Winemaker Sam Watkins has been in the game long enough to know that more than 90 per cent of wines are consumed within a couple of days of being purchased.

Which is why smart wineries try to release bigger styles of Australian reds, such as cabernet sauvignon and shiraz, several years after vintage to give them time to soften.

Unfortunately, that pesky little business necessity called cashflow often gets in the way of wineries’ best intentions and many wines, especially at lower price points, are released sooner than ideal, leaving wine buyers to cellar the wines themselves for a few years or take their chances and dive straight in.

With our latest dozen deal of the week, The Australian Wine Club has played the waiting game for you, releasing four aged reds in the prime of their lives for only $25.99 a bottle each.

Leading the offer is the Watkins Heritage Collection Cabernet Sauvignon 2017, now a silky, soft wine that Watkins says needed “taming” in its youth before being released.

Along with this seven-year-old cabernet from the Adelaide Hills comes a 12-year-old tempranillo from Rioja that normally sells for $50 a bottle; a nine-year-old Italian sangiovese; and an eight-year-old cool-climate shiraz (syrah) from the Yarra Valley.

Watkins, who has been making wine from his family’s vineyards in the Adelaide Hills and Langhorne Creek for 11 years, says the Heritage Collection cabernet comes from 60-year-old vines growing at Clarendon on the border of the Hills and McLaren Vale.

“It would be one of the warmer spots in the Adelaide Hills and those wines are very powerful when they are young and they need some ageing,’’ he says. “We like to give them a fair bit of time in oak taming the beast.”

The 2017 spent 24 months in French and American oak, with aged barrels mainly being used to ensure the fruit flavours were retained as the wine aged and softened.

“The wines from that vineyard tend to have great depth of flavour like McLaren Vale reds but with an elegance as well,’’ Watkins says.

Watkins’ parents, David and Ros, began the family’s wine adventure in the 1990s, planting vineyards and owning wineries with Warren Randall, a former award-winning Seppelt winemaker who has become one of the biggest private owners of vineyards in Australia.

But it wasn’t until 2020 – as the Covid pandemic hit – that the family decided to release their own brand, with their family name on the labels.

“There are so many wine brands, so people look for something edgy or funky when creating something new,’’ Watkins says.

“Because we have had much family involvement in wine and have our own vineyards and the biggest winery in the Adelaide Hills, we have positioned ourselves as being part of a new wave of traditional family winemakers.

“Our goal is to make a bloody good drop at a good price and build a brand people can depend on.”


Watkins Heritage Collection Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

Poise, power and elegance. Concentrated, ripe fruit flavours of cassis and black currant, with hints of licorice, carried on silky tannins. Mouth-filling yet soft. Fruit is still very fresh given its age. Perfect alignment of fruit, acidity and tannins. Extraordinary value. 93 points from James Suckling; 95 from Ken Gargett. 14.5 per cent alc; RRP $50 a bottle.

SPECIALS: $44.99 a bottle in any dozen; $25.99 a bottle in aged reds dozen.


Allinda Limited Release Yarra Valley Syrah 2016

From a boutique vineyard free of chemical fertilisers, herbicides or pesticides comes this layered, fruit-rich syrah (or cool-climate shiraz), offering mulberry and plum flavours from a warmer vintage than usual. Medium to full-bodied. Good acid and fine tannins keep the boat moving smoothly. High-quality boutique wine. Double Gold, Melbourne International Wine Show. 14.5 per cent alc. RRP $35 a bottle.

SPECIALS: $26.99 a bottle in any dozen; $25.99 in aged reds dozen.


Pagos de Tahola Gran Reserva Rioja 2012

Hand-picked tempranillo from vines between 50 and 60 years old. Subtle aromas of ripe blue to black bramble, cherry, woody spice and licorice lift from the glass after 30 minutes of decanting. Savoury flavours of cedar and tobacco mingle with black fruits. Soft acid drives to a lingering finish. 14.5 per cent alc; RRP $50 a bottle.

SPECIALS: $44.99 a bottle in any dozen; $25.99 a bottle in aged reds dozen.


Colpetrone Montefalco Rosso 2015

Sangiovese-dominant blend from the Montefalco subregion of Umbria in central Italy. Mature, savoury aromas lead to flavours of black fruits, dusty cherry, licorice and sage. Complex, with firm tannins and classic Italian acidity. Open early and enjoy with beef ragu. 92 points from James Suckling. 14 per cent alc; RRP $38 a bottle.

SPECIALS: $28.99 a bottle in any dozen; $25.99 in aged reds dozen.

AGED REDS DOZEN Three bottles of each wine above for $25.99 a bottle. SAVE $207 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.