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  • Grant Burge Wines Pty Ltd News

    Helene is Sydney’s Sparkling Queen – Leader Mar 2014

    18 March 2014

    On Saturday, March 8, Grant Burge Wines 2004 Helene Grande Cuvee was awarded the Trophy for the Best Australian Sparkling Wine at the 2014 Sydney International Wine Competition.

    It’s a dream, which started back in 2003 to make one of Australia’s most outstanding sparkling wines, which has finally come true for Grant Burge Wines.  The Sydney win follows two top trophies at the 2013 Hobart Wine Show for Best Sparkling Wine and Best Tasmanian Sparkling Wine of the show, and adds to a swag of other medals and 90+ point reviews since the wine’s release last year.

    “Winning at Sydney is a special honor,” Grant Burge said. “Knowing that our wines enhance and complement the consumer’s dining experience is very important to us.  Our goal is to position Helene as the first choice on restaurant sparkling wine lists in Australia.”  The Barossa winemaker has forged a stunning reputation for sparkling wine over the last 25 years, with his Grant Burge Sparkling Pinot Noir Chardonnay NV frequently ranked as one of Australia’s top sellers.

    “Despite the NVs success, over the years I’d always wanted to release a vintage sparkling wine, to showcase the distinctive fruit that we have here in Australia,” Grant said. “In 2003 I started sourcing cool climate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from various locations around Australia, and it became clear that the Tasmanian parcels had the right acid/pH level, alcohol, varietal fruit definition and phenolics for a truly great vintage wine. “In 2004 the decision was made to set aside a small amount for extended bottle maturation — and so the Helene was born.

    “It exceeded my expectations with its incredibly complex biscuity bouquet and elegant palate, finessed by a natural fresh linear acidity. The long finish is everything one looks for in a great vintage wine.” The prestigious Sydney International Wine Competition, now in its 34th year, is the only Australian show to judge wines with food.

    The 2004 Helene Grande Cuvee, Vintage Tasmanian Sparkling is sourced from exceptional fruit, hand picked from the Pipers River region north east of Launceston. The 54% Pinot Noir and 46% Chardonnay blend was aged on lees for eight years in the bottle before disgorgement.  The name Helene is named after the house that Grant’s wife Helen grew up in, on Cotswold Place, Moonah, Hobart. The story goes that Helen’s father wanted to name her after the house but her mother refused, thinking everyone would get the spelling wrong.

    Helen and Grant Burge with their trophy for the Best Australian Sparkling Wine at the 2014 Sydney International Wine Competition.

    Helen and Grant Burge with their trophy for the Best Australian Sparkling Wine at the 2014 Sydney International Wine Competition.

    Media Release – Craig Stansborough Declared Winemaker of the Year – Feb 2014

    18 February 2014

    Heading into his 21st vintage at Grant Burge Wines, Craig Stansborough, Chief Winemaker, was awarded the prestigious Winemaker of the Year at the Barons of the Barossa, Declaration of Vintage celebrations on Sunday 16th February.

    Held on the third Sunday of February every year the Barons of Barossa declare the vintage in a unique and colourful ceremony, paying tribute to past Baron’s who have many stories of achievement and announcing the winners of the Viticulturist and Winemaker of the Year.

    “I feel extremely honoured and humbled by this award. To be placed on an honour roll with so many talented Barossan’s is very humbling”, Craig said.

    “What a deserving winner! Craig’s dedication and passion to producing the finest Barossa wines is truly amazing, so it is fitting that he has been recognised with this award heading into his 21st vintage with the company”, Grant Burge said.

    Craig joined Grant Burge Wines in 1993 as Cellar Manager and was soon promoted to Assistant Winemaker in 1994, Winemaker in 1995 and Senior Winemaker in 1997, with his meteoric rise within the company being due to his enormous talents, leadership, inquisitive mind, and his unrelenting passion for winemaking.

    Acknowledged for his contribution to making some of Australia’s most respected wines, including Meshach, Shadrach and the highly regarded Filsell and The Holy Trinity, Craig is justifiably proud of his close working relationship with Grant, which has crafted a solid reputation for excellence and conveying the true values of the Barossa.

