Chateau Tanunda is one of those names that have been synonymous with wine in Australia, especially the Barossa. Constructed in the late 1880’s by some of the first winemaker’s in the Barossa, its vineyards are home to some of the oldest plantings in the Barossa, dating back to the 1840’s, and its Chateau is Australia’s largest and oldest wine Chateau. Built 40 metres into a Tanunda hillside to provide a stable temperature for the maturing of barrels by more than 100 local farmers, it was the largest building in the southern hemisphere at the time, a place of vinous grandeur with a whole heap of European influence.
It was a working winery within a year, an impressive achievement given the lack of construction technology available at the time, and production of wine there marked a turning in the start of Australia’s winemaking journey. Built by Barossans to show case and take Barossa to the rest of the world. And it worked within three years they had won the World Intercolonial World Wine Competition.
French winemaker Charles Gelly was the first winemaker at Chateau Tanunda, and a list of the who’s who in Australian winemaking has followed though over the, including Professor Arthur J Perkins, Geoff Merrill, Robert O’Callaghan, Kevin Glastonbury, Grant Burge and Ralph Fowler, amongst many other big names of Australian wine.
The winery, like many of our wineries have, was eventually bought and sold, ultimately coming to be part of what was the Seppelt empire. When Southcorp took control of Seppelt they abandoned the property, it fell into a state of disrepair, a shadow of its former glory, tall the windows were shattered, the roof open to the sky and pigeons roosted throughout the nearly 38,000 feet of the two storey building.
However luck was instore for the old girl, when businessman John Gerber rode his bike past the estate one day in 1998. He immediately feel in love with the façade and the majesty of the building, within a month he had purchased the estate and immediately set about on renovations, creating what I’ve often referred to it as the “new Chateau Tanunda”.
The cellar door, the lawns and the Chateau’s Grand Ballroom were all transformed. An old tank farm was discarded and the old cement bases were transformed into a 2,000 square meter sunken garden. They established a cricket pitch (Chateau Cricket Ground or CCG) which continues to be used for matches and event today.
The estate now holds nearly 100ha of vineyards in Bethany, Eden Valley, Tanunda and Vine Vale. Senior Winemaker Neville Rowe creating wines that range from accessible entry level reds and whites, through to the iconic Everest Shiraz which retails for $210 per bottle.
His wines are crafted from hand-picked grapes, that are basket pressed with the resulting wines being neither fined nor filtered, giving the finished product an extra level of depth and texture on the tongue.
Beautifully crafted wines that deserve a special place on the table.
Chateau Tanunda Grand Barossa Shiraz 2017 – beautiful fruit notes on the nose: dark cherry, cedar, dark chocolate, luscious blackberry. It’s intense and rich, full bodied in the mouth with a long and smooth finish. Very drinkable wine and excellent young Shiraz. Drink now till 2025. RRP $25
Chateau Tanunda The Chateau Single Vineyard Chardonnay 2018 – excellent fruit driven chardonnay that still has enough weight and power to stand up to food can be hard to find, but this makes it look easy. Apricot, fig, vanilla, roasted cashew and some toasty brioche notes are all jammed into the glass. It’s smooth and creamy in the mouth, making you reach for more. Classy wine. Drink now till 2022. RRP $38
The Special Occasion:
Chateau Tanunda 100 Year Old Vines Shiraz 2015 – Okay so it could blow the budget but if you’re looking to put a wine away for an anniversary or special birthday then this is it, a big, formidable wine that will age well for the next 20years at least. Loaded with dark chocolate and fruit cake and earthy notes. Its rich and powerful on the tongue, long persistent finish. $150 bottle.