The Islander Estate Vineyards
639 Bark Hut Rd, Cassini SA
08 8553 9008
Set in the middle of Kangaroo Island on an 800-acre farm, The Islander Estate Vineyards are surrounded by native bush with magnificent views of rolling hills to the north.
The winery is the sixth project of Jacques Lurton, who hails from one of the most famous wine families in the world. He started his career as a winemaker at his family’s historic Chateaux Bonnet in France, before travelling the world as a ‘flying winemaker’ for a British wine club. He developed his own estates in France, Spain, Chile and Argentina, and worked his first Australian vintage 31 years ago. After many vintages in South Australia’s Adelaide Hills and McLaren Vale regions, Jacques visited Kangaroo Island for the first time in 1997. He was seduced by the cool, maritime climate of the island, with its pristine environment and ideal growing conditions. He returned two years later to set up his Australian headquarters.
Jacques established his new vineyard and winery in the middle of the island on a plateau approximately 120 metres above sea level. The soil composition provides good drainage and allows for deep root penetration by the vines. The average rainfall of approximately 700 millimetres provides ample water to last the summer months. With year long breezes and cool nights, there’s not much risk of disease, and the grapes achieve an excellent balance of ripeness, natural acidity and sugar.
Jacques’ growing method is to use narrow, close spaced rows and high density plantings. The grapes are grown in a vertical shoot positioned trellis system; cropping at very low volumes but producing high quality fruit.
The Islander produces powerful, elegant, European style wines, with a focus on lesser known varieties like cabernet franc, malbec and semillon. The cool climate is also ideal for growing viognier, shiraz and grenache. Although there’s nothing idiosyncratically Australian about Jacques’ wines, the name of his signature red, The Investigator, references both his own pioneering travels to Australia and those of European explorers before him.
Jacques describes The Investigator 2008 as the most robust, and Australian, of his four flagship releases. The wine is made from 100% cabernet franc, with subtle hints of classic varietal leanness on opening, and builds to reveal blackcurrant, plum and mulberry flavours. Characterised by long, fine tannins and a beautiful finish, The Investigator 2008 offers balance and a composed structure. It pairs perfectly with a range of dishes, which could include a hearty stew or casserole, fine cuts of meat, a beautifully roasted duck with mushroom and truffle, or a selection of your favourite cheeses.
The Islander is open for tours and tastings daily, by appointment. The staff will spend an hour with each visitor, so it’s worth booking in for a private tour of the vineyard, with its magnificent views of the island. You’ll then be shown around the winery and treated to a private a tasting in the barrel room, where they also host catered events for up to 40 people.