Katnook Gala Nights at the Opera. March 2016
Katnook is proud to offer its customers an exclusive opportunity to meet the stars of Opera Australia's "Pearlfishers" as part of our annual VIP Gala Nights at the Opera series. In 2016, join us in Sydney on March 3rd or Melbourne on May 26th.
THe evening includes A reserve seating, a program, VIP interval drinks at which Katnook new releases will be served plus the post performance private meeting wiht the stars. See our events tab for more details and how to book. Places are strictly limited.
Katnook Coonawarra is delighted to announce the appointment of new Senior Winemaker, Tim Heath, who will start in the role on July 2nd 2018.
Tim has been the Senior Winemaker at one of the world’s most successful wineries, Cloudy Bay Vineyards, New Zealand, where he pursued his craft for the last fourteen years. During this time, Tim was responsible for all facets of crafting Cloudy Bay’s internationally renowned wine styles, as well as overseeing winery infrastructure and expansion. Tim has extensive experience promoting wine and liaising with key opinion leaders in national and international markets.
Prior to Tim’s move to Cloudy Bay, he was Winemaker at Mountadam in the Barossa Valley, during which time he assisted with vintage at Cave de Tain-l'Hermitage, Northern Rhone, France. Tim has visited most major French, Spanish and German wine regions, rounding out his international approach to winemaking.
Born and raised in Australia, Tim began studying a Bachelor of Science at the University of Adelaide, before transferring to a Bachelor of Oenology when he realised that winemaking “looked like too much fun to be considered a ‘real’ job”. He graduated from Oenology with First Class Honours, completing a thesis entitled ‘The development of non-destructive photo-chemical assay to measure the ingress of oxygen into bottled wine through various closures.’
Speaking of his new role, Tim said “I’m excited to be joining the team at Katnook, an Estate which has some of the finest terroir in the Coonawarra region, as well as incredible pedigree and history.”
Katnook’s Executive Director of Operations and Finance, Chris Pike, said of the appointment, “We are thrilled that someone of Tim’s winemaking calibre has accepted this role. Tim brings a wealth of international expertise and creative flair that is certain to build on the great legacy left by Wayne Stehbens and to take Katnook Coonawarra into an exciting future.”
The 2018 vintage at Katnook Coonawarra began today with harvest of Pinot Noir and Pinot Meuniere for sparkling wine base. General Manager of Viticulture Chris Brodie explains the story so far, “The spring leading up to the 2018 vintage at Katnook Coonawarra was wet, providing good soil moisture which gave the vines an excellent start, with very little early season irrigation required. Temperatures were relatively warm which also encouraged good vine growth, especially in newly planted areas. Bud burst was later than usual.
A significant late frost in early November caused crop losses throughout Coonawarra, Wrattonbully and Padthaway. Katnook’s crop will subsequently be down by around 20%, with Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon at Founder’s Block level most affected. In mid November we experienced heavy rainfall of around 75mm in one day but we then enjoyed warm, clear conditions. In mid January, most of southern Australia, including Coonawarra had several days of heatwave conditions, which brought forward the first day of vintage to February 6th.
At this early stage, the vines are in good condition and the crop load is moderate, so we are upbeat about the quality of the resulting wines.”
It is with great sadness that Wingara Wine Group announces the sudden passing of our Katnook senior winemaker Wayne Stehbens on Sunday 05 November. He was 63 years old.
Wayne has been an institution on the Coonawarra winemaking scene for more than 38 years and his passion, skill and dedication to Katnook and the Coonawarra region in general were extraordinary.
Wayne Stehbens made Katnook's first vintage and headed the winemaking team until his sudden death, making him one of Australia’s longest serving winemakers.
In 1979 Wayne produced his first vintage and in 1980, he crafted Katnook’s first commercial quantities of wine. Wayne was then fresh from winemaking studies at Charles Sturt University when he was appointed winemaker at Katnook. He was already familiar with the property having worked alongside his father, Katnook General Manager Ray Stehbens, during his school holidays.
Foreshadowing the success that was to come, these first wines won 49 awards in their first year. In 1988 Wayne travelled to Graves, near Bordeaux in France, where Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc are the leading varieties. Here, he completed vintage and gained insights into these wine styles. Wayne was one of the first Australian winemakers to make Sauvignon Blanc in commercial quantities.
