How high can you go?

How much would you spend on a single bottle of wine for the ultimate occasion?

It may depend how much money is in the kitty, but if price was no object, how much do you think is too much? Is it $200, $2000, $20,000 or even more?

Australian winemaker John Casella wants to see Barossa Valley winemakers raise the prices of all their wines to a more profitable level and this year he’s putting his money where his mouth is with the release of a new Shiraz priced at $2000 a bottle.  Admittedly, it’s not actually one bottle but two because the new wine is available only in magnums (1500 mls instead of a standard 750 ml bottle). Still, it’s a steep rise from what he says he would like the bare minimum to be – “I don’t believe the future of the Barossa should be anything less than $20 or $25 for a bottle of wine coming out of the Barossa Valley,” he told a group of media in the Barossa Valley this month.

The high priced newcomer was unveiled at a celebration tasting of the 40th anniversary of Peter Lehmann Wines, a brand and winery that Casella acquired in 2014.

The new wine is called new wine is called Masterson Shiraz and the first vintage is 2015. It’s made with grapes grown on a single vineyard planted between 1990 and 1991 in the Moppa district of Barossa Valley, between Ebenezer and Greenook. The vines were planted on their own roots (rather than grafted) in deep sandy loam soils made up of ironstone over red clay. They were dry grown. This means no irrigation was applied. The grapes were harvested in late February 2015 and crushed into a small stainless fermenter where they remained for two weeks on skins, then basket pressed and moved into French oak hogsheads for malolactic fermentation. The wine was then aged in a 2.5 litre foudres for 36 months (Francois Freres) and matured for 12 months prior to release.

Casella and his late parents, Filippo and Maria, are the founders of the well known Yellow Tail wines, based in Yenda in New South Wales. He now owns Peter Lehmann and he has also bought Morris of Rutherglen; two companies with long histories and family-run reputations. Both brands add jewels to the Casella wine crown. Both have been acquired because of their illustrious histories and high regard within wine circles. Casella plans to keep them that way.

  • The 2015 Peter Lehmann Masterson Shiraz is available only in magnums; 1000  will be released globally this month at $2,000 AUD. It will be available only at the winery in Australia.

How high is too high?

A rising tide floats ships, said one taster at the launch of the new wine. Watch this space.

Author: Joelle Thomson

I am a wine writer, author and educator... first bitten by a big buttery Chardonnay on a dark and stormy night in the 1980s and there was no turning back... Follow my tastings and join some too on this new site.

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