The new releases of the Orlando Legends are out and they’ve had a facelift. Gone is the mention of Jacob’s Creek although these wines have always been made in their classic styles. New Chief Winemaker Ben Thoman, who has been involved in making the wines across the Orlando range for some years, has kept the new legends true to form. Our team recently tasted these wines and caught up with Ben to discuss the new vintages.
Orlando Steingarten Eden Valley Riesling 2019
Jeni Port – 95 Points
Steingarten, now there’s a timeless Riesling name. Recent vintages have been released under the broader ‘Barossa’ zone appellation identity, but it’s so good to see the return of the single vineyard’s origin, Eden Valley, to the label. At 400 metres altitude and with hard soils, yields might be low but fruit concentration is off the charts.
Steingarten offers a masterclass in what we perceive as minerality, that tang of stone, flint, slate that expresses itself so beautifully aromatically and texturally. Focused and pure bouquet of honeysuckle, apple blossom, flint, lime cordial intensity. Each pass over the lips sees something new emerge: ruby grapefruit, sweet lime, peach, lemon sherbet. A seamless beauty, one long stream of intense Riesling consciousness. You can purchase the wine here.
Tony Love – 95 Points
So good to see that this Eden Valley vineyard classic has spent 18 months waiting for its moment in the sun – when already the market is swimming in 2020s that barely know what they can be. So, here it is, still youthful and shy, its regionally noted white orchard florals to the fore while any expected overt citrus zest and potentially exotic spices are barely revealed – for now. The palate at first reflects this restrained opening stanza, though your natural lemon juice lip-smack won’t be denied – it’s right there, mid-palate, introducing an over-arching vibe of pith and crystalline minerality. This is a riesling lover’s riesling with great pedigree, and as previous museum tastings have shown, it will be shining brightly still in 2030 at least. Best buy a few for the future.
Angus Hughson – 96 Points
It is a bit of an honour when a wine like this arrives at the door. Steingarten is one of the rieslings that put the Eden Valley on the map – the lean, stony soils of the Steingarten vineyard showcasing just how good this region can be for riesling, not only for their complexity but also ability to age well.
The 2019 vintage is Steingarten at its best – in a tight, lean, youthful and bright style, coiled up and only hinting at what it has to offer. Lime juice and wet stone aromas are lifted by touches of pepper and spice. In the mouth it is feather-light and silky with concentrated but embryonic fruits underscored by mouth-watering acidity driving a long and fine finish. The wine is delicious now but also has all the foundations for a long life ahead.
All the citrus, yellow lemon zest, lime pith crisp apple and green pear and a savory green almond finish. Plenty of acidity but not pikey and harsh, more in rolling saline waves. An approachable Riesling for the non acid junkies in the world.
Orlando Lyndale Adelaide Hills Chardonnay 2018
Angus Hughson – 93 Points
Lyndale is a relatively new wine from the Orlando stable and has slotted straight into the modern, acid-driven Australian Chardonnay style with its reserved oak and delicate fruits.
The wine is pale in colour and subtle showcasing its cooler climate origins. Citrus and green apple fruits are lifted by layers of attractive savoury touches – spicy oak, earthy wild ferment and some flinty complexity too. It is far from an obvious chardonnay and needs a little air to build its significant fruit complexity.
That theme continues on the palate – citrus fruits in a compact and crisp style with oak very much in the background. It is a subtle chardonnay style for sure and would benefit from a couple of years more in bottle to get in the groove.
Jeni Port – 91 Points
Fits right into the Adelaide Hills style exhibiting refinement and fruit purity. Honeysuckle, apple, white peach, nashi pear, a splash of vanillin oak. A most restrained, subtle start.
Juicy, crunch of apple, preserved lemon, mineral tang in tandem with smart barrel-ferment oak and a leesy richness offer a nice counter-point to the running line of taut acidity. Adelaide Hills regional definition of Chardonnay is strong – all white peach fruits and a well-defined natural acidity – and it’s good to see it here in spades.
A wine with plenty of lemon and lime citrus and white stone fruit. A lemon lime splice character. Lots of racy and piercing acidity. Greek yoghurt and crème fraiche with raw cashew finish. Best for drinking at dusk in summer on the wrap around verandah.
Pairing- Goat chevre and raw vegetables with a crusty sour dough and a tahini based hummus. Or Beer battered fish and chips with tartare and a sprinkle of vinegar on your chips.
Orlando Lawson’s Padthaway Shiraz 2015
Angus Hughson – 93 Points
If you don’t know Padthway, now is the time for a crash course in this region that can turn out some spectacular reds. Not far North of Coonawarra, Padthaway is regularly used to spice up some classic South Australian labels, such as Penfolds St Henri and Bin 389. While the wines are not as big and bold as those from McLaren Vale and the Barossa Valley, they have got great personality in a more savoury and understated style. And the Lawson’s Padthaway Shiraz has always been a star of the region.
