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.
We're pleased to welcome assistant Katnook Winemaker, Dan McNicol to the team. We recently sat down and chatted to Dan to find out a little bit more about his background and winemaking philosophy.
Tell us about your winemaking background.
I graduated from the University of Adelaide class of 2018. Before and during my studies, I worked in the vineyard and winery at Wirra Wirra in McLaren Vale for around 7 years.
Initially, I was more interested in viticulture but decided to go into winemaking, so I have a deep appreciation for the vineyard/winery connection and letting the fruit speak for itself. I see the role of a winemaker as nurturing the wine along its way to bottle.
Watching the process of fruit progressing on the vine and the satisfaction of seeing it go through the winery is extremely rewarding. It’s great to have something to show for all the hard work.
How are you finding Coonawarra so far?
I hadn’t ever visited the Coonawarra wineries before arriving here in November 2018 to start my role as assistant winemaker. It was so dry when I arrived so I was pleased to see the recent rain. The wines here have so much potential and I love that this area feels like true countryside - relaxed and easy going.
The scenery is very different to what I’m used to from McLaren Vale, a lot flatter and vineyard architecture is different. There’s a lot of redevelopment, which is positive for the region, as growers work hard to improve regional grape quality.
Arriving in Coonawarra, I’m happy to be amongst a nice bunch of people, close to the beach and to nice fishing spots such as, Noracriena Beach - a sheltered bay near Robe. It’s wonderful to be close to beautiful scenery and have to say, am loving the crayfish!
And of course it'e been awesome working with Tim Heath, who with all his winemaking experience has made my first vintage here really interesting and exciting.
Vintage 2019 is over for another year. Here our vineyard and winery teams report on the season.
Chris Brodie - Senior Viticulturist, Katnook Coonawarra. South Australia.
This year was later than recent vintages and was more like the seasons we experienced in the 2000’s. Rainfall up to mid-December meant very little irrigation was needed on established vines.
The heatwave in late January was well forecast, so thankfully we were able to manage harvest accordingly.
Largely due to a light frost in November and unseasonal weather during flowering, crop loads were below average and 20% lower than 2018. We enjoyed a very good quality growing season, with our vines replanted in 2015 and 2016 doing well.
The whites showed good natural acidity and complex flavours at harvest. The reds had good, deep colours and great varietal characters.
Overall, 2019 has been a pleasing season and working with the new winery team went very smoothly indeed.
Tim Heath - Winemaker, Katnook Coonawarra. South Australia.
My first full vintage at Katnook was an exciting one, working closely with the vineyard team to maximise fruit potential across all varieties. Our wines certainly benefit from state of the art equipment, such as the stainless steel basket press. Some winemaking initiatives this vintage included:
Wild yeast fermentation on some White and Red batches;
Gravity feeding red fruit directly to fermenters to assist in production of lifted aromatics through some Carbonic Maceration and finer management of tannin profile through less front-end maceration;
Extended post ferment maceration on some Shiraz and Cabernet parcels;
Inclusion of whole bunch in some Shiraz ferments;
Use of high-quality French oak across all red varieties and chardonnay –to produce wines with greater oak balance, integration and complexity.
At this early stage, here is how each wine is shaping up so far.
Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir – elegant base wines thanks to focussing on front end handling to decrease phenolic pick up, including modification of press programs to Cremant cycles (Champagne press cycles).
Sauvignon Blanc – good acid balance. Should produce elegant wines with solid varietal character
Chardonnay – picked earlier than previous years to capture a fresher more citrus driven flavour profile. Looking strong.
Shiraz – fresh, elegant wines that showcase a “cooler climate” aroma and flavour profile.
Cabernet Sauvignon - lifted, fragrant cabernets produced from what should turn out to be a strong vintage.
Overall, I am anticipating some very strong 2019 wines in the bottle.
This year, Katnook Estate celebrated the 20th vintage release of its flagship wine with the 2013 Katnook Odyssey Cabernet Sauvignon, available now.
This highly awarded and unique limited release Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon is handcrafted only in outstanding vintages from specific rows within Katnook’s distinguished vineyards planted on classic terra rossa soil. Crafted with meticulous attention to detail, Katnook Odyssey represents a seamless blend of intense fruit and extended oak maturation.
The 1991 Odyssey was the inaugural vintage, released in 1996 to commemorate the centenary of the first vintage made at Katnook’s woolshed in 1896. The name Odyssey reflected the ongoing journey of Katnook with its roots in the past and sights on the future. The aim was to make a timeless Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon, one that would stand alongside the world’s best.
True to its name, Odyssey has journeyed from a vision to an internationally acclaimed wine with a string of international awards to its name.
Classified in the “Outstanding” category in the prestigious Langton’s Classification of Australian Wines since 2005 and awarded 96 Halliday points, the 20th vintage release is a classic Odyssey: a powerful and complex Cabernet Sauvignon that demands time to truly express itself and will cellar gracefully for over 20 years.
Celebrations were held around Australia, the UK and Asia with dinners showcasing back vintages alongside the new release 2013. It's been a veritable Odyssey!
