Wine Blog


“Fundamentally art is perception. No matter the form, art is a celebration of individuality. Art can represent reality, but further it can enhance, transcend or even distort it.” – VINTELOPER

The Vinteloper Shiraz label

Here’s another piece on “craft wine”…

This time across the pond from Australia. I had the pleasure of meeting David Bowley from VINTELOPER at the ADT (Australia Day tasting) on Tuesday.

I was blown away. I always make a beeline for the guys at Red Squirrel when I have the chance, and I wasn’t disappointed. To say I wasn’t disappointed is a huge understatement.

I have, for a while now, been seeking “artisan” wines. Wines of small production, where care, love and innovation goes into every bottle. These artisanal wines are the future of wine and its development. Wine to me has always been ethereal, something non-temporal. They’re exciting, different, and in many cases exceptional. I know my favourite classic wines: so instead of revisiting them time and time again, why not explore, and discover?

I’ll never forget the first time I had Montrachet, but for me wine is about sensory exploration and trying new things.

It seems I’ve found someone that agreed with me. In a similar stance to mine, Vinteloper says:


David Bowley, winemaker, trained in both Australia and France (more specifically, in my beloved Burgundy – in Nuits St Georges).  In 2008 he took the helm of Vinteloper.

Aromatics and precision has become his signature style.

Where in Australia?

The home vineyard is 25 years old at Norton Summit in the Adelaide Hills. I haven’t managed to make it to Australia yet, but if I could this would be one of the first stops. It is, in Vinteloper’s words, a region:

“brimming with creative energy and growing great produce.”

Now… Onto the important bit…

wine shots.jpg

The Wines


Vinteloper R/14 Riesling 2014, Clare Valley

Riesling is my “obsession du jour,” as I’m sure my colleagues know as I’m harping on about it. This is a fresh, elegant style with lovely fresh blossom, pollen and citrus notes. It’s tight in a good way – really zingy minerality.

The wine facts:

Single vineyard. Elevation 440m. E/W orientation. Planted 2000. Production: 446 dozen

Long [8 week], cool, controlled fermentation. Temperature held at 11-14C. 100% stainless steel.


Vinteloper OR/13 ‘ODEON’ Riseling 2013, Clare Valley

Yay. Another Riesling. This time – wow. This is different. Still the blossom, but where the other one seems cool, this seems warm. It has honey, nutmeg, spices. That little bit of warming delicious petrol that a bit of age brings.

The wine facts:

Single Vineyard. Elevation: 440m.

Some label this as a natural wine. What this means is that the grapes are processed without modern mechanical input. No additions. Wild yeast fermented in old french oak barrels. No temperature control applied. Post fermentation French barrels are filled & sealed. Yeast lees are stirred occasionally (battonage). The wine spends 12 months sitting on these lees in barrel.

About these two Rieslings. Vinteloper has a Riesling Science vs. Nature Debate. The 1st is science, the 2nd is nature. Vinteloper doesn’t proclaim one is superior to the other. They say “Beauty is that which causes delight through sensation, emotion & conception.”



Vinteloper PN/14 Pinot Noir 2014, Adelaide Hills

Pinot Noir. My favourite red grape. This does it justice. Fine and delicate and everything a New World Pinot should be but with the addition of those wonderful Old World notes such as undergrowth and woodiness. Red berries, plums and delicate spices.

The wine facts:

Single vineyard. Planted 1990. NNE facing. N/S orientation. Clone D5V12. Elevation 440m.

Pigeage (that’s stomping) by hand & foot (!) Wild yeast. 33% whole bunches. 11/12 in French oak. 33% new. Unfined and unfilterred.


Vinteloper A/3 ‘ADELO’ Touriga Nacional, Shiraz 2013, Langhorne Creek

NB: ADELO (Latin) – Obscure, secretive, unknown.

Touriga! From Aus? Portugal’s finest grape hops over into a blend. A really aromatic red. Earthy, violet, almost lavender-like notes. I wouldn’t have been able to guess what this was!

The wine facts: 

All vinified separately, to allow for the best expression of varietals to create this unique blend. This wine isn’t about the varietals – it’s about the creation that they make.

“The varietals can distract you. Focus on the style & art of this creation.”

100% wild yeast fermentation. 60% french oak, 40% american oak for 11 months. 89% field blend.

(but if you want to know what they are, it’s made from Touriga Nacional 61.9%, Shiraz 27.1%, Grenache 5.5%, Pinot Noir 5.5%).

Inspiration for this wine: “We should not be bound by convention. Life is best lived in the tension between madness & genius.”



Vinteloper TN/12 Touriga Nacional 2013, Langhourne Creek 2013

Aromatics on aromatics on aromatics. Violets, cinammon, persimmon, cocoa. So fresh.

The wine facts:

Single Vineyard. 20 year old vines. Highly saline clay soil.

Wild yeast. 21 days on skins. 50% French Oak. 50% American Oak.



Vinteloper SH/13 Shiraz 2013, McLaren Vale

Meaty, gamey nose with dark juicy fruit. A real peppery bomb, just the way Aussie Shiraz should be – all the correct elements.

The wine facts:

18 month oak maturation period followed by a further 6 months in bottle prior to release.

Single Vineyard. Wild Yeast. Post fermentation maceration. 100% French Oak. 15% New.



OPN/12 ‘ODEON’ Pinot Noir 2012, Adelaide Hills

This is really special. To put it into perspective, this wine comes from only 8 rows of plants (60 plants).

That’s 618 bottles.

Leave the best till last, they say. Some wines please the soul. I don’t care if you think that sounds stupid – this one does.

Gorgeous, ethereal velvety earthy Pinot colour. Woodsmoke, undergrowth, mossy cherry flavours that develop on the palate to express further bright fruit flavours of raspberries and even some kind of recurrant expression. I wish I could see this in 10 years’ time.

The wine facts:

Single Vineyard. Lenswood, Adelaide Hills. Planted 1986, Steep east facing slope. E/W row orientation. Clone D5V12. 550m elevation.

Pigeage by hand & foot. Wild Yeast. Whole bunches. French Oak. 50% new.


Go get them from Red Squirrel. 

Check out the label artists at @shazhong @fauxnonfaux