4% alc; RRP $80 a bottle.
Order by simply clicking the links to our online store or telephone 1300 765 359 Monday to Friday, from 9am to 5pm AEST. Deals are available only while stocks last. The Australian Wine Club is a commercial partnership with Laithwaites Wine, LIQP770016550. Stockhead is partnering with The Australian Wine Club on this offer.