The story of Peter Lehmann wines has been well told, almost legendary; how Peter Lehmann back in 1979, then winemaker at Saltrams, stepped in to turn grapes that the owners of Saltrams didn’t want to  purchase from their growers into wine and then sell on, ensuring some kind of income for the growers and saving their livelihoods.  From that, Lehmann wines was formed in 1982 and although ownership changes have occurred it has now settled within the Casella group (famous for the Yellowtail brand) and it is operated as an entirely stand-alone operation and still purchasing fruit from over 140 growers in the Barossa- many of those are original growers … memories are long in the Barossa.

We welcomed Malcom Stopp (Stopper) back to Vino Fino on his whistle-stop visit to New Zealand. Of course, tonight was always going to be about Barossa Shiraz, but we also took the opportunity to taste a couple of no less heroic wines in the Riesling and Semillon as well as two Cabernets. An excellent line-up with no disappointments. The general consensus was that this was one of the best line-ups of Aussie wines we have seen for a while – and we’ve had some good ones! Stopper is a great ambassador for the Peter Lehmann brand with a 30 year history with the winery.

Peter Lehmann Wigan Eden Valley Masters Riesling 2011 $39.99

The Masters wines are the top tier of Peter Lehmann wines. This is named in honour of winemaker Andrew Wigan, who is recognized as one of the great Riesling producers. This label is also recognized as one of the great Rieslings of the World and although we tend to get a bit parochial about our local Rieslings this is an exemplar of Dry Riesling. Pure with light citrus flavours that seem to last and last.

Peter Lehmann Margaret Barossa Masters Semillon 2010 $39.99

This is named for Peter’s wife, Margaret who still lives in the house next to the winery and whose favourite tipple is Semillon. Made as an un-oaked style with grape vines ranging from 50 – 95 years old. Even at 7 years old this is still quite youthful with another 10+ years ahead of it. Lemony citrus with just hints of waxy, honey characters.

Peter Lehmann VSV Ruediger Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 $39.99

VSV – Very Special Vineyards, produced to recognize special vineyards and sites and only produced in special years. From two low yielding vineyards tended by Dudley and Trevor Ruediger in the northern part of the valley. As you would expect this is a ripe tasting Cabernet with dark fruits and bitter chocolate.

Peter Lehmann Mentor Masters Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 $52.99

Around 70% Cabernet with the balance Merlot. This is Lehmann’s Best Cabernet and shows that the Barossa can indeed produce excellent Bordeaux style reds. A dark almost inky colour with flavours of black fruits (rather than cassis) a hint of the elusive violet florals and quite a savoury finish. This is a wine that rolls around the mouth and a perfect with a steak (or aubergine!)

Peter Lehmann The Barossan Shiraz 2015 $19.99

A new label for Lehmann wines, obviously named for the region, showcasing the diversity of sites in one wine. We think this wine hits the ‘spot’, with its combination of sweet mocha fruit, fine grained tannins and medium body filling the palate. An extremely satisfying glass that leaves you wanting more. We expect this to become a Vino Fino customer’s favourite.

Peter Lehmann Futures Shiraz 2013 $27.99

“The very first wine made by Peter Lehmann was called the Futures – sold to friends and family on a “pay now and pick up after two years in the cellar” arrangement. Futures played two important roles in the Peter Lehmann story: it cemented a reputation for classic Shiraz, and provided much needed cash flow from supporters of the fledgling business. As such, it secured the Future of Peter Lehmann Wines.” This is basically the ‘cut’ of wine that doesn’t make the Stonewell Shiraz.

Peter Lehmann VSV 1885 Shiraz 2015 $39.99

‘Ralph and Angela Schrapel manage a small patch of dry grown Shiraz planted by Ralph’s great-great-great grandfather in 1885 in the Ebenezer district. Ralph’s father Lloyd and Peter Lehmann have been close friends for more than 50 years, and the Schrapel family has been a key fruit supplier since the winery’s first vintage.’ The old vines give fruit with great concentration, yet quite a softness. The oak is soaked into the wine and is barely visible in the taste. Along with the Stonewell and Futures, the favoured wine of the night.

Peter Lehmann VSV Lehmann Shiraz 2013 $39.99

‘2013 was Peter Lehmann’s last vintage and it is indeed serendipitous that this 2013 VSV was crafted entirely from Shiraz grown on Peter and Margaret Lehmann’s Stonewell Hill vineyard.” Quite a structured wine and even with a couple more years on the 1885, has more grip which suggests a number of more years of life ahead.

Peter Lehmann VSV Carey Shiraz 2014 $39.99

‘Rod & Jenny Carey’s Lyndoch vineyard was established in 1997. The site is red brown earth over weathered rock, nestled in a sheltered gully in the region’s western ranges. The wines from this site yield the benefits of this unique position protected from the afternoon sun and cooled by prevailing gully breezes.’ The ‘biggest’ of all the VSV Shiraz with flavours including dark chocolate.

Peter Lehmann Stonewell Shiraz 2012 $99.99

“In the beginning we made just one Shiraz, the grape variety that has defined the Barossa as one of the world’s great wine regions. But we knew Shiraz that came from some vineyards was better than others – smaller, deeper in colour and more intensely flavoured – ‘Little Black Jewels’ we called them. For over 20 years, Stonewell has been lauded as one of Australia’s greatest wines and one of the world’s greatest Shiraz.”

Stonewell Shiraz – first made in 1987 – has one guiding principle: to be Peter Lehmann’s best shiraz of vintage. The name Stonewell was chosen in recognition of the high quality shiraz grapes being grown around Stonewell Road in the Marananga district of the Barossa.
While the winery owns a vineyard called Stonewell in this district, the grapes for Stonewell Shiraz are not limited to this one vineyard and come from individual growers in a number of Barossa sub-districts, particularly those to the west and the north where hard dry soils give rise to low-yielding shiraz of great quality. Big, yet elegant with a price that makes it a relative bargain for what it is.