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McGuigan sets red winemaking benchmark

Australian Vintage was showing the latest vintages of its wines across all ranges: McGuigan, Tempus Two, Nepenthe, Summer Light and Vinni at the London Wine Fair. Chief winemaker, Neil McGuigan, was at the show to unveil the new label design for the McGuigan Black Label range and his most premium McGuigan wine to date.

The limited release, super premium 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz called The Philosophy is hand crafted in a traditional Claret style.

Neil says of the new wine, over a decade in the making: “When I first re-joined the business, I put a challenge out to the McGuigan winemaking ream to create a true icon wine for our brand. I remember the reaction well – it took people a while to get their head around what I wanted to do.

“But my philosophy on making wine is simple. Everyday you need to have the ambition to craft a super- premium wine; it channels the energy and focus to be on quality at every step of the process. Put this in place and pretty soon that attitude flows across your entire portfolio – and your $10 wine starts tasting like a $12 wine. It filters through everything you do, and every wine that you make no matter whether it is at the more accessible level or a super premium limited release.

“Through this project we’ve made the wine the hero; a fact vindicated by our ongoing international awards success.”

The Philosophy is made from the two red varieties that made Australian wine famous – Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz – and uses premium grapes from the Eden and Clare Valley districts in South Australia.  It is a complex wine with flavour, elegance and finesse. As Neil explains: “This wine is something the Australian industry should aspire to, it is not an overly jammy, sweet fruited, high alcohol ‘bigger than Texas’ red that has been made to fit the palate of a global wine critic. It is not ‘bigger is best’, which seems to be a global trend of late . . .wines that are all front and no substance or longevity; wines that fall over after three years in the bottle.

“The Philosophy is made up of small parcels of fruit from multiple regions in South Australia, and aged in French and American oak for two years before bottling – spending a further two years in bottle to ensure adequate maturation. It was this process that allowed us to create a wine of great concentration, finesse and balance.”

The Philosophy has an RRP of £100 and can be cellared for 10 or more years.

9 June 2014 - Felicity Murray The Drinks Report, editor