For the first time ever, my family decided to have Christmas away from home and Kangaroo Island was picked as the venue for a one week Christmas vacation. Unbeknown to me when we made the booking, that Kangaroo Island is in fact a wine region in its own right and boasts around 15 or so wineries with approximately half that number having cellar doors/tasting rooms. Kangaroo Island is a cool climate region that is unique because it never, or extremely rarely, experiences below zero temperatures.
The Island is much larger than I had imagined and has over 500Km of coastline and driving from one end to the other takes around 2 hours or more. Driving from one winery to another can easily take an hour depending on which two wineries you are travelling between. Red varieties seem to be the most favoured on the Island but I did have some pretty decent Sauvignon Blancs and Islander Estate have some great white wines in their line-up as well, including a Semillon Viognier.
This particular Shiraz from French winemaker, Jacques Lurton, is actually made up just over half Clare Valley fruit at 52% with the remaining 48% coming from his Kangaroo Island vineyards that are located in a central northern part of the island that I am told is referred to as 'the heartland'.
The 2009 Shiraz has a nice cherry red colour with an attractive aroma of berry fruit and oak which carry over in the flavours which show great balance between fruit and oak elements and there is even a hint of spice. This is a very well made wine that is thoroughly enjoyable and I can see why Halliday has placed it in his Top 100 wines this year and why it has sold out. Islander Estate are the clear benchmark for quality wines on the Island and I look forward to seeing more from their wine maker, Jacques Lurton, who has clearly invested heavily in this great facility.
Islander Estate Vineyards 2009 Shiraz
Price - It was around $18 but has sold out. If you find it, buy it!
Region - Kangaroo Island, South Australia
Final Sip - A great wine at a fantastic price that shows Kangaroo Island wines are worth taking as seriously as anything on the mainland. While you may find it tricky to get your hands on this Shiraz, the 06 Malbec would be my next pick in their lineup and you can still get some from Islander Estate On-line.
(One of the more unique things I've ever seen at a winery are these open top cement wine fermenters at Islander Estate Vineyards. They were actually sourced from a french tomb maker and what you see in the picture is a modified version of an 8 person tomb!)