Seppelt has pioneered Great Western sparkling shiraz since the 1890s and I have been privileged to witness the stamina of great bottles from the '50s and '60s. Grand longevity is the key to this style, and even on release at a decade of age (8 years of which were spent on lees) the fruit of the Seppelt Great Western vineyard itself demands a long time yet to fully blossom. Enticingly poised, effortless, medium-bodied black cherry liqueur, black plum and blackberry fruit are here aplenty, framed in high cocoa dark chocolate, but the real distinction of this cuvee lies in its impeccably mineral, powder-fine tannins. Such enduring structure would crush the spirit of any mere mortal cuvee, but here it is neither confronting nor dominating propelling a thrilling finish that reverberates long with cherry liqueur and dark chocolate. After more than 120 years, this remains the pinnacle of Australian sparkling, and it will outlive all others.
The GrampiansLocated in western Central Victoria, the Grampians was settled during the gold rush of the 1850’s. Indeed the vivid history of the gold rush is inextricably intertwined with the history of viticulture in the region. Seppelt at Great Western, one of the region’s iconic wineries was built at the end of the gold rush when scores of out-of-work prospectors excavated its extensive drives and cellars. The "drives" completed in 1932, stretch for three kilometres and provide perfect conditions for the maturation of sparkling wine, for which the region is well-known. The climate of the Grampians is Mediterranean and essentially cool with vineyards situated at elevations ranging from 240 to 350m. The region experiences long sunshine hours and low rainfall necessitating supplementary irrigation. Soils in the region range from weathered volcanic soils to sandy and red clay loams interspersed with ironstone. The region is suited to a diverse range of varietals including Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon but is best known for its crisp fruity Riesling and distinctive spicy peppery Shiraz.