The St Peters Vineyard no longer exists, but the vine material from the 1863 vines – the region’s first – was propagated to plant the Seppelt Great Western Vineyard. This wine has been made since 1964 (though it was called ‘Great Western Hermitage’ back then), with the best blocks in any given year blended for this flagship wine, which is only made in top years.
From an excellent cooler vintage, this is supremely harmonious and detailed, an effortless display awash with character. There’s considerable intensity without obvious weight, a melange of red and black fruits accented with spice, black pepper, sultry florals, cacao nibs and a meaty, smoky and rocky complexity. Finely hewn tannins carry the silky, supple fruit, finishing long and impactful, but the harmony of fruit and structure keep it light on its feet. This is a great release.
Themes of this wine
The wine zone of Western Victoria contains the three major regions of the Grampians, the Pyrenees and Henty, with Great Western a subregion of the Grampians. The Grampians and the Pyrenees share a little in common, with the elevation of their attendant mountain ranges contributing to their subregional character, as well as a specialisation in red wines. Being further inland to the north-east, the Pyrenees is more continental in climate with warm days and cold nights, while the Grampians feel the influence of the Southern Ocean, with sea breezes doing the cooling at night. In the Grampians, the kingship of shiraz (and riesling for white grapes, though whites in general account for only about 15 per cent of the total plantings) goes back some time. In Great Western, Seppelt was founded in 1863, while Best’s followed in 1865, and both have made and cemented significant reputations for producing shiraz.
Shiraz dominates the Australian wine industry, accounting for nearly a third of this country’s vines. The grape’s traditional home is in France’s Northern Rhône, with wines that combine elegance and power, while Australia is perhaps best known for the muscular styles from warmer areas. Today, drinkers of Australian shiraz are spoilt for choice with expressions ranging from the elegant and spicy to the monumental.