Wendouree Malbec 2014
In pristine condition. Images available upon request. Contact US
AP Birks Wendouree Cellars is one of the historic properties of the Clare. Vines were first planted here in 1892, and they are still going. The vineyards are stunning, with some wonderful old vines. Tony Brady and his wife Lita have been the custodians of Wendouree since 1974. Since then they have transformed the estate into a revolutionary yet classically Clare Valley institution. Roly Birks stayed on as winemaker until 1980.
The estate has no website, no cellar door and they rarely answer the phone but do sometimes respond to letters. So you have to buy the wines by any means necessary…seriously, you have to buy them.
Alfred Percy Birks and his brothers started planting in 1892 with a 0.2Ha block of Cabernet Sauvignon and then subsequent Birks generations planted a raft of different varieties; Shiraz in 1911 and more Cabernet in 1971, eventually ending up with 50Ha of vines in total.
Some of the less marketable varieties like Crouchon & Pedro Ximinez were pulled out by the Brady’s in the early 1980’s and replaced with Cabernet, Shiraz, Malbec & Mataro but they had reduced the overall plantings to about 25Ha in order to better manage the quality of the soil & the fruit and genuinely focus on making the best wines they could from their vineyards.
Since the early 1980’s, consultant, family friend and overall winemaking legend, Stephen George has had a profound impact on the quality of wines at Wendouree but there has been a style shift away from the brutally tannic wines of their past to wines that (while still pretty tannic) have a greater balance and and approachability at a younger age without losing any of their cellarability nor their complexity. They’re just as good but you can drink them before you die.
Wendouree vines are all dry-grown (no irrigation), they are hardy & gnarly old things that produce grapes of fantastic concentration of flavour. It shows in spades in the wines. Concentrated…fist in a velvet glove stuff…ageworthy..powerful.
Go Deeper: Learn About why Wendouree is held in high regards, by Tim Atkin, MW
Go Deeper: Wendouree 14 wine vertical tasting by Tim Atkin, MW