The Langton’s VII Classification was released on September 1st 2018 and Katnook Coonawarra is delighted that again, the following wines are included in just 136 of Australia's finest. The wines are:
Katnook Odyssey - Outstanding Category and
Katnook Estate Cabernet Sauvignon - Excellent Category.
The inaugural Classification, in 1990, included just 34 wines. Classifications II, III and IV followed at approximately five-year intervals, tracking the leading wines, and documenting the dramatic growth and increasing maturity of the Australian fine wine scene.
Almost three decades on from its inception, the Classification's authority is firmly entrenched aorund the world.
The seventh edition – unveiled on 1 September 2018 – features 136 wines and incorporates a number of important changes and additions. In its early years the Classification successfully strengthened the fledgling market for fine Australian wine. It is now arguably the most famous and widely-respected wine Classification outside Europe.
The two basic requirements for inclusion in the Classification are that a wine has been made for a minimum of 10 vintages and that it has a track record in the secondary market.
Eligibility rests on how well a wine performs in an open market – the volume of demand it attracts and the prices it realises. Ultimately, the reputation of a wine is based on its auction pedigree – the record it builds up, over time.
Revised every five years, the Classification documents an evolving Australian winemaking culture at the forefront of innovation and excellence in the world of fine wine. It also reflects a continuing momentum towards single vineyard wines and regional identity. It maintains a strong emphasis on red wines, particularly labels renowned for cellaring potential.
The Classification is market-driven, and the market shifts and changes over time. While a number of wines have moved within categories, all wines from Classification V have been retained in Classification VI, underlining the maturity and stability of the market.
The Classification is aimed at anyone with an interest in fine wine. Many will be connoisseurs and collectors, and the Classification inevitably includes wines that are popular with investors. While some classified wines have increased in value over time, Langton’s advice is to beware of investing in wine for financial profit without a full understanding of the pitfalls.
As a reflection of market sentiment captured on a regular, moving basis, the Classification does not and cannot aim to be absolute or definitive; the market is always in flux.
The authority of the Classification derives from its independence; the fundamental criteria for inclusion are objective and market-driven.
James Halliday yesterday released his 2019 'WineCompanion' and we are thrilled to announce that Katnook Coonawarra has retained its 5 red star status.
Check out Halliday's 'Wine Companion' reviews for Katnook here.
Vintage is over for another year at Katnook Coonawarra and early reports are that 2018 is shaping up to be a fantastic year. Harvest began early on February 6th and finished late on April 12th. It was drier and warmer than average, with crops down by about a third, due to a spring frost. As the Coonawarra Vignerons report, 2018 is shaping up to be an 'amazing' season throughout the region.
Katnook Coonawarra General Manager of Viticulture, Chris Brodie reported this early start to vintage was despite late budburst. He says, “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.
A significant late frost in early November caused crop losses throughout Coonawarra, Wrattonbully and Padthaway. Katnook’s crop was subsequently down by around 30%, 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 thereafter enjoyed warm, clear conditions for the rest of vintage.
In mid-January, most of southern Australia, including Coonawarra had several days of heatwave conditions, which brought forward the first day of vintage by about 3 weeks to February 6th with Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir for sparkling wine. Harvest continued at an even pace and finished with the last of the Cabernet Sauvignon on April 12th.
In summary, the 2018 season was significantly warmer and drier than usual as seen in the chart below. Grape flavours across all varieties are better than they have ever been, we have some excited winemakers in the region!"
|2018 season vs average for past 40 years||Sep||Oct||Nov||Dec||Jan||Feb||Mar|
|Rainfall mm ,actual||45||39||59||11||13||6||14|
|Rainfall mm, average||66||48||41||32||26||18||28|
|Temperature degrees C, actual||11.5||14.8||19.4||17.8||21.2||20.9||20.3|
|Temperature degrees C, average||11.7||13.3||15.7||17.5||19.4||19.7||17.6|
Katnook’s Vintage Winemaker, Greg Clayfield with his wealth of winemaking experience has superbly steered our team though Vintage 2018 until Tim Heath started as Senior Winemaker this June.
Greg reported “Ideal, even ripening conditions lead to a very controlled harvest and crush schedule, with all varieties picked at optimum maturity. A key factor was the sustained dry season , with neither rainfall nor temperature extremes having any influence.
Flavours are very promising with Riesling and Shiraz the standouts. A significant amount of work was put into smaller scale Shiraz ferments, incorporating hand-picked whole bunches. The subsequent wines will make a significant contribution when the Shiraz blends are finalised.
Cabernet Sauvignon are rich, elegant and distinctly regional. After the very early start in February the last fruit, Cabernet Sauvignon, was picked quite late on April 12th.
A significant contributor to the smooth running of the winery was the input of Jo Ahearn MW in her role as Vintage Winemaker. Jo is a star multi tasker, bringing experience ranging from winemaking in the Barossa Valley to managing a large winery in New South Wales, working in the London Wine Trade through to now operating her own winery and brand in Croatia.
In short, 2018 was a very good Coonawarra vintage here at Katnook.”
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!