Great Australian Blend celebrated in Coonawarra Masterclass

In what is an entire month dedicated to celebrating Coonawarra Cabernet, visitors to the region were treated to a myriad of events this past weekend.

The weekend had barrel loads on offer to ‘celebrate, educate and activate the senses’, from sparkling breakfast in the heart of Balnaves of Coonawarra winery to an afternoon of ‘Burgers and Beats’ at Brand’s Laira Coonawarra, a Paella Fiesta at Majella Wines, and dinners with winemakers.

Presenters Matthew Jukes and Brett Sharpe showcase an incredible line up of Cabernet – Shiraz blends (Photo Ben MacMahon)

Among the events to feature was the iconic Coonawarra Cabernet Masterclass, held in the historic Wynn’s Coonawarra Gables building. Presenting the Masterclass was Matthew Jukes, international sommelier, UK wine writer and co-founder of the Great Australian Red Wine Show, who spoke to a sold out audience.  “Cabernet – Shiraz is the great Australian Blend, because it is unique in the world, no one else does it! It is as good as any Napa Cabernet, super Tuscan and Bordeaux beauty.”  Mr Jukes said.

Wynn’s Coonawarra Estate winemaker Sue Hodder said that the Coonawarra masterclass stands up against some of the top masterclass in Australia and the world.  “It was a great privilege to attract such a distinguished presenter to our region to host this event’ Ms Hodder said.

Mr Jukes applauded the generosity and hospitality of Coonawarra. “The line up of wines we are tasting here is truly superb and plentiful! I’m grateful to be invited to this extraordinary event. It is no secret that I am super passionate about ‘the blend’.”

The Great Australian Blend was the theme of the Masterclass, with attendees reviewing, tasting and examining 10 wines ranging in age and price from $30-$400 per bottle.  Of the 10 wines that featured in the line up, five of the winemakers were present in the masterclass to provide comment on their respective wine.

Winemakers Pete Bissell of Balnaves of Coonawarra and Bruce Redman of Redman Wines provided comment on the 2016 William Wilson Shiraz Cabernet that featured in the tasting “In the making of this wine we really did try to emulate some of the old claret styles of the 50s and 60s” Mr Redman said.  “The cabernet fruit comes from 46-year-old vines on Balnaves’ vineyards, while the Redman’s shiraz is from 85-year-old vines” said Mr Bissell.

Yalumba Winemaker Natalie Cleghorn also highlighted the significance of ‘the blend’ with the 2014 Yalumba The Caley Cabernet Shiraz being tasted. “This wine style is very important to Yalumba. We have a long history of producing great clarets. It is the signature wine within our range.”

Among the guests in the room were national and internationally acclaimed and recognised wine writers and educators, including Canadian- Michelle Bouffard, Winsor Dobbin, Angus Hughson, Katie Spain and James Atkinson, creator of the Drinks Adventures podcast.

Coonawarra Vignerons Events and Marketing Officer, Heidi Eldridge, hailed the event a success with positive feedback received from attendees. “There is a reason that seats to this event are highly sought after year on year. The calibre of the wines being showcased, together with the presence of an international wine celebrity is a big drawcard, and something for our region to get excited about.’ Ms Eldridge said.

The Coonawarra Cabernet Celebrations Masterclass will return in 2020. Details for this event will be released on the Coonawarra website early next year.

For the latest news & events