Peter Lehmann Wines has released a special wine – 2015 Masterson Shiraz – to mark the 40th anniversary of the winery. The wine has been bottled in magnums only and are $2,000 each.
Masterson Shiraz will be available from the Peter Lehmann Cellar Door or Casella Cellar from 20 November – exactly 40 years after the foundation stone of The Weighbridge was laid by Barossa grapegrower Albert Schmidt and Peter Lehmann at the originally-named Masterson winery.
When John Casella acquired the Peter Lehmann winery in December 2014, he knew he was buying into a piece of Australian winemaking history. With a desire to honour the winery’s legendary founder, Peter Lehmann, and the commitment he had made to the Barossa region, John set his winemaking team a challenge – to craft the most exceptional example of Barossa Shiraz.
“In a tribute to Peter Lehmann, 2015 Masterson has been crafted to embody the strength and spirit of the Barossa community and the camaraderie forged with generations of family grapegrowers,” John Casella said. “It is the continuation of these treasured relationships that enables the winemaking team to hand select the most exceptional parcels of fruit from across the length and breadth of the Barossa, vintage after vintage.”
With 2015 presenting an excellent vintage, the team sought out and ultimately discovered a pristine parcel from a small block on the Hammerling vineyard, located in the Moppa district in the Barossa’s North-West. Glen Hammerling has been a grower for Peter Lehmann since the early ‘80s, and is incredibly proud to be the first grower to contribute to Masterson Shiraz.
A key component in delivering the style desired for this single vineyard wine was the selection of a foudre barrel for maturation. Peter Lehmann experimented with foudres in his early winemaking career, and this was a technique the winemaking team wanted to emulate for 2015 Masterson in his honour.
Chief winemaker Nigel Westblade said, “This large format barrel beautifully preserves the vineyard character and as the philosophy for Masterson is a pure expression of a single vineyard and vintage, we decided extended maturation in a foudre would achieve our ambition.
“The surface area to volume ratio of a foudre is much lower than with smaller format barrels, which has allowed the wine to breathe, soften and integrate slowly over time. A further 12 months of bottle maturation has resulted in a perfectly rounded, complete wine.”
Often dubbed the ‘Baron of the Barossa’ Peter Lehmann will always be linked to his beloved Shiraz. One of his finest achievements was winning the Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy for 1989 Stonewell Shiraz. That wine was bottled in a magnum to commemorate this momentous achievement and the inaugural release of Masterson in a magnum is a nod to that defining moment in its winemaking history.
“The philosophy behind Masterson is to make a bold statement for Peter Lehmann, the region and Australia,” John Casella said.
“With unrivalled access to the very best fruit of the region, Masterson will be the best single vineyard Barossa Shiraz of vintage, and only released in exceptional years. The ambition is for this wine to become the halo of the Peter Lehmann range, one of Australia’s greatest wines and one of the world’s greatest Shiraz.
“We’re proud to make a statement for Australian wine with the release of Masterson; to demonstrate that both Peter Lehmann and the Barossa are capable of producing wines that rival the icon and luxury wines of other premier regions around the world. I believe that we will stand here in another 40 years’ time knowing that we have created a wine that will leave a remarkable legacy, just like Peter Lehmann himself.”
Every five years, Peter Lehmann Wines will hold a special tasting of Masterson at the Barossa winery. In 2024, customers and collectors will be invited to taste the 2015 vintage to see how the wine has matured with time, as well as any other vintages that have been released.
There are only 1,000 magnums of the inaugural Masterson. The next vintage of the wine will be released in 750ml bottles and be priced at $1,000 a bottle.
Main photo: Peter Lehmann with local grapegrower Albert Schmidt laying the foundation stone at what was then the Masterson winery in 1979.