Do older vines produce better wines?

After 45 vintages, mainly in the Barossa, Sorby Adams winemaker Simon Sorby Adams has no doubt – and a novel way of explaining why.

“Vines are like humans – as you get older you slow down a little,” Simon says. “And as you slow down, you tell better stories.

“Kids are full of energy but when they tell a story, it’s noisy and can be a bit simple. When you talk to your grandmother, she may speak softly, but her stories are full of intensity.”

Science backs up Simon’s metaphor.

“The skins of grapes are packed with flavours and as vines get older they produce smaller berries and the skin to fruit ratio increases,’’ he explains. “Those flavours from the skins are concentrated within the juice, creating an intensity of flavour in the wine.”

Intense flavours are the signature of the Sorby Adams Jellicoe Riesling 2022, one of four 95-point wines included in The Australian Wine Club’s mixed dozen deal of the week.

Included in the dozen is Tahbilk’s extraordinary marsanne, TarraWarra’s pitch-perfect Yarra chardonnay and Sidewood’s sublime Adelaide Hills sauvignon blanc. It’s a dozen offering superb value for those who enjoy roaming across the spectrum of premium Australian whites.

The Sorby Adams riesling is sourced from four vineyards, with an average vine age of between 35 and 40 years, in the Barossa’s cool-climate Eden Valley.

Eden Valley has earned a reputation as one of Australia’s best regions for high-quality riesling, with its high altitude of more than 400m creating vastly different winegrowing conditions than the Barossa Valley floor.

The climate is cooler and the soils tend to be skeletal and minerally. That minerality expresses itself in the wine and is often referred to by winemakers as the “backbone” of a good riesling.

Simon, whose winemaking brother, Tim Adams, is based in Clare Valley, says Eden rieslings tend to show bright lemon and lime juice characters in their youth with naturally high acid that gives the wine “zing” and freshness.

The high acid in riesling grapes also makes for cellar-worthy wines that age for years, as those bright citrus characters soften into marmalade and toasty aromas and flavours. (If you haven’t tried an old riesling, it’s time!)

In a career that has seen Sorby Adams wines win 65 trophies and 300 gold medals, Simon says he still “loves the challenge of every vintage”, giving care and attention throughout the year in the vineyard and then in the winery.

“There’s a bit of art into turning a berry into wine, reflecting each season, and you hope at the end of the day that that wine puts a smile on someone’s face somewhere,’’ Simon says.


Sorby Adams Jellicoe Eden Valley Riesling 2022

Sourced from riesling vines planted at around 475m above sea level. Classic Eden aromas of freshly squeezed lime and crunchy green apple. Lemons and grapefruit pith on the palate drive along a minerally acid line.

Mouth-watering. 95 points; red star for exceptional value in Halliday Wine Companion. 11.5% alc; RRP $35 a bottle.

SPECIALS $30 a bottle in any mixed dozen; $21.99 a bottle in 95-point Whites Dozen.


TarraWarra Estate Yarra Valley Chardonnay 2018

Classy chardonnay from vines of up to 35 years of age. Great intensity with stone fruits, a touch of citrus and underlying cashew nut flavours. Creamy texture and subtle use of oak leading to a fresh, lingering finish.

Hits the sweet spot where fruit and oak sing in harmony. 95 points from James Halliday. 13.2% alc; RRP $35 a bottle.

SPECIALS $29.99 a bottle in any mixed dozen; $21.99 a bottle in 95-point Whites Dozen.


Tahbilk Estate Marsanne 2021

Victoria’s oldest family-owned winery has developed this lesser-known French varietal into a signature wine, with its oldest plantings stretching back to 1927. The brilliant 2021 vintage shows Tahbilk marsanne at its best: intense lemon-lime and tropical aromas, honeysuckle and spicy notes, and a steely minerality powering to the finish line.

A tour de force. 13% alc; RRP $22 a bottle.

SPECIALS $18.75 a bottle in any mixed dozen; $21.99 a bottle in 95-point Whites Dozen.


Sidewood Estate Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2022

Sidewood must stake a claim as Australia’s most consistent producer of sauvignon blanc. Leap-from-the-glass aromas of gooseberry, citrus, passionfruit and freshly cut grass lead to a fresh palate singing with an array of tropical fruits.

95 points from James Halliday. 12% alc; RRP $22 a bottle.

SPECIALS $19.99 a bottle in any mixed dozen; $21.99 a bottle in 95-point Whites Dozen.

95-POINT WHITES DOZEN Three bottles of each wine above for $21.99 a bottle. SAVE $78 a dozen.

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.