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Delhi Wine Club

Posted: Thursday, February 12 2010. 14:42

Wine Tasting: Lehmann-The Baron of Barossa

The Australian wine industry is going thru what Peter Lehmann Wines Managing Director Doug Lehmann terms as the most difficult trading conditions in the last fifteen years, writes Arun Batra who was at an exclusive tasting where Peter Lehmann Wines from the Barossa valley showcased their offerings on Tuesday

Lehmann should know- he is at the helm of one of the leading bottlers of quality Australian wines which, like their competitors in Australia, have been experiencing wobbles in their bottom-line caused as much by the economic downturn as well as a massive 25% oversupply vis-à-vis demand.

With this background in mind , it would be only natural that Peter Lehmann wines would embark on a massive thrust to ramp up volumes in the export market where the jewels in the crown are China and India –quite natural given the sheer numbers of the emerging upper middle class. So to kick start this effort in India , Howard Duncan, Export Manager for the Middle East and Asia was in Delhi and at the helm of a private tasting of some of the offerings for the Indian Market.

Peter Lehmann Wines is one of Australia’s most respected and innovative winemakers, with winemaking operations that are carried out at a single site located near Tanunda, in the heart of the internationally famous Barossa Valley in the state of South Australia . The founder, Peter Lehmann established the winery in the late 1970s and since then his company has developed a reputation as one of Australia’s most respected, premium wine producers, twice awarded the International Winemaker of the Year, and three times awarded Best Australian Producer at the IWSC. Currently the Lehmann family owns about 10% of the company having been bought out some years back by a Swiss company, the Hess Group

According to Howard Duncan, each vintage, over 160 growers supply their fruit from something like over 900 of the best vineyards in the Barossa Valley thus enabling his company to make wines for every occasion and wallet. Though they produce top of the line wines such as the Stonewell Shiraz which retails at A$100 back home, the thrust in India, given the high duty structures, is more thru their value and middle line offerings.
A check on the wines tasted:

       2008 Barossa Riesling :An excellent aperitif  with its floral nose and a clean fresh lime mouth though with an unremarkable and flattish finish
      2007 Weighbridge Shiraz : A fresh, balanced and supple wine with a smooth mouth feel with a distinct finish of chocolate. This 13.5% alcohol wine promises to be a great pairing with Mediterranean food.

       2006 Clancy’s Shiraz Cabernet Merlot : This wine represents Peter Lehmann’s foray away from the standard Australian practice of blending Cabernets with Shiraz to give the fruit some structure. The addition of 16% Merlot has given this robust wine a degree of mellowness to follow up on its plummy nose.

      2007 The Futures Shiraz : An outstanding example of the a classic Barossa Shiraz , this wine unlike the previous three , is a more up market offering and is from their Barossa Excellence Series. Made from low yielding vines which enhance the intensity of the fruit , this Shiraz  is complex and rich and promises to be a winner depending on its price point.

Howard Duncan did mention that they, with their distributors Brindco, were reviewing their prices for the Hotel , restaurant and retail segments to ensure Peter Lehmann wines get the trial and repeat purchases that is so vital to generating sustainable brand volumes in the country. We wish them all the best and look forward to seeing more from the stable of the Baron of Barossa in the near future.

 Arun Batra is a Delhi based  food and wine enthusiast and a long time member of the Delhi Wine Club



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