Over the course of his career Wayne received numerous awards and accolades. He won two Jimmy Watson Trophies (1987 and 1998) and a double trophy at the prestigious International Wine & Spirit Competition in 2003 for the flagship Odyssey Cabernet Sauvignon 1998. Further trophies included the 2000 vintage of Odyssey in the International Wine & Spirit Competition 2005 & Decanter Wine Awards 2005 and most recently a trophy for the 2008 Odyssey in the 2013 International Wine & Spirits Competition. In the Langton’s Classification V, Odyssey receives a rating of ‘Outstanding’, Prodigy a classification of ‘Excellent’ and the Katnook Estate Cabernet Sauvignon a rating of ‘Distinguished’.
Wayne was a talented winemaker with a sophisticated understanding of the unique terroir of Coonawarra. He was passionate about the wines in his charge and about Coonawarra as an significant wine producing region, having served for two years as President of the Coonawarra Vigneron’s Association.
Wayne governed Katnook’s winemaking during the most dynamic growth period of the Australian wine industry. Wayne cited the loves of his life as his family, wine, fast cars (he owned two Bolwells which he built from scratch), water skiing and tennis.
In 2013 Wayne celebrated 35 years of winemaking at Katnook and reflected on his career - read the interview here for an insight into Wayne and his winemaking at the time.
No words can truly describe the extraordinary impact Wayne had at Katnook Estate, Coonawarra - he will be sadly missed by so many.
Greg Clayfield has temporarily assumed the role of Senior Winemaker until a permanent replacement is appointed. He has decades of winemaking experience in Coonawarra, including Zema Estate, Rouge Homme and Wynns. Greg was awarded the 1988 International Winemaker of the Year and was a great friend of Wayne’s.
As the weather warms up, winter longing for outdoor dining with family and friends start to become reality. Then comes the ' age old' question, which wine shall I serve with this dish? Katnook friend and noted wine writer, Tony Love, challenges us that perhaps we should think of it the other way around - which dish will I serve with this wine?
As Tony explains, " When it’s dinner party time the plan goes like this: we’re having a leg of lamb, what shall we drink? Usually that means searching the wine rack or a trip to the bottleshop for a classic cabernet or smart shiraz.
Now let’s look at this from a wine lover’s perspective. How about: “I have a great bottle of Coonawarra cabernet-shiraz that we should drink tonight — what should we serve with it?”
That’s my kind of pre-dinner conversation.
The colder months scream for big, bold wines but medium-bodied reds, which tend to have a lower alcohol level and brighter fruitier flavours and aromas, suit the more exotic cuisines that make up a modern Australian table.
When cabernet sauvignon and its various blends is the wine of the night, turn to the red meat section and go no further.
The traditional partner to lamb, cabernet often shows a regional mint character which suits that old school mint sauce addition for a roast leg — and the wine will also rock stronger saltbush and mutton stews.
And, of course, cabernet and beef go hand-in-hand, again in its simpler most familiar roast fillet or rib all the way to slow braises of shoulder and brisket.
If you’ve found a cabernet that has a slight vegetal aromatic, add snow peas or beans to your three vegetables on the side. Or try to include a bunch of baby beetroots which offer a tasty reflection of the purple fruit and earthier impressions of the wine.
In this, part one of our Wine First-Food Next series, we’re going to select our sippings before our supper as a way of turning food and wine matching on its head.
Read Tony's full article here and happy matching!
Katnook Estate has struck gold at the Japan's largest and most prestigious show, the Japan Wine Challenge 2017.
The winning wine was the Katnook Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, closely followed by Katnook Estate Shiraz 2012 and Katnook Estate Chardonnay 2015 - which each won a silver medal.
The 20th Japan Wine Challenge 2017 was held in the Conrad Tokyo Hotel from 15th to 17th August 2017. In conjunction with 11th International Sake Challenge and 1st Fuji Cider Challenge, a total of almost 2,000 wines, sakes, and ciders from across the world were entered, representing an increase of 30% on last year. These were judged by a panel of over 30 top wine professionals from Japan and internationally. These included John Salvi MW, Jim Harre, Katsuyuki Tanaka, Anthony Rose, Australia's Andrew Caillard MW, Neal Martin, Rowald Hepp, Chris Martin, Marcelo Pino, and Eduardo Dingler, as well as their counterparts from across the spectrum of Japan’s wine trade and media. The result was a judging panel and professionalism acknowledged as bring second to none.
