When I first landed in the wine industry nineteen years ago, the Peter Lehmann Stonewell Shiraz was one of my benchmarks. As a wide-eyed 19 year old I lusted over it.
The 1994 Stonewell still sticks in my mind. I bought some cheap and thought it was magical, with the essence of Barossan fruit, with mouthfilling chocolate plum effortless richness, delivered in a luscious tide of relentless flavour.
What’s not to like?
But things got awkward at PLW after Peter himself stepped back from the business, and the last few Stonewell releases haven’t had that sprinkle of magic.
Now that the Casella family are in charge, however, the label has been steadied – and by all accounts the wines are more Lehmann-esque.
This ’13 Stonewell harks back to the good ol’ days…
Peter Lehmann Stonewell Shiraz 2013
Opulent Barossa. Spends 15 months in French oak hogsheads and oak is part of the appeal. Lavish oak, lavish fruit. Plush, chocolatey, with choc-oak tannins. Has that unflinching Barossan power but never feels heavy (or alcoholic). Epitome of top end Barossa Shiraz of a certain, old school, choc-plum rich style. Best drinking: Good now and will be in a good place 10 years from now. 18.5/20, 94/100. 14.5%, $90. Would I buy it? I’d have some in the cellar, if not necessarily buy.
And to check in on another Lehmann icon:
Peter Lehmann Margaret Semillon 2012
Margaret is the Barossan version of a Hunter Valley Semillon, picked early and kept in the cellar for at least five years. It’s an idiosyncratic wine – always chunkier than Hunter Sem, and not necessarily an easy drink. But this ’12 vintage is different. More subtle. More Riesling-like. Lightness on the lemon and green apple nose with creeping bottle age toast. You get the sense it would be raw and taut in its youth (and it still has a Rieslingish TA of 6.91g/L and pH of 3.03), but at seven it’s just hitting the drinking window – if erring on the primary fruit rather than toast/bottle age side of the equation. My only gripe is the finish feels a bit industrial. Delicate it’s not. Still, this character – a robust white with acidity. Best drinking: I’d wait even longer. Two more years. Then drink whenever. 17.7/20, 92/100. 11%, $35. Would I buy it? I’d share a bottle.