The 2015 release is deeply coloured and immediately approachable with its powerful mulberry and blackberry fruits plus violets and dried spice with an attractive saltbush edge, which is all wrapped up in a blanket of sweet vanillin oak. The wine is sturdy in the mouth – dry and mid-weight with chewy tannins and ripe fruit again with plenty of new oak. There is also some fantastic fruit complexity to uncover – tar, licorice, and spice adding to its drinkability. It finishes long and surprisingly supple making this a wine that is good to go now but also will cellar well.
Jeni Port – 90 Points
In the early Noughties, Orlando took to holding back some vintages of Lawson’s Padthway Shiraz before release, in the case of the 2000 vintage the wine had six years maturation before it went on sale. It’s re-assuring to see a similar approach with the label’s re-birth. Re-assuring, too, to see that the Padthaway regional signature has lost none of its potency.
Peppermint, bush mint, eucalypt . . . call it what you will, you can’t miss it. An upbeat Shiraz, vibrant black and blueberry fruits, mulberries, too, and you guessed it, bush mint.
Not shy in both fruit and oak power, flavours build moving into savoury territory – prune, game – with coconut toasted oak and dense tannins.
Orlando Jacaranda Ridge Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2015
Jeni Port – 95 Points
The name Jacaranda Ridge holds many sweet memories. It will be nice to reacquaint and get up close to this historically important Coonawarra Cabernet that helped exemplify the modern era of the regional style.
The skill is in the management of powerful fruit with a commensurate level of oak that is equal in every way, not an easy thing, Aromas of mint, blackcurrant, black olive, brine, chocolate, licorice, coffee grounds. It’s a complex, attention seeking opening move.
Attention gained. A nucleus of ripe, lush berry fruits join with dark chocolate-licorice oak, an interlude of violet aromatics and spice. A lot of class on display here.
Tony Love – 93 Points
Sourced from one vineyard in the northern Coonawarra, in fact one block out of that vineyard. A wine with lots of history and grand tradition to uphold in provenance and wine style, and such a pleasure to taste one of the great Aussie cabernets in its latest, and totally respectful outing. It’s the wine equivalent of an exhibition of great Australian landscapes by Streeton, Roberts and McCubbin. Moody of its place and variety – dark berry, dark choc mint, but not eucalypt green, and polished leather, it’s tight in the drinking, with plenty of acidity driving line and length, while fruit expression holds back a bit. Stoic, old school, not loud nor brash. But definitely focused on structure and power. Many a grandfather will come over all nostalgic at this one.
Angus Hughson – 94 Points
Jacaranda Ridge is a classic, old-school Coonawarra Cabernet. These are not fruity, supple wines made for Summer drinking – they are serious reds that demand time before they give up all their secrets. But with time they showcase why, for decades, Coonawarra has been one of our country’s favourite regions for cellaring Cabernet.
It starts out pretty and elegant – leafy aromas with that classic Coonawarra choc-mint, and fruit pastille aromas with touches of dried thyme and oregano. It is then like all great Cabernet should be – reserved and elegant in the mouth, but under its velvet exterior sits a muscular, tannic frame – a firm core made to cellar. This is not a big wine but has great fruit length and balance suggesting a long life ahead.
Orlando Centenary Hill Shiraz 2015
Angus Hughson – 96 Points
Centenary Hill has had a makeover – Jacobs Creek is gone and Orlando is back and it has delivered a classic expression of Barossa Shiraz, as you’d expect.
This is a crowd-pleasing Barossan from start to finish which is hearty, flavoursome and hard to put down. The wine is deeply coloured and flavoured with ripe mocha, mulberry and baked earth fruit aromas well supported by new toasty oak. It is then ripe and chewy with firm tannins, matched with layers of ripe, licorice scented fruit. The overriding impression is balance – all the pieces sit well together in a bold style. Yes it will age well, very well, and is a bit of a sleeper, but is also a great drink right now.
Jeni Port – 90 Points
A return to a style of Barossa shiraz that packs a flavour punch, stands bold and rich and is utterly beyond the cares of the modern alcohol-oak diet that some Shiraz have been on. What’s more, it is unapologetic.
An impressively youthful garnet in colour for a five-year-old. Wood smoke, toast, mocha, chocolate – there is some expensive oak in residence – mixes with blackcurrant, spice, dried herbs, earth.
A lush and expansive Shiraz filling the mouth with a wall of fruit flavour that goes head to head with the oak relieved by strong, bracing tannins. It’s working on a long life.