Our Trophy Awards Ceremony will be held on 16 February 2018, followed by a celebration dinner/charity auction at the Conrad Tokyo Hotel, in the presence of HIH Princess Takamado.
Over the 20 years since its inception, the Japan Wine Challenge has established itself as Japan's largest and Asia's most prestigious and professional international wine trade competition.
Released today, the 'Halliday Wine Companion 2018' is the bestselling and definitive guide to Australian Wines. Katnook was again awarded 5 stars, which denotes an "outstanding winery capable of producing wines of very high quality".
Katnook Coonawarra's star performers this year were its limited release range. The 'yet to be released' 2013 Odyssey Cabernet Sauvignon scored 96 points while Cellar Door releases of Amara Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 and Caledonian 2015 both scored a stunning 95 points.
All wine reviews can be accessed here.
Three Katnook Founder’s Block varietal reds from the 2015 vintage will be released this month. Harvested exclusively from Katnook’s proprietary vineyards, the Katnook Founder’s Block range captures the essence of Coonawarra and offers contemporary wines for everyday enjoyment.
The range is named after the original land holding of John Riddoch, the founder of Coonawarra wine region. In 1890, Riddoch set up headquarters of the newly formed Coonawarra Fruit Colony at his property ‘Katnook’. Here he made the region’s first commercial wine in his woolshed - now Katnook’s barrel room.
In 1980, winemaker Wayne Stehbens rekindled the property’s winemaking history, making the first Katnook Estate wines. In 2005, responding to evolving demands of wine drinkers, Stehbens created the singular fruit focussed Katnook Founder’s Block range, priced to entice a new audience.
Retailing at $20 a bottle, please find enclosed a sample of the latest release Katnook Founder’s Block 2015 Merlot, 2015 Shiraz and 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon. Each wine is available at Dan Murphy’s and at selected independent retailers Australia wide.
The 2015 Vintage in Coonawarra began with a warm spring, advancing flowering by about two weeks. This promoted fast and even berry set, similar to other outstanding vintages such as 2004 and 2010. Dry conditions continued through to mid-January, when a welcome 90mm of rain fell. Summer days were warm and nights were cool, providing a long and cool ripening of the reds, which were harvested from late March until early April. All show bright fruit, good varietal definition, intense colour and strong tannins. Notes for each wine are below.
KATNOOK FOUNDER’S BLOCK MERLOT 2015. RRP $20
Harvest: Early to mid-April 2015
pH: 3.48 Acidity: 5.5g/L Alc/vol:13.5%
Oak Maturation: Approximately 20 percent of this wine was matured for an average of two months in a combination of older French and American oak barrels.
KATNOOK FOUNDER’S BLOCK SHIRAZ 2015. RRP $20. Silver Medal, 2016 Decanter Asia Wine Awards, Hong Kong.
Harvest: 15 March - 02 April 2015
pH: 3.53 Acidity: 6.2g/L Alc/vol:13.5%
Oak Maturation: This wine was matured in a combination of older French and American oak barriques for three months.
KATNOOK FOUNDER’S BLOCK CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2015. RRP $20. Silver Medal, 2017 International Wine Challenge, UK.
Harvest: 08 - 17 April 2015
pH: 3.42 Acidity: 5.98g/L Alc/vol: 13.5%
Oak Maturation: Approximately 20 percent of this wine was matured for four months in a combination of older French and American oak barrels.
Katnook Founder's Block Wines are distributed by:
Fesq and Company (NSW, VIC, QLD). Tel. 1300 763 377
Off the Vine Distributors (WA). Tel. 08 9418 8210
Muster Wines (SA). Tel. 0430 360 650.
Vintage 2017 is complete - and initial impressions are that we are in for some fabulous wines from this relatively late season.
Viticulturist Chris Brodie explains “ A cool growing season and above average rain leading into 2017 harvest saw a later start to vintage, typical of ten years ago. These cooler conditions resulted in budburst being delayed by up to three weeks, with flowering two weeks later. A warm summer followed, with a welcome spell of hot days in late January.
Harvest started towards early March and continue to completion on 2nd May. Coonawarra has not had a vintage starting this late since the outstanding 2004 vintage.
