For years I have driven past the Seppeltsfield property and always had the same personal thoughts-what an under-utilised site.
Well that has changed. The big ticket item from this Barossa gem has been the 100 year-old vintage dated fortified tawny wines.
Since inception they were under the care of the Seppelt family until being laid at the feet of corporate ownership whereby the necessary investment in its future could not be met. The last owner being Fosters Wine Estates
A few years ago ownership changed hands to interests associated with the Clare brand Kilikanoon.
Management of this property needs buckets of money, and many in the past have looked hard to find any part of a bucket extra called profit.
About two years ago McLaren Vale grape entrepreneur Warren Randall appeared from over the Adelaide Hills to take a majority stake and has been the driver in setting Seppeltsfield’s new direction.
My first taste of a wine from this property with ancient grapevines is the Grenache Shiraz Touriga 2010 (AUD 29); 14%, a wine with more colour than the usual Barossa-based grenache. It reeks of chunk. Big boy there.
The Seppeltsfield activity is very similar to the region-wide investments of the past two decades which have occurred in northern Sicily (Etna Rosso DOC) around the volcano.
Here new investors have purchased 100+ year-old gravity-fed wineries (palmentos) and refitted them with modern equipment.
On Etna the vineyards surrounding these properties are 60-90 years-old to go with the package. Of interest though Seppeltsfield have re-commissioned their original gravity flow red production facility whereas the Italians chose to go new.
So I like the red blend, it’s got density from the shiraz (and touriga, a fortified variety known for colour), and it does not let out much generosity. The tannins are soft but it stays composed-its keeping the best flavours close to its chest at present.
Seppeltsfiled’s other red blends are equally engrossing. Maybe there are two buckets of money to be made from these excellent reds. Look out for them and buy one.