    “Grant and I share common ideas and beliefs,” says Craig. “He is very receptive and open to new ideas and allows experimentation, which I believe is very important for the future development of the company and its portfolio.”

    A passionate ambassador for the Barossa, Craig travels internationally for the company promoting the values and messages which have made the region famous. Being a vineyard owner as well as winemaker, Craig knows the nuances of the region intimately, the seasons, the soil, the varieties and is committed to maintaining the healthy environment to hand to future generations.

    The Wine Fraternity, Barons of Barossa was founded in 1974 by a group of influential Barossa wine industry personalities. George Kolarovich (Barossa Co-operative, Kaiser Stuhl) was elected as the first Grand Master. Other founding Barons were Wyndham Hill-Smith (Yalumba), Colin Gramp (Orlando), Bill Seppelt (Seppelts), Sir Condor Laucke, Bruce Hoffmann, Peter Lehmann and Cyril Henschke.

    The Fraternity is administered by the Grand Council which is elected biennially. Membership of the Fraternity is by invitation and is offered to persons who have made an outstanding contribution to the Barossa. New Barons are inducted into the Fraternity in a colourful ceremony and membership is for life.

    The focus of the Barons of Barossa has remained unchanged since its foundation and it continues to proudly and enthusiastically support Barossa wine, viticulture, gastronomy, heritage and the arts.

    Grant Burge’s 20:20 Tawny Vision, Leader Feb 2014

    Celebrating yet another major trophy win at this year’s Macquarie Group Sydney Royal Wine Show, Grant Burge was very pleased about his 20 year old Tawny’s phenomenal success. “This is our 20th Trophy for the 20 year old in ten years; surely that has to be a record for an Australian fortified wine,” he stated.  “We’ve won trophies at Sydney, Brisbane and the Barossa as well as the International Wine Challenge and the prestigious Decanter World Wine Awards in London four times.”

    “With 32 gold medals and 29 silver medals as well as the trophies around its neck, it has to be the all time consistent top scorer, the Don Bradman of Australian wine,” Grant joked.

    The 20th trophy is the culmination of a vision by the fifth generation Barossa vigneron to re- introduce fortifieds to the Australian public. In the 1980’s and 1990’s when many Barossa wineries stopped making fortifieds and sold off their stock, choosing to chase the table wine boom, Grant bucked the trend and maintained his stocks, continuing and fortified wines using premium Barossa grapes.

    In the early 2000’s he also opened Australia’s only dedicated fortified cellar door, Illaparra in Tanunda. “Wines such as this 20 year old Tawny deserve our respect and attention,” Grant said. “They are truly special relics of our vinous history”  “Blending the 20 year old is a highlight for me and the winemaking team every year. It’s an honour to sort through parcels of our aged tawny (some up to 50 years old) and carefully match them to younger batches. I’m very particular about the blend. It can take up to a week to get it just right.”

    Grant said there is still strong,consumer demand across his entire fortified range; from a growing pool of youthful drinkers who like the sweetness and intensity with foods such as tapas, to long term fortified lovers who make it their drink of choice. “I just love this style – making it and bottling it for our customers is certainly not about financial gains, it’s about family history and passing on little pieces of our heritage, keeping a proud tradition alive,” Grant said.

    Tawny Triumph – Mount Barker Courier Feb 2014

    THE Grant Burge 20 Year Old Tawny has scored yet another trophy win, this time in Sydney. Previously this year it took out trophies in Brisbane and the Barossa. The venerable fortified also has won world acclaim with trophies in recent years at the International Wine Challenge and the Decanter World Wine Awards in London.

    2010 Filsell – Winner, World’s Greatest Shiraz Challenge 2013

    1 October 2013

    Winestate Magazine, 1st October 2013, Nigel Hopkins

    WHEN GRANT BURGE bought the Filsell vineyard in 1989 there were many, including his wife Helen, who thought he was crazy.  “At the time it was the highest price paid per acre for any Barossa vineyard,”  Burge says.  “I paid $10,000 an acre when the going rate was normally $2-3000 an acre.”