The 2017 vintage saw white grapes with good varietal definition and the reds, even at lower sugar levels than recent vintages had excellent colour and concentrated fruit flavours. Heavy rain towards the end of April combined with above average yields, meant that not all fruit in Coonawarra was harvested. There are many parcels of high quality grapes for Katnook wines, with Shiraz a standout variety for 2017."
Winemaker Wayne Stehbens says " Overall 2017 was slightly warmer than average, as were yields. Despite some heavy mid-vintage rain, my expectations are for a very good vintage.
Harvest began with Pinot Meuniere, Pinot Noir (for sparkling base) and Sauvignon Blanc. The fruit was in excellent condition, with high natural acidity and great flavours at low sugar levels.
Riesling and Chardonnay followed in mid-March. Overall, the whites are showing forward fruit and good acid balance.
Red grapes came in later than usual, starting in late March and finishing 02 May. We chose to leave some fruit on the vines due to the heavy rains in late April, meaning we did not compromise on quality.
Cabernet at this early stage is deep in colour with elegant fruit flavours and medium body. Shiraz is exceptional, intense, spicy flavours and good palate structure."
Katnook Coonawarra is one the few wineries with three or more listings in the Langton’s Classification of Australian wine. This month, Katnook releases its flagship wines, Odyssey Cabernet Sauvignon and Prodigy Shiraz from the outstanding 2012 vintage as well as Katnook Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2013. Under the Langton’s Classification IV, Odyssey is rated ‘Outstanding’ while Prodigy and Katnook Estate Cabernet sit in the ‘ Excellent’ category.
Katnook Winemaker Wayne Stehbens says the 2012 Coonawarra vintage, “is now considered to be one of the finest for Coonawarra. It was a very early, warm, dry, low yielding vintage which led to intense fruit aromas, great depth of flavours and fine tannins for both Odyssey Cabernet and Prodigy Shiraz.”
Katnook Prodigy Shiraz 2012. RRP $100.
Prodigy is one of 65 wines listed in the ‘Excellent’ category of the Langton’s VI, Classification of Australian Wine.
The first Prodigy vintage was in 1997 from young vines and won the Jimmy Watson trophy, Melbourne Wine Show 1998. The 2012 is the 13th release.
Prodigy is crafted from small parcels of grapes harvested from sites that have consistently produced fruit of outstanding depth of fruit flavour, excellent colour and firm tannin structure.
James Halliday rated this wine 96 points saying, " Prodigy marches to the tune of its own drum, and practice has long since made perfect. Despite all the winemaking and time spent in oak, it has retained balance, emerging at the end of the process as elegant, the tannins supple, the wine fresh.” (Australian Wine Companion 2017).
Grape Variety 100% Shiraz
Region 100% Coonawarra
Harvested 20th – 22nd March 2012
Analyses pH 3.39, Acidity 6.1g/L, Alc/vol. 14.5%
Cellaring Potential 10 to 15 years
Oak maturation 25 months in 225L barriques in new and 2 year old French, as well as new American oak.
Andrew Caillard MW reviewed the Prodigy Shiraz style at www.langtons.com.au as follows:
Katnook Estate Prodigy Shiraz, first made in 1997 by senior winemaker Wayne Stehbens, comprises select parcels of the best fruit from the estate’s 26 hectares of mature Shiraz vineyards. The vines, established in the mid-1990s and planted at 1.5 metre intervals in rows two metres apart, are anchored in classic terra rossa soils over limestone and transitional dark clays. Low crop yields are achieved by precise canopy management, hand-pruning, bunch-thinning and shoot-removal. Organic principles are increasingly followed. The wine is small-batch vinified in open fermenters, basket-pressed and then matured in new (up to 100%) French and American oak barriques for 24 - 28 months. Katnook Estate Prodigy Shiraz typically shows intense raspberry and plum aromas, generous, pure-fruit flavours and underlying liquorice spice with finely-grained tannins and plenty of flavour length.
Katnook Odyssey Cabernet Sauvignon 2012. RRP $100.
Odyssey is one of 52 wines listed in the ‘Outstanding’ category of the Langton’s VI, Classification of Australian Wine.
First vintage was in 1991. Accolades include the Frescobaldi Trophy and Best Australian Red at the 2003 International Wine and Spirit Competition for the 1998 vintage.
