Seppeltsfield is celebrating its 170th anniversary this year with the release of a new range of luxury wines including the 2020 Great Terraced Vineyard Barossa Grenache ($75) from the winery’s iconic vineyard.
The bushvine Grenache was originally planted in 1855. The vineyard was replanted in contoured rows to follow the natural shape of the land, commencing in 1958.
“This is a significant moment,” Warren Randall says.
“Original cuttings were vigorously selected to ensure the highest possible quality. The wine was fermented in the historic 1888 Gravity Cellar, gently extracting colour and tannin, resulting in a pure and fine translation of the Great Terraced Vineyard.”
Seppeltsfield has long been internationally renowned for its fortified wines, but the recent focus has been on an expanding range of still wines, only possible since gaining full ownership of its trademark in 2017.
The winery has also released the follow-up vintages to the Grounds range – single vineyard Barossa Shiraz expressions.
“As Seppeltsfield’s interpretation of Barossa terroir, the Grounds releases look to apply a beguiling simplicity for what in European terms is often complicated and complex idea of the relationship between geography, geology, climate and history,” chief winemaker Fiona Donald says.
The Grounds range takes inspiration from the Barossa Grounds project – a comprehensive 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.
“There is a consistent approach to winemaking for the Grounds range – fermented through the 1888 Gravity Cellar and matured in new and seasoned French oak hogsheads for 14 months,” Fiona says.
Seppeltsfield’s 2019 vintage bottlings include the first release of The Northing Barossa Shiraz, sourced from a single vineyard from the Marananga parish of the Northern Grounds, The Easting Barossa Shiraz, sourced from the Garden of Eden Vineyard in Eden Valley, and The Westing Barossa Shiraz, from V Block in the Western Barossa Grounds.
The new vintages of the Bench Blends have also been released. This range is centred on the winemaking art of ‘assemblage’, with the craft combining the sensory ability with the artistic and individual expression of the winemakers – the ambition to achieve a final blend that is greater than the sums of its varietal parts. Red varietal 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.
There are two Bench Blends wines in the range, including the 2020 No. EC403 Barossa Grenache Shiraz Mataro, a traditional and well-loved blend, and in this instance – Grenache was sourced from the estate’s iconic Great Terraced Vineyard and is the dominant varietal.
Alongside No. EC403 is a more contemporary expression of traditional Portuguese varieties – 2020 No. EC3 Barossa Tinta Cao Tinta Amarela Touriga.
“At Seppeltsfield, our collection of wines reflect 170 years of history in the Barossa, but also our future endeavours,” Fiona says.
“Our ambition is to match our reputation for fortified wines with that of our luxury still wine collection.
“Our special 170th Anniversary release, the 2020 Great Terraced Vineyard Barossa Grenache, creates a moment that will be remembered for years to come.
“Sourced from our iconic Great Terraced Vineyard on the Estate, which has historically been used for the production of fortified wines, this contemporary still wine is a pure and fine translation of the vineyard.
“It’s a truly exciting new chapter in the Estate’s journey.”
Henry Slattery has joined the Seppeltsfield winemaking team with over six years winemaking experience in the Barossa, having completed both an Undergraduate degree in Agricultural science at the University of Melbourne and Masters in Oenology at the University of Adelaide. Other members of the team include Warren Randall (executive chairman and proprietor), Fiona Donald (chief winemaker), Charlie Seppelt (senior winemaker), Matthew Pick (senior winemaker) and Kingsley Fuller (group viticulturist).