Taking its name from this annual phenomenon, Cape Barren Wines is Rob’s third venture into winemaking. For 12 years he was senior red winemaker for Thomas Hardy and Reynella Winery. Venturing out on his own, he founded Beresford Wines in McLaren Vale, before expanding to a second subsidiary called Step Road in Langhorne Creek. In 2008 he sold his shares in the business and along with Viticulturalist Tom, purchased Cape Barren two years later.
Previous to this venture, Tom established the Brothers in Arms wine company in Langhorne Creek, where he planted more than 800 acres of vines to supplement the long-established Metala Vineyards on the family property.
With such long and distinguished careers behind them, Cape Barren Wines was always going to be a success. It’s been awarded five stars by James Halliday for the last seven years, an achievement that only three per cent of Australian winemakers can boast about.
With a picturesque and undulating terrain and maritime climate, the region features long warm summers that are cooled by afternoon sea breezes, resulting in very mild nights and controlled ripening and flavour development. The vineyards are mostly unirrigated, so they rely on nature to enhance the fruit flavours.
Grapes are sourced from very old vineyards in unique terroirs that highlight the essence of each varietal grown. This is particularly true of its McLaren Vale red vineyards. Located in Blewitt Springs, all of the vines are more than 45 years old and sit in deep sand over limestone soils that date back millions of years.
The white grapes come from its vineyard in Charleston, in the Adelaide Hills, which boasts a cool climate and particularly large diurnal temperature variations. Sitting at 400m above sea level, the soils are known to be demanding and unforgiving, leading to smaller, more intensely flavoured fruit. Cape Barren grapes are sourced from an east-facing slope, which slows the ripening, leading to higher natural acidity and better texture.
The end result is the production of shiraz, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, grenache, mourvedre, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and gruner veltliner varieties.
Cape Barren’s flagship is the Old Vine Reserve Release Shiraz. As the name would suggest, the fruit is harvested from very old vines in Blewitt Springs, aged between 75 and 120 years and dry grown. Featuring a vivid deep and dark purple colour, it has a complex aroma of ripe black fruits, spiced poached plum and chocolate, intertwined with very high quality French oak nuances. A distinguished wine showing full body and texture, it pairs perfectly with rich meat dishes such as rare beef or mature cheeses.
There’s no Cellar Door but you should get in touch to organise a tasting.
Rob and Tom are happy to oblige for groups of winelovers.