wines of Charles
Melton, Barossa, Australia
Road, Tanunda, Barossa, South Australia (post: PO Box 319, Tanunda,
Barossa, South Australia 5352
Phone: +61 8 8563 3606 Fax: +61 8 8563 3422
Barossa Valley (pictured right) has seen some troubled times, most
recently in the 1980s when its old vine Shiraz and Grenache wines fell
out of favour and growers were even paid to rip vineyards out.
Charles Melton was one of the band of new producers who
began to turn the tide in the late 1980s. He's been making wine in the
Barossa since 1984.
is a producer I have a bit of history with: it's actually the first
ever winery I visited, back in March 1996. In those days I hadn't
learned to spit when tasting, so Fiona and I cycled round half a dozen wineries,
getting saddle sore in the process.
The Barossa is unusual among Australian wine regions. ‘In the Barossa the land tends to be quite tightly
held', explains Melton. 'There are very few lifestylers,
so things don’t change that often: newcomers are often sons of old-time growers.'
Melton's wines come from 50 acres of vines, owned by some 20 growers. It's a good way of working, because he has
a good relationship with his growers and has access to old vine fruit
from some wonderful vineyards without the capital cost of vineyard
ownership. The wines are pretty smart, with the Shiraz just shading
the Nine Popes, for me.
Rose of Virginia 2003
A bright pink colour. Fresh, juicy and ripe with lots of vivid
Nine Popes 2001
A blend of Grenache and Shiraz with just a splash of Mourvèdre.
Mostly French oak for ageing. Ripe liqueur-like nose is full with a
spicy edge. Lovely concentration on the palate: rich, spicy, bold and
intense with dark berries. Very good/excellent 92/100
Ripe, tight blackfruits nose. Quite intense. Bold, spicy, intense
palate with some nice spicy complexity. Very bold and tannic, this is
superb. Very good/excellent 93/100
Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz 2000
This is normally a varietal Cabernet, but some Shiraz was added
this vintage. Perfumed berry and black fruits nose which is very open.
Open, rich, chunky berry fruit palate with a spicy edge. Drinking well
now. Very good+ 88/100
NV Sparkling Red
A great tradition in Australia, made in the Champagne method.
Unusual, rich and spicy. Slightly sweet berry fruits dominate. Will
age well, apparently. Very good+ 89/100
Sotto di Ferro 2000
Mainly Pedro Ximenez, left to dry after picking. A remarkable
300–350 g/l residual sugar. Soft, sweet raisiny nose is rich and
viscous. Very sweet palate has a herbal, tea-like complexity with lots
of sweetness. One for the future? Very good/excellent 90/100
also: tasting notes of Australian wines
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