Rated 95 points by James Halliday, who described it as “Hyper-intense, full-bodied cabernet varietal fruit is beyond the normal Odyssey style, but none the worse (indeed better) for that; blackcurrant and bay leaf, plus notes of tar, race along the palate, barely checking their momentum on the finish and aftertaste. Drink by 2037.” (Australian Wine Companion 2017).
Grape Variety 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Region 100% Coonawarra
Harvested 8th – 13th April 2012
Analyses pH 3.4, Acidity 6.99g/L, Alc/vol. 14.5%
Cellaring Potential 15 to 18 years
Oak maturation 13 months in 50% French (10% new) and 50% older American oak barriques
Andrew Caillard MW reviewed the Odyssey style at www.langtons.com.au as follows:
The concentrated and powerful Odyssey is selected from the most outstanding parcels of intense Cabernet fruit from specific vineyard rows planted on rich, clay, terra rossa loams over a thick, hard layer of limestone. After vinification in small-batch fermenters, maturation takes place over 30 to 40 months in a combination of new French and American barriques. Some parcels are ‘double-oaked’ to increase flavour complexity. The maturation regime is intuitive to the character of the vintage. Stehbens describes the overall style as ‘a wine with ripe, rich fruit combined with complex oak and barrel-matured flavours’. This highly-prized Coonawarra wine is a benchmark style with beautifully intense, pure, blackcurrant aromas, mocha oak complexity, superb volume and dense, chocolaty tannins. The Odyssey verges on the ‘essence-of-Coonawarra’ style yet manages to achieve remarkable balance and minerality.”
Katnook Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2013. RRP $40.
Stehbens describes the 2013 vintage as “One of the earliest starts and finishes on record - slightly warmer than normal, very dry but without the extreme heat experienced in many other parts of Australia. From a grape ripening view point that was ideal. Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon were the stars.”
Katnook Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is one of 65 wines listed in the ‘Excellent’ category of the Langton’s VI, Classification of Australian Wine.
Winner of 4 silver medals at leading international wine competitions.
Sarah Ahmed, Decanter Magazine (UK), September 2016 gave this wine 93 points, describing it as ‘Heady with a rich burnish of charry, spicy oak to its cassis and juicier mulberry and blackberry. Long, with ripe but textural gravelly tannins. Drink: 2016-2028.’
Andrew Caillard MW reviewed this wine style at www.langtons.com.au as follows:
‘The wine is matured in new (30-40%) and seasoned French oak for 22 to 24 months. Varietal definition and regional expression are captured through meticulous selection of vineyard components, instinctive use of oak maturation and skilful blending. The wine typically shows intense blackcurrant and mulberry aromas, generous pure-fruit flavours, finely-grained tannins, underlying mocha notes, plenty of flavour length and great aging potential.’
Availability. Selected Dan Murphy’s and Vintage Cellars Australia wide stock Odyssey, Prodigy and Katnook Estate Cabernet Sauvignon.
Distribution. Australian distributors for Katnook wines are:
NSW, VIC, QLD Fesq and Co. Tel. 1300 763 377.
SA Muster Wine Co. Tel. 0430 360 650.
WA Off the Vine. Tel. 08 9418 8210.
Vintage 2017 is off to a late start for Katnook Coonawarra. Here is the latest from our team on the ground.
Viticulturist, Chris Brodie. The season to date has been cooler and wetter than last year, reminiscent of vintages 10-15 years ago. Compared to last vintage we are also much later, therefore the acid balance should be excellent in the final wines. There have been no significant impediments such as prolonged heatwaves, rain, frost etc. So, looking forward to some terrific fruit quality.
Winemaker, Wayne Stehbens. Compared to recent vintage starts, Katnook is around 2 weeks later than usual. We commenced harvest on the 2nd March 2017 by picking Pinot Meuniere, Pinot Noir (both for sparkling base) and Sauvignon Blanc. The fruit was in excellent condition, with high natural acidity and great flavours at low sugar levels. This week we will finish Sauvignon Blanc and make a start on the Riesling, followed by Chardonnay in mid-March.
I expect the harvest for red grapes will start late March.
The long-term weather forecasts are for drier than average temperatures being only slightly above average. Unless this forecast changes dramatically, my expectations are for a very good to excellent vintage.