Oct 11: Tim Dolan, Senior Winemaker of the Barossa producer Peter Lehmann belonging to Casella Family Brands Group since November 2014, was in India along with Malcolm Davies, Export Director Asia Pacific as part of a delegation of wine makers from South Australia and had an exclusive Chat with Subhash Arora during Lunch at Bukhara Restaurant at the ITC Maurya about his winemaking style and the relatively new wine- "The Barossan" Shiraz crafted by him and being introduced in India
Tim Dolan was on a trip to meet clients of Peter Lehmann in Taiwan, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and then Mumbai and Delhi as a part of the South Australian producers Delegation. He was going to train the staff at Hotel ITC Maurya right after the Lunch at Bukhara where Arora met him and Davies.
The Senior winemaker from Peter Lehmann is the third generation family winemaker from Barossa. He followed the footsteps of his father Nigel Dolan and grandfather Bryan Dolan who have been brilliant and very influential winemakers of their respective times.
Tim grew up in Barossa. He took the winemaking route from a very young age and worked part-time in the wineries. With a degree in Oenology from The University of Adelaide he set foot outside Australia for 5 years, working vintages in eight different regions across USA, Italy, Canada and also in Australia at the Yalumba Winery in Barossa.
He returned to Australia in 2011 and joined Peter Lehmann to work under the leadership of the then Chief Winemaker, Andrew Wigan. His father had also been involved in winemaking with the winery. He has since proven himself to be a talented and highly competent winemaker full of passion and ideas, which showed in plenty when he discussed with me his creation ‘The Barossan’.
His approach to winemaking is modern but he draws a lot from the past too. Keeping with the times, he believes Barossa wines ought to be more approachable and drinkable younger but with an eye on the ageablity too. What he believes in, shows in the wine he developed completely. The Barossan 2015, his first vintage released in 2017 is already drinking well now but will easily last for over 10 years, he feels. He belongs to the new wave of winemakers in Barossa who prefer using American oak for its softness and a shade of sweetness.
He believes winemaking is really a team effort though he also believes that you make your own luck. He loves the community spirit that exists in Barossa- we should perhaps take a lesson to imbibe this character in our own Indian wine making.
The Barossan label follows the Portrait series already being imported by Berkmann Cellars India. Priced at Rs.200 more than the current priced Rs. 3750 Portrait series- Portrait Riesling is his personal favourite, the Barossan is being priced Rs. 3950 in Delhi and Rs. 4250 in Mumbai. This wine is part of the 42 SKUs being made by Peter Lehmann which sell in Australia for Aus$100 to as low as A$7 (1 US $=A$1.4). Peter Lehmann has been Decanter Winery of the Year in 2003 and 2006 and was founded in 1980 by the highly accomplished and respected Barossan, Peter Lehmann whose portrait is seen on all their labels.
In fact the packaging of Barossan is very elegant that makes it look like a very expensive wine. The label is leather textured brown in colour that sits well on the dark bottle which uses the standard screw cap like most Australian wines.
Those of us who belong to the delWine Tasting Panel were fortunate enough to taste not only The Barossan but also his favourite Portrait Riesling at the private Blind Tasting of Pinot Noirs which I had organised at Novotel, the next day on September 27 and invited both these gentlemen for the blind tasting as well as tasting of these 2 bottles at the end.
The Barossan showcases the superb fruit sourced from the many well known sub-regions across the Barossa Valley from 148 growers who supply 90% of the grapes required to make 20,000 cases a year currently. Cherry and dark fruit aromas combine seamlessly with ripe fruit flavour with chocolate and mocha notes making it an intense, generous and full bodied wine. The wine is supple with soft and silky tannins and a long, pleasant finish.
You could well say that The Barossan reflects the new wave that is propelling Barossa Shiraz to a new height-especially the young drinkers and Berkmann Cellars India will hopefully find many discerning Shiraz lovers in India at around Rs. 4000 a bottle. And as Tim admitted, someone from the company will plan to visit India more often to interact with the stakeholders.
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