Seppeltsfield, long renowned for its treasured fortified wines including the Centennial Collection – the world’s only unbroken lineage of single vintage Tawny dating back to 1878 – has unveiled a collection of luxury table wines across two new tiers called Bench Blends and Grounds.
The Bench Blends include 2018 No. EC4 Barossa Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz, and 2019 No. EC3 Barossa Tinta Cao, Tinta Amarela, Touriga. The red blends carry an ‘EC’ (East Cellar) number which were first released by Seppeltsfield’s founding family in the 1960s and formed the inspiration for the range. The wines are $45 a bottle.
The Grounds range includes single vineyard Barossa Shiraz. The 2018 bottlings include The Easting Barossa Shiraz (from estate-owned vineyards in Eden Valley, the Barossa’s high country in the East) and The Westing Barossa Shiraz. Future vintages will cover off North and South. The wines are $70 a bottle.
The range takes inspiration from the Barossa Grounds project, a study of the district’s sub-regionality. Led by the Barossa Grape & Wine Association, the project brings together winemakers, grapegrowers and soil and climatic science experts to evaluate and identify the variations in Shiraz wine expression across the various parishes of the region.
“As Seppeltsfield’s interpretation of Barossa terroir, the Grounds releases look to apply a beguiling simplicity for what in European terms is the often complicated and complex idea of the relationship between geography, geology, climate and history,” chief winemaker Fiona Donald says.
“The unique 1888 Gravity Cellar plays a significant role in the style of many bottlings, and for the still wines, celebrating the reimagining of traditional fortified varietals.
“These elements are grounded in a belief of place over person. With the primary aspiration to translate the character of vineyard sites – and each season – into the wines themselves.”
Seppeltsfield – established in 1851 – only gained full ownership of its trademark in 2017. In February 2018 it launched its contemporary new brand identity, together with the inaugural Village tier of still wines. The inspiration behind the new label was taken from within the estate, with the earliest insignia reinstated – crown and star trademark from 1877, together with cues such as the proprietary blue and label shape found on 19th century craft liquor bottles.
“These two new tiers of luxury red wines signal Seppeltsfield’s commitment towards a future luxury still wine collection, equaling its reputation for fortifieds,” executive chairman Warren Randall says.
Fiona Donald, celebrating her eleventh vintage at Seppeltsfield, says, “It is an exciting time at Seppeltsfield as we progressively expand our still wine collection upward, each tier and wine having a clear purpose and reflective of our philosophy.
“We have the best combination of highly passionate people, superior vineyard holdings, our unique 1888 Gravity Cellar and history unlike no other.
“What’s more, a dynamic tourism precinct in the Barossa for visitors to come and discover our collection of wines and learn about our story.”
The Seppeltsfield luxury collection of wines are available at the Seppeltsfield Cellar Door or via Seppeltsfield.com.au and can be found only in fine wine retailers and on-premise nationally.
The Grounds tier is exclusive in retail to Seppeltsfield Cellar Door and Langton’s.
The new winemaking team behind the emergence of Seppeltsfield’s still wine range includes Warren Randall, Fiona Donald, senior winemaker Charlie Seppelt (fifth generation of Seppeltsfield’s founding family), senior winemaker Matthew Pick and group viticulturist Kingsley Fuller.
Seppeltsfield owns the largest single cache of luxury plantings in the Barossa. A Seppeltsfield ‘Icon Program’ is underway with releases set to be unveiled over coming years.
The Easting Barossa Shiraz Garden of Eden Vineyard. Main photo: The Seppeltsfield winemaking team, from left: Charlie Seppelt, Fiona Donald, Matthew Pick, Warren Randall and Kingsley Fuller. Photographs: Dragan Radocaj.