What a time to be Eisenstone Wines! Hailing from the Barossa Valley, Eisenstone has seen a very successful couple of months, and we don’t foresee that stopping anytime soon.
This past week, we were lucky to be joined in Sydney by Eisenstone winemaker, Stephen Cook, and preview his upcoming 2020 Eisenstone Shiraz wines. The 2019 vintages saw great success with consistent, raving reviews, followed by a huge, clean-sweep win at the Decanter World Wine Awards as its finale, leaving big shoes for the 2020 vintages to fill.
The 2020 vintages are not backing down at the challenge and are well and truly prepared for the task, and Huon Hooke of The Real Review seems to agree. In early August, Stephen and Huon met to taste the 2020 Eisenstone Barossa Valley Shiraz wines and Huon followed up by awarding the 2020 Eisenstone Hoffman Vineyard Ebenezer Shiraz SV902 a rare 99 points, making it the number one 2020 vintage of Barossa Shiraz.
Don’t take our word for it, read Huons’ words instead:
2020 Eisenstone Hoffman Vineyard Shiraz SV902
99 points – Huon Hooke (The Real Review): Very deep dark and bright purple-red colour with a mesmeric bouquet of lifted red and blue fruits, dark chocolate and vanilla, dried herbs and a flash of ironstone. At the heart of the wine is a generous dollop of sweet blackberry fruit and the tannins though ample are well balanced by the flavour. An amazing wine: great character, already tremendously detailed and promising to develop into a great wine of super-special complexity and distinction.
2020 Eisenstone McDonald Vineyard Shiraz SV904
97 points – Huon Hooke (The Real Review): Deep, dark and very bright purple-red colour, with a lovely detailed aroma of chocolate and herbs, both fresh and dried; floral nuances and red fruits, hints of spices and the palate is very full-bodied and generous with lashings of supple tannins, all in harmony with the great depth of fruit. A complex wine already: it will be great to see it a few years down the track.
2020 Eisenstone Ebenezer Shiraz SR802
96 points – Huon Hooke (The Real Review): Deep dark red-purple colour with a sweet blackberry aroma, traces of dark-chocolate and vanilla, the palate concentrated and fleshy, deep and plush with a big core of fruit sweetness and then alcohol warmth and lashings of supple tannins to conclude. Chocolate again lingers. Superb wine.
2020 Eisenstone Marananga Shiraz SR804
95 points – Huon Hooke (The Real Review): Deep, dense colour with blackberry and smoky char-oak aromas, a touch of tar and ironstone, the palate full-bodied and rich, deep, dense and concentrated, the tannins supple and fleshy-smooth. Delicious wine.
2020 Eisenstone Koonunga SR807
94 points – Huon Hooke (The Real Review): Deep, dark colour with a savoury bouquet of dried herbs and dried grass, forest-floor and earthy terrestrial notes, the palate very drying and tannic, the tannins slightly outgunning the fruit at this juncture. Very dark chocolate rules. A serious wine that cries out for a slab of hard, aged cheese.
2020 Eisenstone Gomersal Shiraz SR808
93 points – Huon Hooke (The Real Review): Deep, dense red-purple with black-ish tinges, the bouquet sweetly spicy, fresh-tilled earth and a trace of tar, the palate elegantly formed and soft tannined, a lighter wine by the maker’s standards, but still full-bodied and has a touch of richness. It already drinks very well.
2022 Decanter World Wine Awards
As impressive as the 2020 vintages have already been, even prior to their September 2022 release, we’d be remiss if we failed to mention the amazing finale of the 2019 and 2018 vintages. In June, at the 19th annual Decanter World Wine Awards, Eisenstone had an outstanding performance. The Decanter World Wine Awards is one of the most influential and prestigious awards in the world. The judging process is rigorous with 18,244 wines from 54 countries judged from 250 experts.
Eisenstone entered 6 wines into the competition and remarkably received 6 wins – a clean sweep. The awards included one platinum, 2019 Ebenezer SR802 Shiraz with a glowing 97 points, and 5 gold medals. These medals have placed Eisenstone as the highest performing Gold Medal award winning winemaker from Australia. Not to mention, account for half of the gold medals received for the Barossa Valley.
The award-winning wines include the:
2019 Ebenezer SR802 Shiraz | Platinum Award 97pts Decanter 2022
2018 Stockwell Shiraz Sr 805 | Gold Award 96pts Decanter 2022
2019 Roennfeldt Marananga Shiraz SV904 | Gold Award 96pts Decanter 2022
2019 Hoffmann Vyd Ebenezer Shiraz SV902 | Gold Award 95pts Decanter 2022
2018 Nitschke Road Greenock Shiraz Sv901 | Gold Award 95pts Decanter 2022
2018 Dimchurch Vd Ebenezer Shiraz Sv902 | Gold Award 95pts Decanter 2022
Celebrating the rich German heritage of the Barossa Valley, the name Eisenstone comes from a blend of the German word for iron (Eisen) and the English (Stone). The name celebrates the Ironstone soils in which the vines grow and the stone used by the original German settlers to build much of the famous Barossa buildings that still stand to this very day.
Stephen Cook is a New Zealand native whom upon leaving school went into banking. After 12 years, he decided he wanted a change in direction and left to travel abroad. While living in Adelaide, Stephen formed an interest in wine and later returned to New Zealand to complete a science degree followed by a Masters in Biochemistry.
While at university he approached a local winery and exchanged labour for a small quantity of grapes to make his own wine at home. From then on, Stephen was hooked, marking this as a pivotal moment in his life and kick starting his winemaking career.
After returning to Adelaide to complete the Roseworthy post graduate diploma in winemaking and an additional 20 years in the wine industry, Stephen launched Eisenstone in 2018. While he could have commenced his own label earlier in life, it would have looked quite different from what it does today. With money no longer the driving force it might once have been, the ambition now lies in creating a respected Barossa brand and to continue securing stunning parcels of fruit.
The Eisenstone philosophy is to establish themselves as specialists of Barossa Valley Shiraz. Stephen wants to make the vineyards the story, and not the winemaker. He does this by making each wine in exactly the same method, the only difference is in the vineyard/sub-region of which the grapes come from. Within the Barossa there are a number of recognised sub regions that vary in climate and and soil type and bring out subtle differences in the variety.
Stephen works with the farmers of the region, based on relationships built over the years and handshake agreements, to ensure those differences are highlight those difference and show off the flavours the region has to offer.
The Eisenstone Winemaking Method
Each of Stephen’s stunning Shiraz wines have been matured in new and 1 year old French and American barrels which gives the wine an additional level of flavour, structure and longevity. In young wines, the oak may seem apparent and Stephen makes no apology for this, as this will support the development of the wines for at least 15-20 years.
The fruit weight supports the oak even in the younger wines, allowing them to retain their balance. Selecting the right oak is critical to this process. Stephen’s preference is for Leroi, French oak and AP John, American oak in different combinations depending on the particular parcel of grapes.