“After a hot and dry January (understatement of the century), we saw a return to milder conditions for the first three weeks of February. Cool nights have helped Barossa white grapes and we predict to see an excellent Margaret Semillon as a result. A spike in temperature at the end of February brought ripeness and picking times forward, particularly for Shiraz and with whites complete we have turned our attention to reds. With smaller yields this year, fruit looks to be solid and consistent in quality. Our growers are working tirelessly to ensure any vine stress is kept at a minimum and canopies remain healthy.
From a winemaking perspective, Nigel is overseeing all operations whilst gearing up for the red grape intake. Brett and Brooke are working on white juices and ferments, whilst Tony and I are spending time in vineyards assessing quality and ripeness. All aspects of the winery and vineyard operations are being closely monitored by legendary winemaker Peter Scholz, with his shadow often darkening the hallways around break time each morning!"
- Tim Dolan, Senior Winemaker
We are thrilled to share the news that our talented Peter Lehmann winemaker Tim Dolan has been named Dux of the Len Evans Tutorial.
The Len Evans Tutorial is a prestigious wine school established in 2001 and located in the NSW Hunter Valley. It’s named after its founder, the late Len Evans – a champion of Australian wine who contributed significantly to the industry during his lifetime.
Prominent Australian wine reviewer James Halliday, who is also one of the experts involved with the program, describes the Len Evans Tutorial as “the most exclusive wine school in the world.”
Each year – and out of a pool of over 100 hopefuls - the Len Evans Tutorial invites 12 of Australia’s wine industry’s most promising and talented professionals to further develop their wine appreciation under the guidance from leading wine experts. Now in its 18th year, the program is designed to help train the next generation of wine judges on the demands of Australian wine shows.
This year, the Tutorial took place from 5-12 November and a team of five wine experts (or tutors) guided Tim and his co-scholars through an intense 5-day period of tasting and studying some of the greatest, rarest and oldest wines of the world.
The program included morning blind tastings, afternoon master classes and evening dinners. The wines are judged as if they were in an Australian wine show, and every scholar sequentially calls his or her points for each wine, and has to justify those points where they differ from the tutors’ points.
Tim’s accuracy triumphed over the other 11 scholars and he took out the dux title, and also won a return business-class trip to Europe.
“I’ve applied for the past three years, so to be part of the 2018 Len Evans Tutorial was a dream come true. The week was unbelievable and a surreal experience. What Len Evans created with his Tutorial is one of the Australian wine industry’s greatest treasures and I’m so appreciative to have had the opportunity to complete the program,” said Tim.
Winemaker Brett Smith selects the 2012 Mentor Cabernet Sauvignon for January Wine of the Month
There is a real post vintage buzz around the Barossa Valley with winemakers throughout the district especially excited over the quality of the later ripening red varieties, Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache.
2017 was a cracking Cabernet vintage. It will be remembered as a particularly mild growing season, allowing very slow ripening and the development of mature Cabernet flavours reminiscent of licorice, tobacco and violets and the texture and acidity to make very cellar worthy red wines.
It was a vintage with many quality Cabernet Sauvignon wines contending for a role in our Mentor Cabernet Sauvignon, where only the finest parcels were included.
The 2017 vintage released our 2012 Mentor Cabernet Sauvignon. Another outstanding red wine vintage that was very mild throughout, with predominantly cool nights, which allowed our best Cabernet vineyards to ripen slowly and produce wines with great complexity, elegance and longevity.
The 2012 Mentor Cabernet Sauvignon is without doubt one of the best of the last decade and was lauded by Andrew Wigan, inaugural Chief Winemaker, as one of the best Cabernet vintages of his distinguished time at Peter Lehmann Wines.
Like Scottie Pippen to Michael Jordan, Barossa Cabernet is often overshadowed by Barossa Shiraz but is undeniably a star in its own right. When the ideal conditions prevail (or Michael Jordan retires) these second fiddles get their time to shine and 2012 was certainly time for our Mentor Cabernet Sauvignon.
Although drinking beautifully now this is a wine that will be an absolute belter to open in another decade.