Every glass of Tahbilk wine is like a sip of Australian wine history.
Established in 1860 in the Nagambie Lakes region of Victoria, the Tahbilk winery is not only classified by the National Trust but still produces wine from shiraz vines planted 165 years ago.
Tahbilk is a founding member of Australia's First Families of Wine and is the current James Halliday Annual winery of the year.
The Purbrick family, owners of Tahbilk, tend to do things with understated style. Late last year, to mark the 150th birthday of their 1860s Vines Shiraz, they held a tasting and lunch at iconic Melbourne restaurant Vue de Monde.
With back vintages showing both how well the elegant style ages, and how the 2010 may be one of the greatest vintages of the $275-a-bottle red, current winemaker Alister Purbrick is following a tradition that began when his great-great grandfather Reginald Purbrick purchased the Tahbilk property in 1925.
Tahbilk Estate, the oldest family-owned winery in Victoria, is one of Australia's most beautiful and historic vineyard properties. Some 120km north of Melbourne, it comprises 1,214 hectares of the richest river flats in the region.
The Purbicks are straight shooters, too. When asked why recent releases are under screw cap, Alister said: “Because I hate cork; hate it with a passion for what it can do to wine.”
The good news for wine drinkers is that in addition to icons like the 1860 Vines Shiraz, of which a maximum of 150 dozen are made each year, often less, Tahbilk also produces a range of wines, most of them featuring Rhone varietals, that are priced for everyday enjoyment.
There is a venerable block of the white grape marsanne that was planted in 1927. Now the fifth generation of the family is involved and today Tahbilk has the largest plantings of marsanne anywhere in the world. In addition to the standard release, Tahbilk also releases a wine made exclusively from the 1927 vines as an aged release.
Also check out the delicious 2014 Tahbilk Roussanne Marsanne Viognier, another astutely-judged wine.
In addition to the Rhone whites, the 200 hectares under vine include Rhone reds; shiraz, grenache and mourvedre. Also planted are more traditional varieties cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc, chardonnay, riesling, semillon, sauvignon blanc and verdelho and, with a nod to the new that you'd expect from a carbon-neutral producer; tempranillo and savagnin.
For details see: www.tahbilk.com.au