    It’s an investment that has paid off handsomely with the internationally acclaimed Filsell Shiraz – and this year’s winner of Winestate’s World’s Greatest Shiraz Challenge, scoring ahead of a host of Australia’s pricier and more high profile wines.  While it’s possible to make poor wine out of good grapes, it’s impossible to make great wine out of poor grapes, and the Filsell Shiraz is testament to that.

    Burge credits 60 per cent of its success to the vineyard after which it’s named, with the winemaker, no matter how skilled, taking the balance.  The 10ha Filsell vineyard, which was sold by tender, was owned by Richard and Valerie Filsell, who were retiring from their business and wanted to sell a portion of their vineyard. They were old family friends of Burge who had made wine from that vineyard, which had been planted in 1920, and he knew how good its fruit was.  As part of his tender, he also pledged that he would name the vineyard after the Filsell family.

    “The Filsell vineyard has a unique place in the history of the Barossa Valley and Grant Burge Wines,” Burge says of the more than 90-year-old vines that makeup one of the largest patches of historical varietal fruit in the Barossa.   “This is a very special piece of Barossa history: an old vineyard, planted in the traditional style, and still bearing exceptional quality fruit.  It’s more about quality than yield.  Last year we picked 1.5 tonnes to the acre, and in most years it’s never more than 2k, tonnes, so it’s relatively very low yielding. We are lucky to have this patch of fruit. Year after year the quality of the fruit from Filsell vineyard is exceptional,” Burge says. “It’s one of the few significant survivors of the vine pull scheme of the early 1980’s and it crams character into each berry.”

    Grant Burge is no stranger to success. A fifth-generation Barossa vigneron and winemaker, he has been one of the most respected and innovative forces in the Australian wine industry.”We’ve now won five major trophies. 22 gold medals and 47 silver medals since Filsell’s release in 1992,” he says.  But he doesn’t take this sort of recognition of his wines for granted.  “After we won the Jimmy Watson Trophy a year ago [sic], one of the judges told me that on the day our wine was seamless.  I was told exactly the same this time (after the World’s Greatest Shiraz Challenge) that it won on the day against some other sensational wines.  It really came out of the blue and when you’re up against 700 or so other wines you don’t expect your chances to be especially good.  But then, 2010 was an exceptional vintage – and it all depends on how your particular wine stacks up on the day.”

    Filsell has often been described as the younger brother to Meshach, which is also sourced from the Filsell vineyard, but there are significant differences between the two wines.  Although some critics have described the Filsell as “made in a way that hasn’t really changed in years…like Grange” and “anything but cool and modern”. Burge is more likely to apply these descriptions to his Meshach, which is chosen for its exceptional concentration, with less emphasis on fruit-driven flavours and built to last 10-16years to be at its peak.  Meshach Shiraz is held by the winery for around five years before release. with the 2008 vintage only now being released. Burge says the more fruit-driven style of the Filsell may be more in tune with the current fashion for cool-climate shiraz, which may have had “a slight influence “in its show success. Even so he describes the 2010 Filsell Shiraz as having incredible depth of colour and a “rare purity of fruit” in the bouquet.  Released after three years in the bottle, making the 2010 Filsell the current release,  Burge still expects it will reward cellaring for up to 15 years. “The 2010 vintage was a great year and it has all of those ripe blackberry and black currant aromas infused with rich vanilla and milk chocolate notes,”  he says.  “The palate is beautifully weighted, with optimal balance between concentrated fruit flavours,  sweet spices, tannins and acidity.” As another wine critic describes it, the Filsell represents the “best of both worlds…substantial, yet the fruit has an elegance…arguably the most poised, controlled wine from the Grant Burge stable for some time.”  At around $40 a bottle, it’s little wonder that Burge adds:  “We regard the Filsell as our best value for money wine.”  Which, no doubt, is why it sells out every year.